Rebuilding the Temple That Was Taken Away From Me
Virginity by definition is “the state of never having sexual intercourse.” I grew up in the Catholic church, where the only sex-ed we got was abstinence based slut-shaming in the last few weeks of high school.
I remember sitting in the front row, staring at the staples in my plaid skirt that were the only thing keeping the hem from falling apart, thinking about how funny it was that we were getting educated on sex by a nun who had never had sex before.
As she talked about how our bodies were “temples” to a roomful of girls where most had done the “dirty” act, I couldn’t help but wonder why she was making it seem as though after sex that temple was replaced with a brothel.
Sister Collins made it seem as though after sex you were worthless.
She said it was disrespectful to our future husbands to be having sex when it was clearly only reserved for him. That our sexuality was his to own and ours to save.
In the eyes of Sister Collins, our bodies belonged to men.
I thought about my personal journey with sex.
When I lost my virginity, I didn’t feel the way Sister Collins had described.
I didn’t feel better and I didn’t feel worse,
I just felt the same.
In fact, I felt more changed when I had my first period than when I had sex the first time.
Not that I wanted to do it all the time, but I realized it didn’t affect who I was as a person.
I was still Sophie, and nobody could take my innocence from me.
Something that Sister Collins never touched on, however, was how to move on when a person doesn’t respect the word “no.”
She didn’t talk about what happened when you lose your rape virginity.
My body is a temple, and the day I lost my rape virginity that temple was burned down.
I had been used and discarded like a tissue, and somehow thought it was my fault for existing in the same space as a man with a cold.
That day my already frail self-esteem diminished to nothing.
I felt exactly like Sister Collins was telling us we would feel after sex.
Unworthy of love and deserving of hate.
But she was missing a key element to her argument that choosing to have sex before marriage was wrong.
Some people do not get a choice.
If virginity is “the state of never having sexual intercourse,” then by definition, rape victims who had never had sex prior to their rape are not virgins.
The men who are being disrespected by their future wives sex lives are the same men who are raping girls of their virginity.
How do I rebuild the temple that another man burned down?
It has been three years, and I am still cleaning up the rubble from that fire.
But the plans I have for the new temple are exciting.
There will be stained glass windows to show how beautifully broken pieces can fit together.
There will be plenty of room to dance to music without thinking about who may be watching.
There will be pinks and blues and yellows and greens to remind me of a time where these colors didn’t make me feel sadness.
There will be ice cream and cake set on every table to eat without fear of conforming to societies unrealistic body standards.
And I will own this temple, because it belongs to me and nobody else.
The last thing I will add is a sign.
And that sign will read, “No boys allowed.”
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Getty image via fotokon