Rise of the BornAgain Virgins
Why many of us are saving sex for marriage – long after losing our virginity
Miranda Kerr recently said she and her husband Evan Spiegel did not have sex until they said their vows. ‘He is very traditional,’ she told The London Times before her garden wedding to the Snapchat CEO. ‘We can’t… I mean, we’re just … waiting.’ Miranda is obviously not a virgin. The evidence? Her son, Flynn, with exhusband Orlando Bloom. She’s what you would call a born-again virgin. We’re not talking about surgical reconstruction of the hymen, though. ‘A born-again, or “renewed”, virgin is someone who’s already engaged in sexual activity and has made a decision for moral, religious or any other practical reasons not to be sexually active until a later time or after marriage,’ says sex therapist Chantelle Otten. And Miranda’s in good company. Fellow stars Mariah Carey, Ciara (as she revealed exclusively to COSMO in our February 2017 issue), Nicki Minaj and Minnie Dlamini have all hinted at (re)-saving themselves for marriage or enjoying a period of celibacy at some point.
It’s not just celebrities committing to celibacy. Anecdotal evidence suggests it’s become a trend among us ‘normal’ folk, too. Otten says she sees more clients taking this path. ‘Many do it because they’re looking for something more in their life or have turned to religion,’ she says.
‘Some have dating burnout; some have experienced negative sexual patterns. They want to redefine their relationship with themselves and experience emotional intimacy with their next lover before having to negotiate sex.’
A fresh start
Many young women decide to become a born-again virgin to, put quite simply, ‘find themselves’. After a tough break-up, Anna*, 25, decided she needed to reconnect with herself and not fall into bad habits. ‘You’ve heard the saying, “to get over someone, get under someone”, right?’ she says. ‘Well, that’s how I dealt with all my other break-ups. I’d go out and have meaningless sex with strangers, but then the next morning I’d always feel like shit about myself. It was a really toxic cycle. After breaking up with Tom*, I made the decision not to have sex until I find someone I want to spend the rest of my life with.’ Anna spends her weekends with her friends and family, and having quality time by herself. ‘I used to dread being alone; now I can think of nothing better. After all these years, I’m comfortable with who I am and I know exactly what I want in a partner,’ she says. ‘And I know I’ll find him when the time’s right.’
‘The positive of being a born-again virgin is that they can use that time to build a healthy relationship with themselves and feel more confident in their choices,’ says Otten. ‘Plus, they can develop the skills to set healthy boundaries with their next lover. Then they can use those skills to their advantage for the rest of their life.’
But this only works if you take the time to work on yourself. ‘If an individual decides to take this route because they’re unhappy with negative patterns in their life, then they should make an effort to get to the source of what is causing them pain,’ says Otten.
‘The sex is mind-blowing’
One of the biggest beliefs is that when you finally have sex on your wedding night, it will be nothing less than magical. Sarah*, 31, decided to become a born-again virgin at 28 when she met her now-husband. ‘He was very religious, and I was happy to stay celibate for him because I fell in love with the person he was,’ she says. ‘Our wedding night was perfect and the sex was mindblowing. The tension had built up over our 20-month relationship and it all culminated in an unforgettable night. It had been so hard to resist each other for so long, and finally our minds and bodies were one.’
A not-so-happy ever after
While Sarah had a very happy ending, it doesn’t always go that way for everyone. ‘When born-again virgins do decide to “lose” their virginity again, they may find their sex life with their lover isn’t healthy,’ says Otten. Very few people can say their first time was like fireworks, so this should come as no surprise. As with anything, practice makes perfect. But there are couples who are simply not compatible in the bedroom. Take Lily*, 32, and her ex-fiancé. ‘I became a born-again virgin because I was tired of men only seeing me as a sex object,’ she says. ‘When I met David*, I told him I was saving sex for marriage, and he never judged me for it. A year and a half later, he proposed – and that’s when I decided I’d have sex with him. But there was no chemistry. It was awkward. After six months of counselling and trying to make it work, I called off the engagement. Now, looking back, I’m glad I didn’t wait until the wedding night. I had assumed a great emotional connection would equate to a great sex life, but it’s not always the case. We’re only meant to be close friends.’
Let Lily’s tale be a cautionary one only. As the saying goes, ‘When you find the one, everything else falls into place.’ Or something like that. ■
‘It’s not just celebrities: celibacy has become a trend generally’
* NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED
MARIAH CAREY NICKI MINAJ MINNIE DLAMINI MIRANDA KERR