Confession: I was one of the 5.1 million viewers who tuned in on Monday night to watch the three hour premiere episode of The Bachelor on ABC.
Yeah, you read that right: three HOURS.
And whether or not you tuned in like me, I’m sure you’ve heard, that the lead, Colton Underwood, is a virgin.
Yep. The franchise has decided to build the entire season around his virginity, touting him “The Virgin Bachelor,” with the slogan, “What does he have to lose?”
And as you can imagine, along with all of the promos and trailers leading up to Monday night, Colton’s lack of sexual experience was front and center the entire episode. And sadly, the butt end of a lot of jokes.
Everyone in the media, in the press, – even the contestants on the show – are all having fun, frankly, at Colton’s expense.
And to be honest, I wasn’t planning on even watching this season. Every year, I say I’m going to quit my guilty pleasure. But sitting here as a fellow virgin, I felt a deep camaraderie and compassion, for this young man, that seemingly, the entire country is making fun of.
People are questioning his honesty – baffled that he could be an attractive 26 year old man and former professional football player, and still be a virgin.
People are questioning his sexuality, convinced that he’s gay, because he hasn’t had sex yet.
He’s become a source of voyeuristic fascination, and quite honestly, enough is enough.
And the premiere episode of the show was no different. The innuendos were a dime a dozen.
The limo exits — let’s just say virginity was the theme of the night. One young woman brought a cherry-shaped ballon for him, that she then “popped.” Another brought handcuffs for…”later.” One performed a magic trick that involved stealing his “V Card.” Another bragged that she hadn’t dated a virgin since she was 12 years old. And still yet, one dressed as a sloth, because he liked to “take it slow.”
The whole night just left me feeling icky: Women jockeying to be the one to “take” his virginity, as though it were a prize to be conquered.
And the next morning, as a true Bachelor fan does, I was listening to the OG Bachelor recap podcast: The Ben and Ashley I “Almost Famous” Podcast, with Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti. Ben, being a former lead, and Ashley’s claim to Bachelor fame: being (the original) virgin contestant.
Well, I was listening to their podcast, and they both were voicing a similar disgust about the whole preoccupation with Colton’s virginity.
Ben said, “There’s one thing that’s really upsetting me…I don’t love that there’s women on the show saying ‘I’m going to take his virginity’ or ‘When he loses his virginity I’m gonna oil him up to try to get him hot and bothered and all that stuff. I feel really disgusted by that for some reason…We’re crossing a boundary and a line now, where this is something Colton’s held onto…It’s been a personal choice by him. I hate that there’s verbiage and people out there – on the show, and also that they’re playing it – that there’s women going ‘I’m gonna take his virginity.’ Think about what you’re saying there! What you’re saying is absolutely disgusting. And not okay with me. And I can’t quite put into words why it’s so upsetting. But I know when I watched the episode tonight, there’s something about it that just made me feel dirty.” (Minute 33:30)
Me too, Ben. Me too.
And so tonight, I’d like to offer one perspective, maybe, on why that is so upsetting. And share with you just what my virginity means to me.
Because, believe me, as a young woman, who is still proudly a card-carrying member of the V Card club, I have some thoughts.
The balloons, the jokes, the objectification and humiliation — why is that so upsetting, and leaves one feeling dirty?
Because Colton’s choice of virginity is a beautiful gift, but it also mirrors what Jesus did for us on the cross.
It is his choice, and my choice, but of course not everyone’s choice. I am not condemning other choices, but please do not make fun of mine.
Virginity is living out the vocation that Jesus called us to live: giving of ourselves in love to God and to others.
That which we are ridiculing and making fun of, is not only the very essence of our humanity, as God designed it, but also reflective of God, himself.
And follow me for just a few moments, if you may. Because, take it from this virgin, it’s important to me. There have been many temptations and really attractive opportunities to choose otherwise, but my virginity is an out growth of the foundation of my faith, so I invite you to just hear me out.
Here is what I believe: Who we are – women and men – we were made in the image of God. Our souls, our hearts and yes, our bodies — were created by God, in His image. And they’re temples of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts as children of God. And contrary to what secular society is trying to convince us, we were created, man and woman. God designed us to fit together perfectly, in a love that produces life: life giving love.
And if that rings a bell – it’s because that is the love of our Father. God is love. And the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — that Trinity — is both life giving, and life creating. Just like the love between man and woman.
Luke 22:19 “This is My body, given for you.” – Spoken by Jesus, right before He gave himself totally and completely in love, on the cross, for His bride, the Church.
And praise God for the new life: eternal life, that sacrifice produced.
To choose virginity, or abstinence, and responding to God’s call to protect that self-giving gift, is nothing to ridicule or trivialize or make fun of. It is a beautiful expression of love for God. A love that does not take lightly the dignity of another person. A love that, though yearning for union with another, will use this period abstinence to serve one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, in love; and to use that time to grow, in love, with the Father.
And once again, let me emphasize: I am certainly not judging choices other than virginity. I am simply sharing my faith on this. I am a small minority and I know it.
One thing I do know for sure, is this: we are all unconditionally loved by the Father. We are delighted in, and cherished, just as we are.
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