The Real Deal: I’m Abstaining for My Religion

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Between the dancing, kissing, drinking and flirting on and off campus, college students see sexual temptations everywhere. However, for many students—though certainly a smaller population—college life doesn’t revolve around sex.  You may have heard of an “old-fashioned” value of saving yourself for marriage, but what about vowing to get married without a single touch from the opposite sex?

This form of virginity doesn’t put a limit on sexual touching alone; it includes everyday encounters as well. Some choose to not engage in handshakes, sit next to the opposite sex, or even a simple friendly gesture like a hug.

Rachel, a government and politics student at the University of Maryland, College Park, observes the Jewish law “shomer negiah,” which literally means “observant of touch.” Any physical touching between the opposite sex is solely for immediate family only, a practice that Rachel is confident with.

Though religious faith is often the sole factor in this particular virginity lifestyle, these college students are free from pregnancy scares, walks of shame or even drunken nights.

“I think people hear about ‘shomer negiah’ and are immediately judgmental of my religious practices,” she said. “Not only is this a huge part of my religion, but it’s beneficial to the type of relationships I form with the opposite sex. There’s a different intimacy and admiration for the person when there’s no physical aspect of our relationship.”  

Four years of such close proximity to the guys on your dorm floor, guys in your classrooms, and guys studying next to you in the library— what’s a hormonal college woman to do?

Rachel confesses that her religious beliefs aren’t always the easiest of tasks. “I know others that are more lenient with their touching once they’re in a relationship since the temptation is right there. It’s not easy,” she said.

While Rachel is patiently waiting to shed her virginity once she’s a married woman, she does allow touching with the opposite sex in professional settings.

“If I’m interviewing for a job, introducing myself to a student or a similar situation, I’ll lean in for that handshake because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” she said.

Senior > Journalism > University of Maryland

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