Question: I went to a youth rally recently and there was a girls’ class and the question was asked about sex before marriage. A lady on the panel said that you can regain your virginity by “second time virginity.” Some of my girls from the youth group came to me to ask if “… it’s ok to have sex before marriage because based on what she said you can have sex and repent and you can regain your virginity?”
Response: While some may believe that virginity is a commodity that can be restored once surrendered, I do not believe that to be the case any more than a peeled apple can be restored to the state of fresh and uncut. I believe the restoration of virginity is a physical impossibility.
Someone might argue that, since God has promised to purify sinners upon their repentance of sins and the meeting of His conditions of purity, that such purification restores them, as women who have engaged in premarital sex, to the same state of guiltlessness as the girl who has never had sex, thus reclaiming that status of virginity.
It is true that purity of soul can mercifully be restored after the child of God sins. How thankful am I every day that this is true. It is true that the young unmarried girl who has given in to sexual temptation and lost her virginity can be forgiven. She can be as white and pure before God as the one who has guarded her virginity. Should they both die in a covenant relationship with the Father, both will reach the safety of the arms of Jesus.
But it is simply not the case that both of these young women are virgins, because of the definition of the word and because of its use in the Scriptures.
Genesis 24:16 aptly defines the word for us:
And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
Leviticus 21:13-14, in describing whom the high priest was to marry, would make little sense if a virgin could have been one who had previously been sexually active. It is clearly instructing the priest to marry a woman who has never been sexually active:
And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
The first part of Deuteronomy 22 is a section of scripture that would be futile in inclusion in the law and in application if a virgin damsel was anything other than a sexually untouched female. In this passage, virginity was clearly a physical state that hinged on abstinence from sexual activity rather than a state of purity of heart before God.
Perhaps the strongest passages about the true meaning of virginity have to do with the immaculate conception of our Savior. If a virgin could possibly be someone who has known a man sexually, then Mary could have, at the time of the birth of Jesus, been a penitent fornicator!
But, just as the prophet Isaiah foretold, the Lord was born of a virgin…a woman who had not known a man:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Is. 7:14).
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
Mary, herself, defined the state of virginity for us when she asked of the angel, “How shall this thing be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).
For the truly penitent fornicator, perhaps there is comfort in calling the purified state a sort of “second virginity.” I do not want to subtract from the comfort found in forgiveness. Every sinner should claim the release and peace that comes when we begin again in purity and holiness before a merciful God. His forgiveness is certain. His cleansing is thorough. But this blessing, as wonderful as it is, does not make a woman who has “known a man” become a virgin again.
One more illustration: Suppose I am entering a second marriage after my first husband left me for another woman. Perhaps I feel much sorrow and experience deep regret as I contemplate my earlier decision to marry my first husband. Perhaps I truly wish this could be my first marriage and that the previous marriage could simply be “erased.” I can enter a God-approved marriage. I can please God in this new relationship. I can have a wonderful second marriage. But I will still be a woman who has been previously married. It is an experience that is simply part of my history.
Premarital sex is kind of like that first marriage. One can, after having sexual relations and later meeting God’s terms of pardon, be as pure in the eyes of God as any virgin. She can be as dedicated to Him as any virgin may be. She can be as holy in her present relationships as any virgin may be. But she will still be a woman who surrendered her virginity. That surrender is an experience that is simply a part of her history. When and if someone to whom she is contemplating giving her life in marriage asks the question, “Are you a virgin?”, the answer she must give is “No.”
Fornication can be forgiven. But it, like other sins, will still bring regret and unpleasant consequences in the present life. (I Corinthians 6:18).