How to Become a Virgin Again!

It seems like everyday there is a new phrase being used to describe our sexuality. The latest one is secondary abstinence. We all know abstinence is when people choose to abstain from sex. Secondary abstinence is when you’ve already had sex, but now abstaining until marriage.

Abstinence can either be something we choose or it just happens, as it did for Ali Rachel Pearl, who wrote a New York Times column called, “On Tinder, Off Sex.” Pearl wrote about her experience of trying dating apps and putting herself out there in the dating world, but she hasn’t had sex in over two years. She says she fell into “accidental abstaining,” while her gynecologist called it “secondary abstaining.”

Secondary abstinence is a term many are not familiar with, but there are a few sites who promote the practice. The Abstinence Resource Center says abstinence is the best way to sustain integrity in a romantic relationship and promotes secondary abstinence as a second chance deal.

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Tiffany, 23, speaks on her decision to secondary abstain, “They always say that your first time is your best time. I think whoever said that was wrong. I chose secondary virginity and my best time was on my wedding night. It truly felt like the first time I really experienced what sex was supposed to be; there was such an amazing difference. The man I married was the man I gave my virginity to 2 years earlier. So no one can say I married a guy who was ‘better at it.’ There is something that happens when sex is inside marriage that changes everything. We may have made mistakes but we decided to wait together.”

Anti-abortion site,, offers ways young men and women can remain sexually pure or become secondary virgins who practice secondary abstinence. They also offer a pamphlet for $1.39 (shipping and handling not included) that discusses secondary abstinence in-depth.

The product description says, “This pamphlet for mature teens and young adults promotes the benefits of practicing abstinence until marriage, even if a person has had sex in the past. Discusses the physical, emotional, and moral risks of premarital sex. Discusses nonsexual ways to be intimate, and provides strategies for combating sexual pressure.”

A 2012 study listed secondary abstinence as an option “among young African American females at risk for HIV or STIs.” It found abstaining from sex for a period of time decreased the risk of contracting or spreading HIV and other STIs, however, the interest level in secondary abstinence was hard to tell.

Secondary abstinence being proven as a medical term is still up in the air. OBGYN, Jennifer Conti, says, “Secondary abstinence is not a medically recognized term. There are several reasons why someone may choose to practice abstinence, and it’s important to be careful of qualifiers that may make patients feel judged about their sexuality.”

Conti stresses, “abstinence is abstinence, regardless of when in your life you’re practicing it.” Adding ‘secondary’ in front of it can turn a healthy and normal practice into someone feeling shameful and embarrassed.

In other words, abstinence is abstinence regardless of whether you’ve had sex already.

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.