A first time for everything.

When should you have sex for the first time? There has been quite a buzz in the news about the topic of virginity lately. The New York Post and Fox News reported that MTV was recently working on and recruiting talent for a new reality tv concept called “My First” that has apparently been abandoned. The show was going to chronicle young adult virgins on their journey towards “giving away their v-card.” With the whole process, except for the actual act of having sex for the first time, unfolding on camera for a voyeuristic audience to watch at home.

Far more impressively, USAToday ran an article about Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones. Lolo competed in Beijing in 2008 and is expected to qualify to compete in London this summer. She is 29 years old, a Christian, and she recently announced on Twitter that she is a virgin. In an HBO special that followed, she explained that her virginity is a gift that she wants to give to her husband someday. She admitted that waiting to have sex is the hardest thing she has ever done. In her own words it’s been, “harder than training for the Olympics, harder than graduating from college.” She talked of enormous temptation, and  that she has had guys tell her that sex will make her run faster, but she hasn’t given in.

The contrast between these two articles and the different world-views contained within them is striking but even more impressive to me is what they have in common. Both articles demonstrate the clear value of purity.

Lolo on the one hand views her virginity as a gift, a special treasure. Something that she can only give away one time and so when she gives it to her husband it will be meaningful because she didn’t give it to any one else. She is saving it for him. On the other you have MTV moving towards building a real life sexual version of the Hunger Games. Whether the show ever gets made or not the message is clear: Virginity is a commodity. A new product to sell commercials and boost ratings. Snooki and the gang are old hat, this is untracked snow. A fresh libation of virgins is now being called for to appease our insatiable cultural thirst for sexuality. The fact that they would even contemplate the idea shows they realize there is an implicit value to a person’s first sexual experience. And it is not just a commodity, it is a scarce commodity. It can only be sold once so it is in extremely short supply.

C.S. Lewis was right when he wrote, “Chastity is the most unpopular of all the virtues.” And yet it is clearly precious. Being a virgin is wonderful. Sexual intimacy is a gift that is meant to be enjoyed in marriage. God never intended the first time you have sex to be something that would generate views on YouTube, or increase shareholder value in a company. Nor did he intend for it to be a rushed experience in a guest bedroom at a party, or in the backseat of a car. Furthermore, having sex on your wedding night and honeymoon was meant to be a brand new, completely awesome thing; not just business as usual. He also knows that sex is not only pleasurable it’s also powerful. It binds two hearts together irreversibly and changes who you are on the deepest level. We turn from the manufacturers guidelines at the expense of our own happiness.

Proverbs 20:17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.