Fact Checked It: Are Teen Girls Asexual?

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Parenting Teens | 42 comments

Are teen girls asexual? Do teen girls have a sex drive? Picture of teen girls

Do teen girls have a sex drive?

I’m desperately hoping that you answer, “Of course!” 

Now, obviously not all teen girls will be sexual (asexuals do make up a small part of the population). But the idea that teen girls are somehow not sexual, while teen boys are sexual, is a super strange trope that is more common than we may realize in church circles.

A woman recently wrote me saying this:

I came across The Great Sex Rescue a few months into marriage, and it has helped me immeasurably. My marriage improved, my sex life improved, and I am so, so grateful that I have that resource.

Yesterday, I had a friend over who is currently in a religious seminary. She mentioned that a teacher told her that naturally, a girl isn’t aware of her sexuality as much as boys are. Boys are automatically and naturally aware of their sexuality because the second they hit puberty – well, you know, hormones. And I’d agree that teenage boys are a lot more horny than teenage girls. Girls, on the other hand, would feel attracted to boys but won’t be nearly aware of their sexuality. It will be dormant. 

Therefore, this teacher said, she doesn’t tell girls what sex is until they are engaged – because why awaken their sexuality when there is no place for it to go? This teacher said she will encourage healthy femininity – she’ll encourage her girls natural desire to look beautiful, be comfortable with their bodies, and buy pretty things – but won’t reveal what sex is. 

I automatically had a few questions. The first thing I reeled at was the horrible idea to tell girls about sex when they’re engaged – what a traumatizing thing, when you take all the emotions of being engaged, and then tell the girl ‘hey this man’s penis will go into your vagina’ right after the wedding! No time to process, nothing! The second thing that bothered me was that there is so much more to sexuality than intercourse – and for a girl who is not in touch with her sexuality and then finds out what intercourse is – might freak out and then expect sex to be penis-in-vagina with no context of a sexual relationship, female response, foreplay, sexuality, and emotions…

(Another horrific fact was that this seems to enable abusers. When a girl is unaware of her body parts and what could happen, she could have no idea when abuse, God forbid, is beginning to happen or happening.)

Wow. That’s awful. And this is being taught at a seminary!

So let’s go over a few things.

1. Boys tend to be more body and sex aware because their sex organs are external

Quite frankly, their sex organs are awfully handy. Girls’ are not. 

And girls also have to deal with periods, which makes things connected to our vulva and vagina a little more layered. Yes, our bodies are beautiful, but for girls, they’re also crampy and they’re messy and they leak. 

Just because boys tend to be more aware of their bodies, and touch their bodies more, does not mean that girls are not sexual.

2. Girls are more vulnerable with sex than boys are

It’s girls who can get pregnant. And so girls are naturally more focused on threats when it comes to sex than boys are. This may make it appear that boys are more interested in sex than girls are; but it’s more than boys have less stress around it and can pursue with far fewer risks.

Once those risks are accounted for, girls can be just as raring to go as guys.

3. Girls masturbate too

In the book Every Heart Restored, author Fred Stoeker, who also co-authored Every Man’s Battle, makes an off-hand comment that male lust “may explain why so many men experiment with masturbation early in life.” 

The problem?

Girls masturbate as well.

In one study of the prevalence of teenage masturbation, researchers found:

Across age groups, more males (73.8%) reported masturbation than females (48.1%). Among males, masturbation occurrence increased with age: at age 14 years, 62.6% of males reported at least 1 prior occurrence, whereas 80% of 17-year-old males reported ever having masturbated. Recent masturbation also increased with age in males: 67.6% of 17-year-olds reported masturbation in the past month, compared with 42.9% of 14-year-olds. In females, prior masturbation increased with age (58% at age 17 years compared with 43.3% at age 14 years), but recent masturbation did not.  END BOX

Cynthia L. Robbins, MD; Vanessa Schick, PhD; Michael Reece, PhD, MPH; et al

JAMA Pediatrics, Prevalence, Frequency, and Associations of Masturbation With Partnered Sexual Behaviors Among US Adolescents

So, yes, boys masturbate more. But over half of girls do too! So this isn’t a case, as Stoeker implied, that boys masturbate while girls don’t. It is that boys are more likely to masturbate, but most girls do too.

4. Girls don’t show a lot of difference on surveys of what they want sexually

And here’s a funny one! A few years ago we analyzed Shaunti Feldhahn’s horrible survey question, from which she drew the conclusion that 82% of boys felt either little responsibility or little ability to stop in a make out situation, and she highlighted the advice, “If you want to stop, it’s safest to not even start.” 

She was basing this on answers boys gave to a poorly worded question of whether they would want to continue sexual progression. But does this mean boys want sex more than girls do? After all, she never asked girls the same thing.

She did, however, ask girls something sort of similar–and she got basically the same answers. 

We do a deep dive into her survey questions as we try to show you what they would look like fixed, but here’s our conclusion:

For Young Women Only: Fixed it for You for Date Rape

Fixed It For You! We Fix a Survey Question so It Doesn't Enable Date Rape

And in this question, 46% of girls say that sex would likely occur. So 46% of girls think that sex would happen, and 48% of boys think that sex would happen.

That’s not a gender difference. 

In an ideal world she would have asked the same question of girls at the same time she did her survey of guys. But she surveyed boys a year before she surveyed girls, wrote a book saying there was a gender difference she herself did not find, did not cite any other research supporting her claim, and then when she did ask girls a similar question it pointed to no gender difference. She had no basis for saying what she did.

Read the whole thing.

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Girls are sexual too.

Teen girls are not asexual beings who don’t need to be taught about sex until they’re engaged. That’s actually a form of child abuse, in my opinion, to keep such vital information about their bodies from them.

And we know from our survey for our book She Deserves Better, which turns a year old this week, that the more information girls have about sex and their bodies, and the younger they have it, the higher their self-esteem, and the less likely they are to get into abusive relationships or be victims of sexual assault.

There is no good reason not to give girls vital information.

And those who think teen girls ar asexual were likely raised with so little sex ed, and so many fear tactics, that their sexuality was repressed.

Our girls deserve better than that. If you haven’t already, pick up She Deserves Better and learn how to heal yourself from what you were taught as a teen, and how to make sure we do better with our girls!

What do you think? Were you taught that girls were asexual, or at least way less sexual than boys? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Laura

    Hey Sheila, I get what you were saying about girls bearing more risk in a sexual encounter, but saying “It’s girls who can get assaulted” makes it sound like boys can’t! I know you don’t think that at all, just wanted to flag that it might be worth rephrasing that section. 🙂

    • sunnynorth

      Yes, that sentence made me very uncomfortable as the implication is that boys cannot get sexually assaulted and that is not true at all! Which I know Sheila and the team knows – please please rephrase this sentence.

  2. Jo R

    It’s too bad these men don’t have the guts (or other, lower-down body parts—I didn’t want to shock anybody by referring to them more explicitly 😉) to just say what they mean.

    “Girls, it’s important that you know that you are not sexual. That’s so that you don’t get to know your own body and be comfortable living it. We especially don’t want you to find out how to orgasm! Because if you already know how to orgasm before you get married, then all the bull pucky we’re teaching boys won’t be able to stand up even just on the wedding night, let alone for five decades of marriage. Your husband won’t be able to tell you’re broken because the activity that’s perfectly designed for his orgasm will likely, statistically speaking, not rock your world. That means he’ll have to take his focus off himself and give you the stimulation you need to achieve the orgasms—and multiples, to boot!—you already know you can have!

    “For all our talk about how the male of the species is superior to the female in terms of strength, what we can’t begin to admit to ourselves is that women have two superpowers that men will never have: those multiple orgasms per session and growing new humans in their bodies. And THAT’S why we harp so much on how women are weaker, because the things women can do that men can’t should not be seen as the awesome abilities that they are. So we men will denigrate women, starting from a young age with menstruation, which is completely normal and natural, and also happens to be the way that women achieve that aforementioned superpower of growing new humans in their bodies.

    “If we let women know about these superpowers, well, one of them, anyway, women wouldn’t take so much crap from half the population. Women might think they’re actually on par with men. Men would immediately face twice the competition in all things because they’d have women on the playing field as well.

    “So we men will do everything in our power to keep you women down, even the ones we marry and claim to love as much as we love ourselves.”

    And by the way, if women are, or are supposed to be, asexual (until marriage, of course, when they’re supposed to instantly become hypersexual), then can someone please explain to me these reactions from 1950s teenage girls:


    Some of those facial expressions in the very beginning look strangely similar to arousal and afterglow, or is that just me? 🤔

    • Jo R

      Oh, and to clarify, I’m in no way suggesting those girls experienced orgasms. But it seems pretty obvious that they’re sexually aroused (for the benefit of those men who can’t tell when a woman **is** sexually aroused).

    • Jeanne

      Your link reminds me—I had to laugh when Karolina Zebrowska (she normally vlogs about historic fashion) decided to read excerpts from a 14 yo girl’s dating life diary—in the 1950’s.


      This notion we’ve been peddled in the 80’s thru 2000’s that “historically, girls did not date much” starts the go out the window the more one studies real history. Historically, all we see is that girls and women were more likely to put the brakes on due to higher personal risk.

      In retrospect it’s mind boggling that “purity culture” teachings fed into this baseless notion that females just aren’t interested in sex naturally (as opposed to that they/we been conditioned to not be interested by the very culture that wants us to put out “every 72 hours or more” after we get hitched.

  3. JC

    I never heard that girls are asexual in so many words, but I definitely heard girls aren’t as sexual as boys growing up… Which always hit weirdly because every girl I knew had a celebrity crush (including me), and we all seemed far more interested in finding a boyfriend than the guys did in finding a girlfriend. Also, I’m of the age where I was teen during the first generation of internet fanfiction… the bulk of which was written by teens and a big chunk definitely by girls. I can tell you in no uncertain terms, teen girls are definitely sexual. How anyone can say that they aren’t with a straight face is beyond me, and I can only speculate with some sorrow as to why anyone might think that they’re asexual.

    • Graham

      Just curious, in your experience, how sexual was the whole “celebrity crush” thing? I’ve often thought that there was a bit of a double standard about these things––if a girl is obsessed with a celebrity it’s not seen as creepy nearly as much as if it’s a boy who is obsessed. This sort of makes sense given the fact that men are more likely to be sexual predators. But I’ve wondered too if it’s that the obsession girls have would less likely be sexual in nature.

      • Rebecca

        It is definitely sexual in nature.

    • Jeanne

      Hehehe, don’t let them know about BookTok…

  4. NM

    I just about spit my coffee out when I read this one. 16-year-old me would like a word. What seminary is this being taught at? It’s so embarrassingly bad.

  5. S

    So basically stunt the growth and sexuality of women until a man is ready to use them for his pleasure, who cares about hers, she is just a masturbatory tool. Unless you are living with her in a tower like Rapunzel, home schooled, kept away from TV and the internet, and not allowed to socialize ever with anyone, girls will find out about sex because we are not asexual until someone wants to use us. Women aren’t just walking around clueless waiting to be told that they are now ready to be a wife and must become ready to please her husband no matter what but before all that they need to just reserve their body completely that for the man who will get the gift of her virginity and cluelessness, even though that is a gift to no one, and especially not to her. This is disgusting teaching.

  6. EOF

    I never thought I’d say this, but I’m so glad I went to public school where girls were just as sex crazy and crass as the boys! I had a good sex education and never felt bad for having sexual desires (even though because of going to youth group starting in junior high, I decided to stay a virgin until marriage, though barely.)

    While I have been hurt and traumatized severely by church as an adult, primarily as a wife, I’m glad not to have had this stuff taught to me in my youth. At least I’ve been able to hold onto my education and experiences from my teen years. It’s helped me to know that I was being abused even if I didn’t know how to get out of it or that God didn’t approve. That’s a whole other healing issue…

  7. Angharad

    WHAT?!!! They don’t tell girls anything about sex until AFTER they’re engaged? That is sexual abuse.

    People who trick young girls into entering brothels by telling them they are coming to work as cooks, cleaners or childminders are guilty of sexual trafficking, and I bet most of these seminary teachers would regard such people as evil. Yet they are no different. Raising young girls to commit to marriage without telling them anything about sex and those girls are going to think that being a wife involves cooking, cleaning, childminding… So what is the difference between these so-called ‘Christian’ seminary teachers and sex traffickers?

    Not to mention making those girls super-vulnerable to sexual predators. I know of at least one girl who believed she had lost her virginity through being kissed by a guy against her will, and her ignorance about sex combined with the strong culture of shame meant she believed she was ‘married in the sight of God’. I only knew about this years later when she realised how wrong she had been to think that and told me. I suspect there are many more marriages with similar origins – in that kind of culture, a guy doesn’t have to do much to convince a girl that she has ‘lost her purity’ (in extreme circles, even hand-holding is dubbed ‘fornication’) and therefore needs to be grateful if he will still condescend to marry her (even if he’s the one who caused this so-called ‘loss of purity’ in the first place)

  8. Laura

    I never heard the term “asexuality” until I was in my 30s. During my teen years, I would often hear through other peers that guys were only interested in one thing so if I wanted to save myself for marriage, I better not bother dating. Thankfully, I was not raised in conservative evangelicalism and I never attended youth group. By the time I accepted salvation, I was one month shy of 18 and felt too old for youth group even though I was a high school senior.

    When I was 13, I first thought about sex and wondered what it would be like to have it. I dreamt about it. Hello, celebrity crushes! Back in the early 90s, I was hung up on the hard rock hair bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, etc. These were MEN, not boys like Neil Patrick Harris or River Phoenix. In spite of having fantasies about celebrity crushes and the boy of my dreams (depending on who I was interested in during high school), I felt dirty, but never masturbated because I did not really know what that was. Kids talked about it in school. I sure would not tell them about any fantasies I had, unless they were my closest girl friends. I didn’t want anyone to think that a quiet, straight-A student like me actually had sexual thoughts.

    I never understood why I felt dirty for having certain fantasies because I never heard anything about fantasies being a “sin.” What I learned is that fantasizing too much can keep one from enjoying real life.

    I never had boyfriends in school and did not have my first kiss until I was 21, but that did not mean I was asexual. People can be aware of their sexuality long before they start dating. It’s good to have that awareness.

  9. Angela

    Gen X here. Was never taught that girls are asexual, and had a mom who did a decent job at sex Ed for the times. Was not obsessed with sex, but absolutely thought about it at times, and I even remember a fantasy about marrying Prince Andrew and what my wedding night might be like, lol. (Eww, gross now. But at the time Diana and Charles “fairy-tale” romance was everywhere.) Also disproves that girls never fantasize about or plan their wedding night.😁 Which I also did when actually engaged, thank you very much.

  10. Donita L Fogle

    I grew up in a very private family.Except for when he wore a swimsuit my father always wore some kind of tshirt and pants including on a rare morning boxer shorts.I never saw him without clothes.I never saw my mother without clothes though once in a while when she had to rush from the bathroom to the bedroom to get dressed I might she her barebreasted.Never until she was over 80 did I see her naked.
    I had a bride doll and baby dolls but really wasn’t concerned about how they went together. I just knew they did.Asexual?No.My mom+dad would sit on the couch and kiss.Romance?Not yet.My brother+I would tease them but it was normal.
    We don’t give kids time to develop and begin to grow up.
    Gym class at my high school included swimming in a girls only pool.I was very careful about keeping covered changing in+out of the blue school t-shirt swimsuits.But I never looked around at the other girls in process of changing.At my house there was no nudity and no pornography whatsoever!And no sexual teasing or comments even about actors or actresses or other real people.No dirty talk.I grew up with Christian parents in a Christian home.My parents friends and even my friends through high school and college didn’t sit and discuss sex or their libido.
    Nothing was ever said about sex growing up except to do with menstruation in 5/6th grade.The first I heard about intercourse was in 9th grade gym class.I was 13 and I really didn’t know.
    I was very aware of ‘boys’ but there were more interesting things to do until the year I started periods@10-11 so 6th grade; I was one of the youngest in my class.I was 11 when I had my first crush. I gave the boy a Halloween card!
    But there was one boy 1 1/2 years older 1 grade ahead who was special from early childhood.We liked to do things together and could compete in things but not hurt each other’s feelings because we both knew we were about equal intellectually and academically.We were friends lived in the same neighborhoods 9 years so we did school, church and other things together including special school studies, contests, serving in student council, choir, kickball league, baton twirling and competitions and neighborhood stuff like kick the can, riding bikes, acting in circuses+plays for neighborhood mothers, finding walking sticks and wild roses and 4-leaf clovers.We were in Scouts-Girl Scouts for me+Boy Scouts for him.And when we went to my brother’s Little League games he played and we hung out some working in the concession stand.We both played in band in junior high.He came to my 2 junior high birthday parties@12+13 and then I began to feel he was more than special to me but I don’t know if he knew.Then our families moved from our neighborhood and it was long distance to call. I only saw him at church until my dad became his BSA leader in high school. I trusted him from 4 1/2 years old.
    7th grade and junior high was my first real introduction socially to boy/girl dynamics beyond the classroom.

  11. JoB

    While I don’t at all think that girls are asexual, I think there is a vast chasm between having romantic/crush/sexual feelings and actually knowing how to physically act on them- ie, masturbation and experiencing orgasm. There is a vast chasm between having clinical self knowledge (names of body parts, knowing their function, understanding reproduction and the basic mechanics of sex) and actually having the type of self knowledge that leads to sexual pleasure. How many women have needed a vibrator to introduce them to their body’s capacity for pleasure for the first time? Men don’t really have that difficulty.

    Growing up, I had all the clinical information I needed from my mother, but no mention of sensuality or pleasure was ever made. Books and movies that featured sex were my introduction to sensuality, and they made it seem like the feelings of sexual attraction or arousal would “automatically” lead to ecstatic experiences, every time, with intercourse being the Holy Grail of sexual experiences.

    I do wonder if there is a correlation between roughly 50% of teen girls figuring out masturbation, and roughly 50% of women reliably experiencing orgasm through sexual activity.

    I think there are a variety of reasons that exist for attempting to shelter or discourage women from self discovery and pleasure. Some of the perceived risks might be that women will become promiscuous with men, and risk pregnancy, etc, when it’s not advisable. There’s also the possibility that girls would start seeking pleasure with other girls, which doesn’t carry the same risk for pregnancy, disease or assault, but does/did carry its own stigma, particularly in Christian circles. Or just the possibility that they will figure out that a man can never satisfy them like a vibrator can, and they set off to live a life of sexually fulfilled celibacy and reject marriage and motherhood.

    I’m between GenX and Millennial, so I really don’t know what kind of info the kids are getting these days. There is for sure a lot more explicit information and also openness about queer sexuality, which seems like it would introduce a lot of information that wasn’t available pre-internet. I’m seriously wondering if the seminary professor mentioned in the post was teaching somewhere with very limited internet and very traditional social structures outside the western world. I can’t imagine girls in North America actually being unaware of sex in this day and age, where it is literally everywhere. Certainly not if they went through the public school system or had any kind of contact with peers who were in it.

    • Angharad

      I didn’t even realise girls COULD masturbate until I was well into my 20s – and even then, I wasn’t sure what it meant or how you did it. Growing up, masturbation was always presented as something that boys did – whether it was regarded as ok or evil, there was never any suggestion that this was something girls did or could do. And we were also raised to believe that you only ever touched yourself ‘down there’ for hygiene reasons – taking all this into account, I’m surprised there isn’t a bigger gap between boys and girls when it comes to this.

      And there will still be plenty of kids out there who are either homeschooled or attending very strict schools who will still have no idea about reproduction, although hopefully not as many as when I was growing up. I was homeschooled using a structured programme which included modules on biology, but when it came to human biology, they left it to parents/guardians/teachers to teach – the thinking was that it should not be taught ‘out of context’, i.e. that kids should be taught about navigating relationships, consent, marriage etc alongside the scientific facts. While it was a great idea in theory, in practice, it left kids up to the mercy of whoever was teaching them. Most of our home-ed group were normal people and just home-educating because they felt it was best for their kids for various reasons, but there were a few serious weirdos who were open about home-ed being the best way to control their kids long-term. Most if not all of those kids grew up knowing nothing at all about sex – those parents believed in having ‘father son’ and ‘mother daughter’ conversations on the night before the wedding – can you imagine how traumatising?!

      • JoB

        Angharad, your first observation made me smile, this is exactly what I was talking about. I’m really glad to know I wasn’t the only one who was perplexed by the idea of female masturbation! At what point is it advisable to teach young women that part of their anatomy includes the clitoris, and its purpose? Some women go through 50 years of marriage and don’t find that information on their own. But I admit I don’t know when is the proper time to offer that knowledge. I don’t anticipate being responsible for anyone’s sex ed, but I do wonder.

        • Angharad

          Ideally, I think all this information should be part of an ongoing conversation, starting pre puberty. Giving kids facts about the reproductive system isn’t going to make them all rush out and start having sex and in some cases, giving them knowledge could actually protect them from this, since knowledgeable kids are much less likely to be coerced or manipulated into sexual relationships. Also, if information on sex is communicated openly and in a matter-of-fact manner by trusted adults, they’re far more likely to feel comfortable going to those same adults if they have concerns or questions.

          My mother had a schoolfriend who screamed herself into hysterics when she had her first period because no one had told her about menstruation and she thought she was dying. When I was a kid, all the girls my age were taught about menstruation, but we were still incredibly vague about why it happened or what sex was. I know I wasn’t the only girl who was convinced I could get pregnant by using a bath, shower or toilet after a male had used it. Vague hints about men not being able to control themselves, that sperm could move on its own and that sex was ‘messy’ gave us the idea of armies of sperm crawling all over the bathroom! It sounds funny looking back on it, but I remember my 13 year old self being terrified every time I had to wash or use the toilet in case I ended up with a baby. My concern now is that we will go too far the other way, at least in secular schools. Some of the material that is being presented to primary school kids in the UK is WAY too explicit, bordering on pornographic. There needs to be a middle ground.

    • CMT

      “I’m seriously wondering if the seminary professor mentioned in the post was teaching somewhere with very limited internet and very traditional social structures outside the western world. I can’t imagine girls in North America actually being unaware of sex”

      I wondered if either this person is part of some high control group that believes in stay at home daughters, or else their kids are so young that they have not yet realized it is impossible to completely control what they learn.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I think it was in North America! Must be a very high control group.

        • CMT

          That, or the teacher’s daughters helped maintain the illusion that a young woman’s sexuality doesn’t “awaken” without an infodump from an authority figure. Adolescents sense their parent’s attitudes about sexuality even if there’s no explicit communication. If they know it’s not an acceptable topic, they won’t ask questions or share what they’re experiencing. They’re still developing sexually, even if it’s in a lopsided way. But their parents don’t know how aware they really are because they discourage open communication.

      • JoB

        I read the teacher’s remark about telling “girls” about sex, and for some reason I assumed it meant her seminary/ college aged students, not her own children. It just seemed super weird to me that a college level teacher would be in position to tell her students about sex… after they got engaged. It reminded me of the scene in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” when Tula’s mom goes to give her “the talk” the night before, and Tula’s response to her first sentence is, “Ew. Please let that be the end of your speech.” I was thinking of something humorous, but of course in real life it’s not.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It is interesting to see what the correlation would be. I know Rebecca looked into the peer reviewed research on this, and seems as if female masturbation is correlated with being able to orgasm through manual stimulation from your partner, but not necessarily to orgasming through intercourse.

  12. Perfect Number

    When I was in my 20’s and starting to question if I was asexual, it took me a long time to figure it out because I kept coming back to “but that’s just how women are! Women don’t like sex!” (And I’ve heard other asexuals who were raised in purity culture talk about similar experiences.) Really not cool to not give girls the information they need to figure out their own desires or lack thereof.

    And the advice to not tell women about sex until they get engaged, oh my goodness that is such bad advice!!!!! What if the woman actually is asexual (or gay or bi, etc)- it would be really good for her to be able to figure that out about herself BEFORE getting engaged!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire


    • CMT

      “What if the woman actually is asexual (or gay or bi, etc)- it would be really good for her to be able to figure that out about herself BEFORE getting engaged!“

      Yeah you’d think! A lot of the older purity culture proponents didn’t know/believe that anything besides “cis straight and allosexual” really exists. Purity culture 2.0 doesn’t seem to get this either, with much less excuse.

  13. Marina

    So, if they weren’t telling girls about the “wedding night” until they were engaged, what happens if finding out what she’ll have to do for her husband makes the girl want to reconsider the marriage, if not call it off? I guess just too bad, in that professor’s opinion? I wonder how many women went into marriages that they may not have chosen if they knew about “servicing” their husband (and I have the feeling those people are the sort to push the “servicing” line of though). I can never figure out how women function in marriages like that. How can you not feel like a prostitute in those circumstances, no matter how much you love your husband? Are women that desperate for children? Or do they just try to not think about it too much?

    • Angharad

      In my experience, the people who advocate for minimal or no sex education until after engagement are also the people who refer to engagement as ‘betrothal’ and treat it almost as seriously as marriage, so it would be very hard for a girl (especially a young girl, and these groups also encourage early marriage) to break off an engagement, knowing that she is going to be regarded as ‘tainted’ for the rest of her life.

      • Marina

        Way to put brides to be in a double-bind, then, huh? So for some of them, they wait till the bride can’t back out of the wedding without essentially getting called a w***e. How romantic….

  14. NL

    It doesn’t have to be “we don’t know what sex is” to be “we don’t talk about sex till the wedding night.” I has one sex talk. When I was 10 and my sister 8, my father showed us a photo(2×3, black and white) in Western Horseman magazine of a horse mounting another horse. He said, “So it’s pretty much the same thing with people.” That was our entire birds and the bees education, other than whatever we came up with on our own. We knew what sex was… and we didn’t know what sex was. My mother was still.telling my youngest sisters that “virgin” meant unmarried when they were 15. It’s not pretending that sex doesn’t exist, but it’s ignoring any details at all.
    Years after, we learned that one of my brothers molested the other brother, for years. He also experimented with kissing one of my other sisters. My sister was assaulted by a man in our church. Her first husband had a porn problem. I have my own problems with intimacy in my 16 year marriage. The morning of my overseas wedding, on a conference call, my sister (married to her porn addict husband) asked if anyone had given me the talk, I said I had read The Act of Marriage. My mother made no comment.
    Functionally, that’s what this teacher is talking about

    • JoB

      You’re absolutely right. In theory, the person in the role of parent/mentor/teacher thinks she is sheltering the young person from certain knowledge, but in practice, they already have some knowledge, but are given no invitation to ask questions, and understand implicitly that they don’t have permission to ask or seek more understanding. The teacher doesn’t feel comfortable with this being an ongoing conversation- she prefers it be a quick, one-time, one-sided communication.

  15. Jane Eyre

    Just throwing this out there:

    If good Christian girls are supposed to be totally unaware of their bodies, what will a good Christian husband think when his virgin bride uses anatomically appropriate words and emphatically states that the clitoris is the female analog of the penis? Holy cognitive dissonance….

    • Jo R

      Simple. He’ll just take the usual man-road and say she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

      Then he tell her to make him a sammich. 🙄

      • Jane Eyre


        I was driving at something deeper: the problems with conflating intellectual knowledge with Biblical “knowing.”

        A teenage girl can be aware that she has a clitoris and the sole purpose of that organ is sexual pleasure. That does not make her less of a virgin, spiritually unclean, or anything else.

        A man can sleep with dozens of people (or be married for a decade), but still not know any of his partners’ preferences. He may excel at finding out where to put his penis and how to love to give himself pleasure; however, he doesn’t have the faintest clue what he’s doing.

        Pragmatically, how does one prepare young men to marry nice Christian girls who know what the clitoris is? This happens when we all understand that biological knowledge =\= sexual experience =\= intimacy.

        • Jo R

          Yeah, knowledge and facts are easy to impart, but how do you teach a guy to CARE about his wife’s sexual experience? I mean, to care if she orgasms.

          It’s one thing to know she HAS a clitoris. It’s a ‘whole nother thing for him to be willing to give it the attention it needs (as you yourself know all too well, which breaks my heart and pisses me off royally on your behalf 😢), especially when that attention doesn’t directly stimulate HIM.

          A woman can, after all, see how well a boyfriend cooks, cleans his home, keeps up with laundry, and all the rest, but how good a lover he’ll be? Pfffttt. There’s no way to find out ahead of time, and more’s the damn pity.

  16. Hope

    While I wasn’t taught that girls were asexual, it was expected from me by my mom that I would be a good girl (no sex until marriage). However, she would not talk to me about sex and did not provide a safe space for sex talk and questions. I was expected to figure it out on my own. I was about 10 when I figured it out and was grossed out! So I understand how an adult woman would feel if she only learned shortly before she was married what sex was.

  17. Willow

    My best friend and I, both cis hetero females, were crazy horny in high school, ages 13-17. We had extremely sexual thoughts and celebrity crushes as well as aspirational crushes on actual guys in high school. Neither one of us was in a relationship in high school, so mostly our rampant sexuality manifested itself in very detailed fantasies, verbal and written.

    I masturbated through my clothes when I was a teen, but I wouldn’t have called it that then. It wasn’t until I was sexually active with a man, later, that I learned that I could (and how to) touch my naked lady parts to get a reaction.

    I attended public high school. Sex ed was not about teaching pleasure (remember the outrage when Janet Reno as Surgeon General talked about mentioning masturbation to teenagers??). Sex ed was quite extensive, but about 75% STDs (this was at the height of the AIDS crisis) and 25% don’t-get-pregnant. We spent a lot of time putting condoms on cucumbers and bananas.

  18. Jeanne

    I do believe (anecdotally) there is a rise in girls who identify as ace amongst Gen Z and even Alpha. I spend a fair amount of time interacting with Gen Zer’s (and being a fly on the wall of Gen Z Yotubers and their comment sections). While the church is grappling with the consequences of a generation of purity culture, it seems the secular western world is grappling with the consequences of two generations of hypersexualization, particularly of minors.

    As JC above mentioned, fanfics (and now BookTok) are female-driven—both in production and consumption. Spend any time on Wattpad and you’ll see how thirsty girls and women are—and the relationships they typically latch onto are not healthy ones. Moreover, fanfic involves a staggering proportion of “self-insertion characters” embroiled in romance (often “spicy”) with canon fictional characters.

    But more recently I’ve seen a pushback amongst secular teens for exploration of platonic or mentor/parent-mentee relationships. Many express considering sex uninteresting and don’t understand why people want romance. (And we’re talking early 20’s, here.). Or, they’ll say they’re okay with “mature, established romantic relationships that have cooled off, but the early stages of romance are just cringy.” In writing channels you’ll find a good number of comments from self-identified aces “taking notes” on the “how to write love scenes” videos because they want to be authors and that’s what sells. They treat these advisories as “guidebooks” because it’s simply something they have no interest in imagining themselves.

    Heterosexual boys, meanwhile, seem to be splitting down the center: either swallowing the incel/“manosphere” pill (arguably even worse than purity culture rhetoric) or swinging the opposite direction into “demisexual” territory—only interested in sexual contact with someone they’ve already established a strong emotional connection with. Now this reduced interest in sex in both genders may in turn have some correlation with the rise in spectrum and depressive disorders amongst the younger generations, particularly post-2020 and the time many spent in near-isolation (and using virtual connection as a replacement for IRL) during critical social-developmental stages—a conversation all its own. The sheer number of times I’ve seen 17-23yo’s ask, “how do I tell someone I like them? How do I ask someone on a date?” has been staggering.

    This strange dichotomy (pushback against purity culture in the church vs pushback against hypersexuality in the secular sphere) has been pretty fascinating to watch.

  19. Istra

    Hello! Actual asexual here!

    I find this H I L A R I O U S.

    My experience as an asexual, growing up evangelical, (and having no idea that being ace was a thing!)

    The difference between MY experience and my AFAB peers was MILES apart.

    I didn’t know what asexuality WAS, I just thought I was REALLY good at purity culture. (I was “acing it” ha ha!)

    Even my most committed, righteous, purity minded, save kissing (or handholding!) until marriage peers “struggled” with things like having a crush on a boy (the horror).

    I didn’t, and I thought it was weird people did.

    I learned how to parrot opinions about which boys were cute or nice, but yeah.

    Only someone who is NOT asexual would say that “teenage girls” as a whole are asexual.

    Also, FWIW, that guy was also demeaning and erasing the complexities of the asexual experience, so YAY ALL THE SEXISM AND ASEXUAL ERASURE WHILE APPROPRIATING LGBTQIA+ LANGUAGE!

    (And by yay I mean not yay at all.)


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