In an age of sexual exploration and broad acceptance of sexual activity, virginity has held on to its stigma—and not just if you’re Tim Tebow. Ask any 20-something guy trying to save sex for marriage.

Even as our culture increasingly emphasizes individual choice and freedom, encouraging young people to honor their bodies and wait until they are ready before having sex, most of that messaging isn’t geared toward my demographic. People largely assume that all college-aged men have already had sex, since most of them have.

And here’s the thing: Even as a male student at a conservative Christian university, I still see male virginity carry a stigma. That’s how pervasive our society’s messaging about sex is.

While my school's policies prohibit sexual contact between unmarried students, that doesn’t mean all of us toe the line without a struggle. I’ve watched friends encounter a wide range of expectations and backgrounds while dating. One friend was interested in a woman at school here, and things progressed until he discovered that she wanted only a physical relationship. He felt ashamed that he had to break things off, and some of his friends told him he was crazy for turning her down. The situation made him feel like less of a man.

It’s well-noted how often sexuality over-determines a woman’s reputation; a woman who maintains her purity is characterized as pure and honorable, while one who loses her virginity before marriage or sleeps with many people is deemed loose and immoral (or worse, “damaged goods”). Male sexuality doesn’t line up with this dichotomy as much, even in Christian circles. Instead, like my friend in the example above, ...

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