What Is A "Born-Again" Virgin And Why Are Some Evangelical Women Embracing It?

A ‘born-again’ virgin is someone who has had sexual relations who then chooses to re-embrace their past virginity.

In Attn, Laura Donovan writes about why people become born-again virgins. She was lectured by a born-again virgin during a high school sex ed class. He has slept with seven women but then became celibate after embracing Christianity. On the last day of class he encouraged everyone to sign a virginity contract.

Donovan didn’t understand what the fixation on virginity was truly about. It seemed strange to her that in order to have a “fulfilling sex [life]” they would need to save themselves for marriage. She writes, “The older I got, the more I found fault with this approach to sexuality, especially since the speaker told the sexually active students that it "wasn't too late" for them to "revirginize" and reclaim their self-respect.”

People started to embrace born-again virginity more in the 1990s and the early 2000s, which coincided with the rise of abstinence education. Often, people become born-again virgins either for religious reasons or to appease their families. Although they have already had sex, they promise to abstain until marriage.

"Born-again is a term that has meaning in the context of evangelical Christianity--to be 'born-again' means one has had a conversion experience and has accepted Jesus into one's life," Pamela Dickey Young, a professor of religion and culture and women's studies at Queen's University said.

"'Born-again virgin' is a term that is sometimes coined to talk about reclaiming one's virginity (as a religious good) after one has 'technically' lost it, i.e., after one has had experience of sexual intercourse," Dickey Young said. "Although men sometimes claim born-again virginity, too, it is largely young women who make such claims."

"The born-again part is driven by a specific understanding of the Christian faith that values virginity, marriage and commitment to one person for life," Dickey Young said. "Christians have prized virginity since about the 2nd century but different churches have different views of whether that should be updated and how."

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