This post is not at all to make young women who are not virgins feel badly. I am not a virgin myself, obviously. I've even been married twice, which is slightly mind-boggling to a trad Catholic, but there you go. From the start, B.A. knew perfectly well that I had married at 25, got a divorce, got an annulment, and all that stuff, and he didn't care. He fell in love with me anyway.
Occasionally I make a reference to my first wedding to make super-trad friends shriek with horror, and I have super-trad aquaintances who would find this in the worst of taste, but I myself am pretty sanguine about it. I dealt with all bad stuff in the confessional and therapy and in the fullness of time healed and moved on.
I've also written about the problems of obsessing about purity (see "Pure" in my book). And before I married the first time, when I was a virgin (with beautiful, radiant skin, too--sigh!), I worried about purity an awful lot. Probably I should have worried more about being a kinder, more prudent person. And, really, I shouldn't have been snogging boyfriends--not because it was perhaps sometimes impure to do so*, but because it made it so much worse for them and me when we broke up.
It occurs to me that there are many very innocent young girls who think, in their innocence, that they are sexually impure. It is good to be humble, but it is not good to dwell on one's sinfulness (real or imagined) so much that it leads to despair. When I was a virgin, I thought I was almost entirely corrupt, jaded, and knowledgeable about the facts of life. In hindsight, I knew and had done almost nothing.
One of the blessings of a good confessor is that he will convince a virgin--if she has ears to hear--that the sinful thing she did doesn't matter any more, now that she is sorry and has confessed it. Of course she should leave off such sinful silliness, but she should not mope and feel ruined. If she does, she must pray for the grace to accept God's forgiving love.
Actually having sex--not just kissing--has important psychological ramifications. It is a crossing of a sexual Rubicon and actually matters. I know perfectly well that there are those who say that this is only a social construct and are doing their damnedest to change six thousand years of human nature about this, but as a matter of fact, it matters psychologically quite a lot. And that, after God's injunction, is why you should wait for a man who has given you himself and his whole life in marriage.
I feel, probably like many, many, many traditional married Christian ladies through the centuries, protective of young virgin girls and women. You are so vulnerable, and so many people wish to prey upon you--not just immoral or weak men, but bitter women who resent their own mistakes and/or your happiness and peace. We old trad married ladies, on the other hand, often get maternal and wring our hands a bit. "Take care," we cry, fearing embarrassment or rejection. "Take care!"
As a Single, divorced and annulled woman, I felt even more protective of non-virgins like me confronting those elements of conservative Catholic male society who were obsessed with marrying virgins. And whenever I heard of someone telling a woman practising "secondary virginity" that this didn't count at all, and she should stop giving herself airs and just come across with the goods, I hit the roof.
However, I seem to be moving psychologically from sisterhood to motherhood**. Maybe I should try to remain in the middle, in auntiehood, where I can balance my championship of young virgins on the one hand and of Single non-virgins on the other. You are all so precious in God's sight.
*At the time I was confused on this issue. And then at the age of 36 or so, I was amazed when I heard a Theology of the Body speaker admit that his answer to "HFCYG?" was "no prolonged kissing." And now I am more of his mind, and yes, I know how hard that is.
**This does not mean I am pregnant. Don't phone, family! (One family member just did.)