When it comes to the recent invention of the concept of boyfriend, the most absurd incarnation of the concept is the form nearly all modern conservative Christians eagerly embrace; the celibate boyfriend. The near universal and enthusiastic acceptance of this idea by Christians is fascinating because it is entirely unbiblical. Christians seem to have convinced themselves that it is biblical however, since it doesn’t involve sex. With their adoption of the celibate boyfriend template, the new devout Christian path to marriage typically looks like:
The chaste boyfriend offers virginal (or “re”virginal) Christian women two of the three benefits boyfriends provide to their nonvirginal peers. While they aren’t getting sex, they receive the romance/love as well as the status which comes with having a boyfriend. Interestingly this new creation is the perfect opposite of another recent invention, the friend with benefits. While friends with benefits receive sex without love, romance, or the status which comes with investment, celibate boyfriends get to offer love and investment without receiving sex.
Not surprisingly most men aren’t anxious to sign up for such an arrangement. This is the subject of periodic shaming and hand wringing, as we’ve seen recently with the media coverage of Olympic runner Lolo Jones. The headline by People tells us: Olympian Lolo Jones: Being a Virgin Hinders Finding a Boyfriend. Likewise CBS has a story titled Lolo Jones Admits Trouble Keeping Boyfriends Because of her Virginity. Note the shaming offered at the very end of the clip:
Interestingly Lolo never actually uses the term boyfriend in the interview, so it isn’t clear if this is actually what she is looking for. From the short soundbite it sounds like she may instead be looking for a husband.
Either way this leaves the question; why would men want to sign up for the role of celibate boyfriend? This is a role which requires the man to be exclusive to the woman without receiving sex or a promise of marriage, and it isn’t even biblical.