Never Have I Ever : Uncovering Promiscuity

Image of woman sitting on a fence

We sat in a circle of 200 college women and played “Never Have I Ever”.

It was our sorority pledge retreat back in college.

Never have I ever lied and told a guy I was a virgin!

Never have I ever only had sex drunk!

Never have I ever hooked up with two guys in one night!

Never have I ever had sex with a married man!

Laughter. Cheering.

I was shocked. Uncomfortable. It was the first time I really saw the “group think” mentality played out, as I was sure there were others who didn’t find the sexual stories all that hilarious. But that wasn’t the part of the evening that I think about to this day.

After we had exhausted the “Never Have I Ever” game, we started with stories. The leaders instructed us to share something personal—“an experience that shaped who you are today”.

Women shared of father’s leaving. Devastating eating disorders. Loved ones dying.  And many, many stories of sexual abuse. My sisters were abused by family members. Raped by coaches. Assaulted by classmates. The women who had the “best” promiscuous stories to tell, were the often the ones dealing with horrific nightmares of sexual abuse.

It became clear why Emily* slept with a married man, and why Vanessa* chose to only have sex while intoxicated, and why Finley* had slept with 16 people in the last year. They bought into the lie that their bodies were worth nothing. They had no respect for themselves because no one told them their worth. The stories that brought cheering & laughter, now beckoned sorrow from each of us sitting on the wooden cabin floor. That weekend had such an incredible impact on me, when I hear degrading names I shudder—imagining the tragic accounts I heard 8 years ago in that cabin.

Consider Jesus. A woman caught in adultery is brought before him by a group of check-the-box religious leaders. Men. They asked Jesus how they should punish her—because law required she be stoned to death.

Jesus doesn’t respond and instead starts writing in the sand. They continue to pester Him with questions. He then stands and says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” One by one, the religious leaders leave and Jesus and the woman are left alone. (Scholars believe Jesus was writing out the sins they were guilty of!)

“Has no one condemned you?” He asks.

 “No one, Lord.”

 And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and leave your life of sin.”

IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN, STOP JUDGING AND ADDING SHAME TO THOSE WHO GIVE THEIR BODIES AWAY FREELY. Calling women {or men} degrading names only furthers the issue & takes away from the Gospel.

For all the men: God has given you strength to protect, and I pray you use your strength for good.

If you are someone who prides yourself on purity, thank God for helping you on this path. Seek to reach out to the prostitutes, the adulterers, those that live as if their bodies are worth nothing—offering life & hope, not further condemnation.

Finally, if you are the promiscuous women, I pray you see your worth. You are welcome into the family of God and do not allow anyone tell you otherwise. Jesus paid the highest price for you & your body–His LIFE. He weeps over any abuse you have experienced.

The choices you’ve made after the abuse are yours. Now, Jesus asks you to stop living as if your body is just an object to use. You are called to leave your life of sin and pursue a life of joy. Will you believe Him? Will you allow Jesus to call you Daughter?

This post was difficult for me to write. What is your typical response when you hear stories of “sexual conquest”? Have you been called a ‘slut’ or worse before? Tell us about it. Do you know someone who needs to read this? Will you share it with them? 

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Comments
32 Responses to “Never Have I Ever : Uncovering Promiscuity”
  1. L says:

    Honestly? I have to fight the urge to want to be like them. Not the abused part, but the part where they were wanted by somebody. I had sex before becoming a Christian at university and although I strive to live a life of purity now it is so tempting to give in, to feel beautiful and desired by someone again. I also worry that if I do marry my husband will be angry/upset that I’m not a virgin.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Wow. Thank you for your honesty. As women, we all want to be desired–so don’t beat yourself up for wanting a man to notice you. Your past does not define you & if Jesus has forgiven you, then who is your {future} husband to stand in judgment?

      Anyone else want to speak to this?

      • Felicia says:

        I agree with Ruthie on this. Our past is behind us but what’s crucial is that you’re striving to learn from your mistakes and God sees the beauty of your heart. Most importantly, our God is a renewing One, Who will bring newness and create springs of water in wastelands (Isaiah 43:19), He can make you whole again in purity, cancelling out our past sins. Continue to pray earnestly for a husband who will be understanding in this area and to the Lord for continued strength and healing in dealing with any temptations that may come your way. God bless you!

    • Aaron says:

      As a man I recognize that I will never need to feel beautiful like women do, but can I just say that a man making sexual advances toward you is not the true test of whether or not you are beautiful. I am 34 and am saving myself sexually for my future wife. I have always taken things slow physically and treat women with respect. The last two girls I dated said that I was the first guy who didn’t try to get into their pants. The sad part was that the last one told me she actually felt like she wasn’t beautiful because I didn’t. I found this very frustrating because I had really tried to express to her how beautiful I thought she was and did find her extremely attractive. I wouldn’t have pursued her if I didn’t find her attractive and she became more beautiful to me the more I got to know her. So ladies, please rest assured that if a guy pursues you, then he finds you very attractive and a lack of physical advances may be out of respect not a lack of desire. But if a guy is just trying to use you for your body, then he obviously finds you physically attractive, but if he isn’t willing to wait for you then he is just selfish and won’t treat you like you deserve to be treated.

      • Ruthie Dean says:

        Hi Aaron,

        Thank you for sharing! I love the perspective you bring to this conversation. At the core of who women are, we long to be desired–and oftentimes it’s easy to misjudge respect as a lack of desire. Thank you for speaking up! Would you mind if I used a quote from above for a post?

        Any other men want to speak to this?

        • Greg says:

          Like Aaron, although a bit older at 43, I’m also waiting for intimacy in marriage (admittedly very difficult to do). But men also have a deep-seated longing to feel attractive and desirable by women. As Aaron shared, one of the hardest things to do is express how beautiful we find women to be in a way that isn’t misinterpreted or suspect. God has blessed women with incredible beauty; not just through your personality and character, but also through your core physical differences.

  2. Having pledged a sorority in college (and not knowing Jesus at the time), I heard a lot of stories back then too, and had my share of experiences. It’s interesting that we had our own ideas of what promiscuity was. *That* woman is promiscuous because she’ll sleep with a guy after only two dates. But if you wait a few months, or if he says he’s committed… Back then, I never stopped to think what pain might be hidden within so many women. I think about it a lot now. Even on Facebook when I see old college friends who are divorced and seem to be “out there,” my heart goes out to them and I pray. I know there’s pain and emptiness that they’re trying to fill, and only Jesus can satisfy.

    The post may have been difficult to write, but it was beautifully done. It’s needed.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Amen, Kim! The root is pain & only Jesus can fulfill our desires. It makes me think of the verse in Isaiah:

      “Why spend money on what is not bread,
      and your labor on what does not satisfy?
      Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
      and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. Hi, I was in your shoes some times. I’ll translate this to Portuguese for sure. Tks for sharing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just as God has forgiven our sins, we have to forgive ourselves as well. Saving yourself for your future husband is beautiful, no matter your past. The enemy tries to make things of the world (i.e. sex) seem so attractive but the second you give in, the shame and regret you feel afterwards can overwhelm you. Keep striving to be like Christ and your future husband will see the beauty and love that you offer and respect the fact that you renewed yourself in Christ. It is certainly okay to be wanted and desired, but don’t sell yourself short due to those desires. Trust God to send the right one your way who will surround you with love and desire you whole heartedly. That is what I am doing :)

    • L says:

      Thankyou for your encouragement :-)

      • Danelle says:

        Wow. Very well said. Thank you for sharing, Anonymous.
        And Ruthie, great great post. Thanks, sister.
        Although I didn’t have sex before marriage, I wouldn’t consider myself “a pure, white dove.” I over-stepped a lot of lines that always made me feel one way: shameful. By the grace of God, I remained a virgin until marriage and I’m so thankful that I married a man that did the same. To all the single or engaged women: It is never too late to start being pure. Ask Jesus, from this day forward, to help you save every piece of yourself for your husband. It will be so worth it!

        • Ruthie Dean says:

          Amen! Thanks for sharing, Danelle. It is so true that it is NEVER EVER too late to turn our life around and start following Christ.

          Anonymous–thanks for your wisdom!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, convicting thoughts. I was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and can attest to the fact that sexual trauma does scar people terribly. After ten years of hiding what happened, I am now seeking healing, knowing that God will redeem my past and use it for good. I have not become a “promiscuous” person, but I can understand the feelings of those who have. Sexual abuse skews your self image and your relationships terribly, leaving you wanting something to assuage the pain.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Praise God you are seeking healing & coming out of hiding. He will redeem your past and use you to play an incredible role in building His kingdom–maybe with other women who’ve suffered as you have. Jesus is the only one who can save.

      Thanks for sharing!

  6. Brittany says:

    “He weeps over any abuse you have experienced”

    Those words just brought me to tears. As a 25 year old who has lost count of the number of people I have had sex with, I hang my head in shame. People have called and still call me names but you said it well. I don’t trust God enough where I believe he still cares about me after being left broken, bloody, and bruised from years of evil. And so I give it away. Wondering if I will ever find my worth.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Sister, thanks for your vulnerability. Sounds like you have been through extraordinary pain. HE LOVES YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE. HE IS WEEPING over the years of evil that have torn your soul & left you hurting.

      Has anyone found healing from years of promiscuity? Anyone turned their life around through Jesus? I’d love to hear from some women who can personally relate (and please feel free to share anonymously).

      • Tiffany says:

        Jesus has restored my years of impurity and promiscuity. When I was saved six years ago, I made the decision to live in purity. Because of the 10 years of sexual recklessness before that, this remains my toughest battle when presented with temptation. I have found grace, forgiveness, strength, and purpose in honoring God with my body when for so many years I allowed others and myself to desecrate it. I have been single for four years and have met mighty men of God who are willing to be warriors for me and my single Christian sisters. God has used them to redeem my past relationships with men and renew my sense of hope for a strong Godly husband who upholds purity in his own life.

        Surrender it all to Jesus. He truly is the way, the truth, and the life. He will give you more than you could ever dream of. He can make you into a person you never thought you could be. He will make you whole and new!

      • Greg says:

        “J” at Hot, Holy and Humorous is someone that, through her own testimony, has found healing through Christ from many years of promiscuity:

        http://www.hotholyhumorous.com/p/personal-testimony-why-this-blog.html

  7. Lisa says:

    I am 40 yrs old and my heart breaks for young women. Oh how I wish I could sit with each of you over coffee or frozen yogurt, hear your stories and express to you how much our precious Savior loves each of you and desires wholeness for you. YOU CAN find wholeness through Christ, His love for each of us is staggering!! Grip onto it, white knuckled if you have too, and hold on! Take the time, jump in with both feet, into His Word, into a journal where you pour out your soul to Him. He. Can. Handle. It!! I promise. xoxo, Lisa

  8. Hello,

    I stumbled across your blog through a facebook share, and read the above article. As an ex-christian, this pride-laden view of purity and sexuality was familiar to me, and helped foster my own warped view of ‘purity,’ morality, and the nature of people’s self worth.

    You decry the problem of judgement (citing the interpolated story of Jesus and the adulterous), and yet you foist your own judgement on people who are ‘impure’ or who are otherwise less deserving of their own human dignity because they’ve merely acted on the natural urges common to humankind.

    I wrote a review of this post on my own blog, so if any traffic is redirected from my website, that is the reason. I don’t think you are less good, and I understand that you’re trying to help, but your misinformed view on sexuality is part of what makes this world so much less desirable. Whether you believe it or not, your narrow-minded view of sexuality, wrapped in 2000-year-old misogynistic ignorance, is not helpful for people who have actually experienced real abuse and trauma. You are actively hurting people, in the same way a homeopathic doctor prescribes a placebo for real pain.

    Your sisters exhibited real psychological trauma, and you would rather them find Jesus than find help. Christianity offers help, but the community of believers and the human will is the actual agent for change; the guilt laid on by the Christ of the bible is a part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Also, if any of my readership comes here and is deliberately respectful, I’m sorry. I’m not apologizing on their behalf, as I find it disingenuous to speak on behalf of others, but I will say I understand where they’re coming from.

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thanks for commenting “Coffee Shop Atheist”. I also just read your rebuttal post on your blog: http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2012/02/the-insidiousness-of-perverting-sexuality/

      I am sorry you have fallen away from the faith. The story you share on your blog of a woman ending a relationship with you because of your sexual past has clearly caused some deep scars. Her decision was not representative of the Gospel and I would challenge you to look to Christ, not Christians (including me) for what the Bible teaches.

      I would not rather these sisters find Jesus than find help. On the contrary, I believe Jesus is the only way to find true healing. I know women from all walks of life (American, Chinese, Christians, non-Christian, educated, women who couldn’t read, etc.) who have suffered from sexual abuse and I have yet to observe healing in the ones who looked for it apart from Christ. Culture tells us sex is casual & the best way to ‘heal’ from these kind of experiences is to fight for revenge and/or take back power over your sexuality by having sex however you choose. Sex is never casual and cannot be separated into categories of traumatic (in instances of abuse) and “no big deal”. It was designed to bring together two people as one. Lastly, Unforgiveness is poisonous to the entire person.

      In your article your last sentences is: “You have been given, through a fluke of the cosmos, consciousness, and you deserve respect for your very existence, pure or otherwise.”

      If we are all just flukes in the cosmos there is no absolute morality and why does it matter if women are abused? Why does it matter if I have 2,000 year old misogynistic views toward sexuality? From your stance, everything is random and there is no greater purpose. Nothing after this life.

      I worship a God who sent His Son to die for you–for me–for the abused–for the abusers–for the ‘pure’–and for the ‘unpure’. Who says the nameless women locked up in brothels and around the world have incredible worth. That Jesus knows them by name and sees every tear fall from their weary eyes. I believe in God and the power of redemption through Jesus Christ because I cannot fathom a world without His grace.

      • Firstly, Thanks for your response, and I’m sorry if i was negative in my article; it was for this reason that I prefaced my position by stating that you seem to genuinely care about the world and your readership. That said, I’d like to clear up a couple of things.

        Firstly, the principle reason for my leaving the church deals with the historicity surrounding the gospels, the pseudoepigraphical Pauline epistles, the hallucinegenic nature surrounding most of the ‘visions’ in the bible (they can easily be replicated in a lab), the lack of archaeological evidence for the old testament, textual criticism identifying credibility for the documentary hypothesis, the immorality of the Christian God, and others (just to name a few). The unforgiving nature of proclaimed Christians was a very small part, though I can say that in the 7 or so months I have been an atheist, I’ve found far more accpetance, forgiveness, kindness, and respect than any church I’ve ever been to.

        I don’t subscribe to the cultural ideas (i would say consumeristic ideas) foisted upon America by Hollywood, the pornography industry, and the like, nor do I believe that the ideal is exhibited by Islamic and ultra-orthodox Jewish fundamentalists, which desire to cover women from head to toe, and often punish adultery, rape (the victim), or non-virginity on the wedding night, with stoning. While you do not advocate this, you urge me to consider the bible’s stance, and that’s exactly what it is; You can see that I don’t take nearly as much offense to your position as that of your God’s.

        http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2011/09/sex-porn-and-problems-re-examined/ This takes a look at the position I hold as an atheist on why I think pornography is harmful.

        While ‘culture’ may say that the salve for sexual abuse is more sex, psychology would say otherwise. The APA recommends nothing of the sort: it focuses on journalling, sharing, and being open (rather than repressed) about experiences. Things which compound guilt (such as the idea of purity that is heavily reinforced through the old and new testament) are not at all beneficial in this process.

        I agree wholeheartedly that sex is not casual, and that is verifiable from a physiological and psychological perspective; Instead I treat it with the fullness of council from the modern science of psychology, in conjunction with evolutionary psychology and neurology, which serves to inform a much larger and more accurate view on the incredibly complicated reality that is human sexuality.

        Sometimes this confession takes place in the context of the mind’s projection of Jesus, but it is generally more helpful to talk to a live person who is versed in matters, and one who doesn’t ultimately slaughter humanity with a sword and throw people into eternal conscious torment.

        I subscribe to humanism, which is a moral philosophy that values human life, happiness, and well-being through scientific, research-informed means. It therefore extends to things like civil rights, gender equality, philanthropy, and the like. Many atheists are humanists, though the two are not mutually exclusive: http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/atheism-faq/

        I find the meaning in my life by these means, that I have been given a beautiful opportunity by happenstance, and should therefore make the most of this chance at consciousness I can, by helping to enrich the conscious lives of others (this is similar to my old Calvinist mindset borrowed from Paul that I should be overjoyed with the opportunity at life that I have, and share the good news). Should you care to, I wrote an article about death (http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2011/12/death-and-hitchens/), as well as life, and what meaning and purpose I have; this also serves to inform my moral stance: What will do the least harm, for the most good of the most people.

        That is why it matters when anyone have a misinformed view of sexuality: It hurts people. It hurt me. It hurt my sisters. It hurt my brothers. It hurts humanity. It is like using leeches to cure cancer; it does nothing but further the harm.

        I understand the Christ you worship, as I worshiped him alongside you for many years, but it is his ‘words’ that equate adultery with lust, a sin punishable by stoning (which is part of the reason it would be bad if the story you alluded to had actually happened, as it would nullify Christ’s righteousness).

        I hope I don’t assume too much if i suppose you’ve felt convicted over lust before, but if you ever have you see one of the principle problems I have with the Christian God (from a moral perspective). God creates an unwinnable standard to give himself the prerogative to torture everyone for eternity. If He was ultimately in control, it is impossible for anything to slip him by, so he gave us the nature to sin.I address this problem at length in the linked post: http://coffeeshopatheist.com/blog/2012/01/the-christian-god-hates-humans/

        I understand why you believe; it is often difficult to conceptualize outside of what you have (likely) known for much of your life. This does not preclude many fine men and women for taking a wholely different approach.

        In closing, thank you for caring; we have the same goals: to help people with the fullest council of our understanding, however I base my understanding on modern tested psychological methods, rather than a book that instructs you to murder your children when they are disobedient (Matthew 15:1-9). We have fortunately evolved a morality beyond that, but there is no reason to trust anything in the bible when science can answer questions better, more accurately, and more reliably in every case.

  9. Joy says:

    Stumbled upon this blog and I must say, I’m glad I did. I’m a 28 year old female and I am waiting for marriage. I know there are others who have made the same choice, though it’s not typically the popular choice or the one people talk about. Sometimes I feel very much alone…I can’t relate to the stories that other young women share like those that your sorority sisters shared in “Never Have I Ever” and while I am thankful for that and confident in my decision, sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who has chosen to wait for marriage (though I know I’m not). Peers have made fun of fellow virgins in front of me, assuming that I’m just as sexually active as they are and also think that virginity beyond the age of 16 (!!!) is joke-worthy and only happens to people who are unwanted/unattractive/you name it. I do not doubt or question my decision at all, but sometimes I pray that God will point out like-minded peers (either those who have chosen to wait or those who have re-committed to wait) to me or at the very least, people who are respectful of those who choose to wait until marriage.

    Long story short…thank you for your blog post. It gives me renewed hope that there are others out there like me.

    • Aggy says:

      You’ve really imprsesed me with that answer!

    • Greg says:

      Joy, as a 43-year-old virgin myself, it IS hard to wait–for men or women–especially in the day and age we live in, but it is always worth it! I’m sorry you have been made fun of–it’s hard to take, but remember that you are being spared the consequences of sin (which the world likes to “conveniently” NOT talk about, because it destroys their argument). God has a reason for asking us to wait for intimacy–it’s like Kevlar protecting us, rather than a straitjacket tormenting us.

  10. Very nice post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is really the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thank you :)

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