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Question

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Are you still a virgin if you have anal sex? I am a 14 year old teenager (and still a virgin). A boy I know told me that he had anal sex with a girl. But not in her vagina and he said it only lasted for a couple of seconds and he stroked about 5 times. He wants to claim that he is still a virgin because he knew it was wrong and it didn't last long. But as I look at it he is not because if two gay men have sex they count themselves as non-virgins. They entered a place (the backside) where they have a good feeling and that arouses both of them. So is he still a virgin even if it didn't last long and is this compared to having sex before marriage? I hope I am making sense.


It is interesting how people turn to word games to excuse their behavior. Paul warned Timothy, "Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers" (II Timothy 2:14). In other words, focusing on the words and not what happened is a distraction from the truth.

Still, let's look at what people mean when they call someone a virgin:
"A woman who has had no carnal knowledge of man; a maiden of inviolate chastity; a man who has preserved his chastity; ... chaste; untouched; fresh; unsullied" [The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language]
"A person who has not experienced sexual intercourse" [The American Heritage Dictionary]

"a person who has never had sex" [wordnet.princeton.edu]
"A virgin is most commonly seen as a person who has not engaged in sexual intercourse. In a stricter sense it is somebody who has not yet engaged in sexual activities" [Wikipedia: Virgin]

The last definition gives us a hint as to what is happening in our society. To escape facing the reality of what someone has done, the sin is defined as strictly as possible so that what the person did isn't included. Thus, it is not just sex in general, it is only sexual intercourse. Then it is not just intercourse, but only intercourse that involves the vagina. You saw through this misdirection when you realized that the definition became so narrow that it eliminated homosexual acts as being sex.

The boy is also trying to excuse what he did by saying the actual act didn't last long. Let's apply that standard to other sins. When you hurt someone's feelings by blurting out an insult, how long did it take to say it? Does the fact that it only took a few seconds to say mean that it wasn't really an insult? When a person steals a candy bar from a store, does the fact that it only took a few moments to pocket the item mean it wasn't really stealing? I'm sure murderers on death row would love a standard that said if a killing only took a short moment, then it wasn't really murder. I think you get the point, and I hope the young man will as well.

Sexual intercourse is not solely a man ejaculating inside a woman's vagina. It is the typical endpoint, but there are many acts that just as much a part of sex that lead up to that point. Sexual foreplay, the touching and caressing that leads up to orgasm, is just as much of sex. Many things are like this. Eating dinner is not just putting food in your mouth. Dinner also includes the setting of the table and the dishing out of food. Without the preparations, it won't be really be dinner. In the same way, sexual foreplay is a part of sex.

A person who engages in mutual masturbation (the use of hands to bring about orgasm), oral sex (the use of the mouth to bring about orgasm), or anal sex (the use of the rectum to bring about orgasm) is still engaged in sex, even if those acts aren't done long enough to bring about orgasm. However, in this young man's case I suspect that orgasm and ejaculation did take place even though it wasn't mentioned.

Technically the young man is not a virgin. But it really doesn't matter whether he wants to call himself a virgin or not. What matters is that he was engaged in sexual acts with a girl. What matters is that he put his penis in a place it didn't belong.

People use anal sex as a substitute for vaginal sex because the chance for pregnancy is far less. In other words, they want sex but are concerned about getting caught. However, think about what a person is doing. This young man put his penis into the area where feces are eliminated. Who, in their right mind, would smear feces on themselves? The bowels are notorious for harboring all sorts of disease causing bacteria. Worse, a man's penis has the thinnest skin on the external body and it becomes very thin when erect. The blood vessels are just below the surface of the skin, thus it doesn't take much for bacteria to cross the boundary.

On the girl's side, the rectum isn't designed to accommodate an object like a man's erect penis. The forced expansion can and usually does cause small tears. A penis moving in and out will increase the likelihood of additional damage. The rectum does not produce any natural lubricants to minimize damage. Thus the girl is exposed to the bacteria in her own rectum because of these tears and small amounts of her blood, perhaps too little to be easily seen, was in contact with his penis. How long we don't know because we don't know how long it was until he washed afterwards. A number of sexually transmitted disease are transmitted by fluid contact, such as contact with blood.

This leads to yet another point. It is probable that this girl has had sex with other boys before. No one knows what diseases she has been exposed to in the past. This young man has no idea if he has picked up a sexually transmitted disease or not. Some diseases show symptoms after a few days, but some don't show any effects until years or even decades later. Usually by the time the symptoms appear, damage has already been done to the body.

This is why Solomon warned, "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away" (Proverbs 6:32-33). Wounds refers to the disease picked up and the dishonor refers (in this case) to lose of being a virgin. He can't claim that he has no sexual experience. What he did to this girl is permanently in his memory.

In the Bible's terms, what he did was commit fornication with this girl. Fornication is having sex outside the bounds of marriage. The possibility of disease is a serious matter, but it is nothing compared with the death of his soul. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Does he understand the seriousness of his error? I know he said it was wrong, but the fact that he attempts to excuse it tells me he doesn't think it was all that bad. A bit later Paul writes, "Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body" (I Corinthians 6:18). Other sins, such as stealing or lying, are done to someone else. Sexual sins are a bit different as they are sins which a person does to himself, even when another person is involved.

Fortunately, there is a way out of this mess. He can make his life right with God. Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them had been guilty of these same serious sins. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11). If this young man isn't a Christian, he needs to repent of his sins, confess his wrongs to God, learn to have faith in Jesus and be willing to confess Christ before others, and be baptized to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). If he is a Christian, he needs to pray to God for forgiveness, as John taught, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). It would help, too, to have righteous friends to pray with him and for him before God. "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16).

He should also take care of his physical body. He needs to see a doctor, tell him that he engaged in anal sex, and ask for tests for sexually transmitted diseases. Catching and destroying the diseases early may prevent any lasting damage.

Once he has done all that he can spiritually and physically, then it really doesn't matter whether he is a virgin or not. What matters is that he is now living righteously with God. The past can't be undone, but it can be left behind. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). Such a man would be a treasure for any woman to call her husband.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Sexual Relations
Follow on: We're thinking about getting married, so how do I get him to be honest with himself?