June being The Wedding Month, I thought it best to look back at a previous interview I made with “virgin brides” for a wedding magazine article.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but “virgins” these days are a novelty rather than the norm. Mention it and you’re likely to hear the response: “Is there still one in the house?” I do believe there still are. They are the rare bunch who’ve managed to hang on to their purity with tenacity because they’ve taken to heart what their mother told them: “You owe it to your spouse to be pure,” and “Virginity is a gift that a woman gives a man, and a woman’s power is her ability to say no.”
The bigger question is: Is it worth it?
Bernadette, a lawyer-turned-full-time-mom was 27 when she got married to her sweetheart of six years. The hectic schedule of her law studies prevented her from going beyond their casual dates. But more than that, it was the enormity of her religious beliefs which weighed more in her decision to “keep clean.”
“Our family is Baptist and my father is a pastor. Ever since, it was indoctrinated in us that premarital sex was an act of fornication, so the guilt was really heavy if you ever did that,” she relates.
Her husband’s 14 years her senior, Catholic, and most of all, he was also a “virgin” on their wedding night.
“We were so close that we felt we were already a married couple all the time that we were on. We had what I would consider a marriage of the minds and marriage of the emotions and the only thing missing was the sex. But of course, deep in our hearts, we already knew that we were destined for each other,” she adds.
Tonette, a flight attendant, married at the age of 30 to her boyfriend of only one and a half years. By today’s standards, the marriage considerably came late and was a tad unusual for her line of work where the girls are commonly perceived to be wild and liberated.
“I guess it’s not true because I have a co-worker who will be marrying this year at the age of 35 and she’s still a virgin,” Tonette narrates.
She said she owes it all to her having studied in Catholic schools and her family’s conservative upbringing.
“I went out on dates before, but always with the barkada and I really tried to avoid being alone with a guy. I believe that keeping one’s virginity is something special. You don’t give it away just like that because if you do, what will happen if you suddenly separate? The cycle will go on and on,” she stresses.
Leah, a practicing dentist, got married in December 1998 at the age of 33 to her on and off boyfriend of two years. Both of them were active members of their parish choir.
“I guess I can consider myself lucky because my husband wasn’t the aggressive type. My friends find it hard to believe that all those times we were steady, all he did was kiss me on the cheek,” Leah reveals.
On the first night of the wedding itself, nothing happened because they were kept busy by their friends and relatives. Then early the next morning, they had a flight to catch for their honeymoon in Cebu. It was only hours after arriving at the resort that they decided to make a go for it.
“Of course I was nervous and my husband was, too. But he was very encouraging and he told me to relax. It really felt great that you do it out of love for that person and not just for the sake of doing it,” she notes.
Anna, a businesswoman, was 25 when she married to her second boyfriend. She remembered that it really felt awkward the first time. It didn’t help that talking about sex was taboo even among her friends.
“I just laid there and my husband had to retreat everytime I said it felt painful. Of course it helped that he was slow and gentle,” she narrates.
Again, Anna cited her upbringing as the reason for hanging on. “It was instilled in my mind that if you wanted to engage in sex, you might as well get married. I was also the eldest child in the family and it was very important to my parents that I set an example,” she adds.
Anna vows to someday guide her five-year old daughter on the proper way of discovering “the birds and the bees.”
“Sa panahon ngayon, hindi na nga yata uso ang virginity at napakalakas na ng self-discipline mo if you manage to remain a virgin,” she admits.
Our virgin brides have since been open about their sexuality. One narrates how she revels in watching Kama Sutra tapes with her husband. There is definitely more guts, more openness and more experimentation on their part and the big difference is that they’re doing it within the confines of a loving, stable marriage.
“In order to be free with sex, you have to be comfortable. This is the reason why sex within marraige is far better than sex on the sly. It’s always guilt-free and it just gets better,” Bernadette comments.
Tonette agrees. “Most people feel that having sex is a necessary part of life and they don’t know that they rob themselves of something beautiful and something rare if they don’t do it the first time they get married.”