For girls who grew up in the church, it is taught that one of the biggest sins that a young woman could partake in is having sex. We are told to “wait until marriage” and that “true love waits.” We wear purity rings and make the commitment that we are married to God, and that if a man truly loves you he will wait to have sex with you until your wedding night.

We grow up thinking that if we stray from this path than we have let down our pastor, church, parents, and God. However, is losing your virginity something that should weigh you down with shame?

In college, it seems like the majority of our peers are no longer virgins. While some people have numerous partners, there are also those who have had just one or a few. I know a number of people who have had sex and still have a strong relationship with God. Why? Because they understand that with God, there is a love so great that it outweighs the mistakes of the flesh.

Being a young woman is hard. You think your first love is going to be your last because that is what the fairytales portray it as. You think that sex is just sex, and meaningless. No matter your level of sexual activity, it seems to always have a reason.

You can love God and have had sex. Just because you did it does not mean that His love is insufficient and cannot reach your heart. His love is there if you want it and He is just waiting for you to accept it.

In no way should sex be something that is taboo to talk about. The way the church portrays sex is in a disgusting and unrealistic matter. We are not meant to fear it, and talking about it is OKAY. There is a reason why so many people partake in sex: because it is enjoyable. It is human nature, and not everyone waits.

Just because you didn’t wait until your wedding night to have sex does not mean that night will be any less special. Just because your church friends have waited thus far and you didn’t, does not make you less of a Christian. Just because you thought he was the one and shared that intimate moment with him does not make you a whore.

The society of the church has its blinders on. It is making us believe that the only way to be a great Christian is by “treating our body like a temple” and that means not letting a guy go too far. However, just because one has had sex does not mean she does not have respect for herself; it means society views her as not having respect for herself, and that is a huge difference.

If you know the reasoning behind your decision and are okay with it, that is on you. Things happen. We are not called or expected to be perfect, and Jesus would not want us faking it anyway.

You are not less than your friend who’s a virgin. You are not a slut because you had sex. You are not defined by what society says of you. You are a woman who is loved by God, no matter what is said by others. One of the best things that can happen to a person is finding things out on her own.

We are in no way expected or required to be perfect, and knowing that God loves us through whatever we are currently going through or have gone through should be reassurance enough that we are more than what labels say about us. So if you are feeling the weight of what society says about you on your shoulders, take a step back and remember that God made you.

You. Are. Loved.