Awakened Living Study Program, Lesson 55: VIRGINITY

Dear brothers and sisters: Good morning and thank you for attending our weekly Awakened Living Study Program. My name is Alaye Soteme and I will be your host. Our topic for today’s Study is VIRGINITY. May we focus our full attention on this study for the lessons of life because knowledge is POWER, knowledge is SUCCESS, knowledge is FORGIVENESS, knowledge is WISDOM, knowledge is ENLIGHTENMENT and knowledge is AWAKENED LIVING.

All quotes relating to GOD are interpreted in a Universal sense; in other words our use of the word GOD does not refer to any religion, cultural Gods, saviors, or created Gods. GOD is the underlying ESSENCE of the Universe. GOD has no chosen people, GOD has no Sacred Text and GOD has no Sacred Place! The Universe is the Sacred Text, the Universe is the Sacred Place and all creatures are Testaments of GOD! 

Further you are here to look at life from a different angle. You are not here to follow what others have put in place be it their religion, their Gods, their sacred texts, their beliefs or their way of thinking. You are here to share your LIGHT with the world.  The beliefs of our ancestors are our liabilities. Our challenge is to look at life in ways that promote interdependence and destroy all forms of discrimination including racism, tribalism, nationalism, nepotism, fundamentalism, fanaticism, favoritism, exclusivism, chosen people and racial superiority. 

Lastly, none of the quotes here is absolute or written in blood. They are all human thoughts and ideas based on their experiences and according to their levels of consciousness. The Awakened Living Study Program is a platform to study what others have said and improve on them. Do not for any reason use the quotes as mantra for life because you are the LIGHT!

Opening Meditation
You may offer an appropriate prayer before reading, discussing and reflecting on the famous quotes and the Sacred Texts verses. You may use the following prayer:

O LOVE who pervades the universe, we thank you for this opportunity to learn. We pray for LOVE to manifest amongst us to guide our readings, discussions and reflections. We specially pray for peace of mind and save us from all distractions and concerns of mind and body so that we may learn the lessons of life for our guidance and the transformation of our lives. In the name of Love, the Earth and the Universe, Amen.

The Study Leader may make announcements at this time. Welcome new members, recognize birthdays or anniversaries; make an award or recognize a contribution; announce Circle of Life successes. This is also an opportunity for anyone to share an experience, give thanks or make a request for special prayers.

Opening Thoughts
The leader or an appointed person will stand and read the opening thoughts. The opening thoughts explain the topic of discussion. You may use the information below or explain it in your own words.

A virgin is one who has not engaged in sexual intercourse. Remaining a virgin till marriage is important to many families and social organizations because it curtails the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies among teens. Apart from ensuring your health and dealing with unexpected pregnancy, abstinence also gives you the time to concentrate on your life. This presentation will look at some of the thoughts on virginity and answer some of your questions on the subject.

Famous Quotes
Take turns to read the famous quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote.  Please give credit to the author of the quote and as an assignment for presentations each person may choose an author and find out more about the author to share with the group during the next session.

1 When I was your age I lost a tooth, not my virginity. Author Unknown
2 Virginity is such a personal thing. You can't judge anyone on it. A lot of young women feel they want to save themselves for the man who they think they'll love forever. Joyce Brothers.
3 It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue. Voltaire
4 "I felt so disgusted with myself. I stopped talking to him and actually didn't have sex for three years after that because I knew I was young and I knew I wasn't ready. . . . I should have listened to my parents. Don't let anyone pressure you; it's not worth it and how I felt afterwards." Khloé Kardashian
5 "I could tell by the evidence in the tent that all of my plans, my promises, and my moral standards had disappeared in one awful night in a series of bad decisions."  Bristol Palin
6 It is difficult to believe in a religion that places such a high premium on chastity and virginity. Madonna Ciccone
7 The great majority of people in England and America are modest, decent and pure-minded and the amount of virgins in the world today is stupendous. Barbara Cartland
8 I lost my virginity junior year of college, I was 21... I was awkward, and I was raised Jehovah's Witness so I thought sex was bad, I thought I was going to go to hell, and get AIDS immediately. Donald Glover
9 Keep your virginity for as long as you can, until it starts to feel weird to you. Then just get it over with. Amy Poehler
10 Men, if you are a virgin, there is nothing wrong with that. Don't let no one make you think you a loser because of that. Enhance Dreams

Sacred Texts Quotes
Take turns to read all the sacred text quotes and discuss what you have learned from each quote. In your discussion compare and contrast the quotes. What did you learn from the similarities and differences? What quote inspires you? What life lessons did you learn from the quote? Please give credit to the sacred text during your reading by mentioning the name of the text and where the quote could be found. 

1 Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Judaism, Tanakh: Genesis 2:24
2 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 7:1-4
3 There are three gates to self-destructive hell: lust, anger, and greed. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 16.21
4 Just as a fire is covered by smoke and a mirror is obscured by dust, just as an embryo is enveloped deep within the womb, knowledge is hidden by selfish desire--hidden, Arjuna, by this unquenchable fire for self-satisfaction, the inveterate enemy of the wise. Selfish desire is found in the senses, mind, and intellect, misleading them and burying wisdom in delusion. Fight with all your strength, Arjuna! Controlling your senses, conquer your enemy, the destroyer of knowledge and realization. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 3.38-41
5 There is no crime greater than having too many desires; there is no disaster greater than not being content; there is no misfortune greater than being covetous. Taoism. Tao Te Ching 46
They say that woman is an enticement. No, No, she is not so. They say that money is an enticement. No, No, it is not so. They say that landed property is an enticement. No, No, it is not so. The real enticement is the insatiable appetite of the mind, O Lord Guheswara! Hinduism. Allama Prabhu, Vacana 91
7  There are three gates to this self-destructive hell: lust, anger and greed. Renounce these three. Those who escape from these three gates of darkness, Arjuna, seek what is best and attain life’s supreme goal. Others disregard the teachings of the scriptures. Driven by selfish desires, they miss the goal of life, miss even happiness and success. Hinduism: Bhagavad Gita: 16:21-23
8  Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
9 Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. Christianity, New Testament: 1 Corinthians 7:25-28
10 Both learning and the practice of the Teaching are lost to him who is given to sexual intercourse. He employs himself wrongly. That is what is ignoble in him. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 815

Teaching Story
The teaching story is a story, a parable or thoughts related to the topic of discussion. An appointed person will read each story and the group will take turns and discuss. What does the story mean to you? What did you learn from the story? Did the story add anything new to the topic of discussion? How has this study enriched your life?

Our teaching story concerns a boy who decided at an early age to remain a virgin until he gets married and it worked.

Once upon a time Nathan found out that all his friends in Middle School had girl friends and were already having sex. Nathan was brought up to wait till marriage before having sex but now he feels out of place because he was the only one without a girlfriend among his friends. Meanwhile an educator came to their health class and spoke about the importance of abstinence. According to the teacher abstinence is safe because a boy won’t make a girl pregnant; no one will get sexually transmitted diseases and it helps you to concentrate on your studies instead of on sexual relationships and their psychological problems. Then the teacher advised that in order for them to be true to their choice to abstain from sex till marriage they needed to make a decision and possibly write it down and post it where you could see it. The decision could be something like this: “I have decided to abstain from sex till marriage so help me God”.  Further the teacher advised the students to join the abstinence social club and hang out with students with similar mindset. “The club will be your support group and help you to stay focused on your decision to abstain. After the lecture Nathan was reassured again to continue to abstain from sex in spite of his friends. He wrote down his decision as advised by the teacher and posted it in his room to remind him of his decision and he also became a member of the abstinence social club in school. Nathan fell in love with a girl in college through the college Abstinence club. They practiced abstinence throughout their college years, graduated with honors, got married after graduation and lived happily ever after.

Closing Meditation
The closing meditation presents the highlights of the Study.  The highlights should include among others what you have learned and what aspects of the study are worth noting. The leader or an appointed person may share the closing meditation. You may use the thoughts and information provided below but I encourage you to use the contributions of the participants and current relevant information.

Our closing meditation will concentrate on the myths and facts about virginity. The following information was taken from the Teen Health and Wellness website

Myth: If you stay a virgin too long, you won’t be able to have kids.

Fact: As long as a man is producing healthy sperm, he can fertilize a female egg. Even men well past middle age, regardless of their sexual history, can father children. Further as long as a woman is still menstruating, she has the ability to conceive a child, regardless of her sexual history. Only when a woman experiences menopause and her monthly cycle begins to come to an end—usually sometime in her forties or fifties—is she no longer able to conceive.

Myth: If you are really in love, you have to have sex.

Fact: Love does not require sex, although the two often go together. It may or may not be part of your relationship, but you can be completely in love with someone and stay a virgin.

Myth: If you want to keep your boy/girlfriend, you have to have sex with him/her.

Fact: If your relationship is that shaky, having sex will not make it better. Sex can be very complicated and cannot save a failing relationship. It can actually create more tensions in an already bad relationship.

Myth: Guys can’t wait to lose their virginity and will do it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Fact: Guys can be both filled with sexual desire and caution. Most guys, like most girls, want their first time to be special and want to lose their virginity to someone they care about. Guys can be nervous about sex and even scared to make themselves and their bodies so vulnerable to another person. Deciding to wait until they are with someone who makes them feel comfortable and reassured doesn’t make them less manly or less interested in sex. It actually makes them more responsible and mature.

Myth: If guys don’t use it, they’ll lose it.

Fact: If a guy decides not to have sex or masturbate, he will not lose the ability either to get an erection, have an orgasm, or father a child. Assuming he is in good physical health, his sexual functioning should be perfectly normal whenever he decides to begin having sex.

Myth: Guys should have sex with someone they don’t care about first, so they know what they’re doing when they make love to someone they do care about.

Fact: Having sex with someone you don’t care about probably won’t be very good sex, and you probably won’t learn very much that is worthwhile. Part of the fun of sex with someone you love and trust is helping each other figure out how to do it together and what pleases each of you. It’s okay to be a bit fumbling and have to try several times to get it right. And getting it right simply means treating each other with love and respect and helping each other feel safe and happy and satisfied. There is no one way to do things or one goal you must reach other than being safe and considerate and having fun.

You may accept gifts and donations at this time for the work you are doing. It takes effort, time and money to put the Study Program together so I encourage attendants to give. An appointed person may now pass the donation bag. The leader may bless the gifts after the donations. 

Closing Prayer
Always close your Study Program with a prayer or an affirmation. Pray for guidance and direction during the week. Pray for everyone present. The leader or an appointed person may offer the closing prayer.

You may serve refreshments after the Study. This is a time to relax and socialize. Get to know the people in the Program with you and I mean really know them well. One of the secrets of success is connection so I encourage you to know the people around you. The host may decide what to serve or he or she may ask the attendants what they want for refreshments before each Study Program.

Talent Contribution
You may now entertain the group with your talent in music, songs, dance and poetry including playing musical instruments. This is also a good time to share some Awakened Living tips for the benefit of the group. 

An International Movement known as Clean Teens, advocates sexual abstinence until marriage. Other organizations include True Love Waits (sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention) and Silver Ring Thing. One of the ways to begin your decision to respect your body is to Make Pledges to remain virgins until marriage by signing a pledge Card.

Circle of Life
The Circle of Life depicts different aspects of your life. You are at the center and the different aspects radiate outwards to form a circle as long as they are in harmony. You can pinpoint an aspect of your life at any given time and find out if you are in harmony with the rest of the circle. If an aspect needs improvement you may have an uneven circle. Your challenge then is to work on the area that needs improvement in order to keep it in harmony with the rest of the circle.

There are 12 aspects in this version of the Wheel of Life including Health, Spirituality, Family, Relationships, Education, Mission, Finances, Work, Play, Personal Development, Environment, and creativity. Take time to answer the following questions and begin to work on the areas that need improvement.

1. Are you healthy?
2. Do you have any bad habits like drinking, smoking, pornography, fast foods, etc?

1. Are you spiritual?
2. When was the last time you meditated, chanted, affirmed or prayed?

1. Do you have a family?
2. Are you happy with your spouse, children, and parents?

1. Do you have friends?
2. Are you happy with your friends, co-workers, boss?

1. Do you have a degree?
2. When was the last time you read a book?

1. Do you have a mission statement?
2. What is your life mission?

1 Are you financially stable?
2. Do you have any debts?

1. Do you have a job, career?
2. Are you happy with your job, career?

1. Do you play regularly?
2. When was the last time you played with your friends, children, spouse, parents or pet?

Personal Development
1. Do you lose your temper often?
2. When was the last time you took a class on human development?

1 Are you happy with your environment?
2. How are you reducing pollution?

1. Are you sharing your creativity?
2. When was the last time you wrote a poem, painted, sang, danced, or played a musical instrument?

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