Heather Bellamy spoke with Carrie Lloyd

Carrie Lloyd
Carrie Lloyd

Carrie Lloyd is a journalist, relationship coach and author of 'The Virgin Monologues' and Heather Bellamy spoke with her about her book, dating and love.

Heather: So, you've got your new book out, called The Virgin Monologues. What's it about?

Carrie: It's a sort of guide to healthy dating and a look at the trials and tribulations of Christian dating. It's quite autobiographical. I just thought that not many people are talking about those trials and tribulations in Christian dating. So we decided to look at a new take on how to do relationships within church in the twenty-first century, when we are surrounded by so many opposing ideas of how to do relationships well.

Heather: Before we get into more about that, I want to talk about you and your beginnings. You say the book is autobiographical and in the book you said you had 'Bible-smuggling' parents. Can you tell us about that? What sort of things did you experience growing up?

Carrie: My first memory was when I was about four years of age and my Dad was put at gunpoint on a German border because he'd just been smuggling some Bibles into East Germany at the time. But they were kind of rock 'n' roll, my parents, in a beautiful way, but they were both Baptist ministers. I'd been brought up in a church, the only kid - my parents took a long time to try and have children, so I was the only one to make it to full-term pregnancy. I had a very idyllic childhood. I had lots of fun growing up in the church, but I developed this bizarre religious mentality around myself and didn't quite get the meaning of faith, or a relationship with God. It wasn't built in by my parents, I taught it myself, it's quite an interesting journey.

My father died when I was about 23 and so about two years after that I decided to become an atheist because I'd lost about four other relatives and friends to tragedy and I'd become fed up and because I didn't have this good relationship with the Lord in the first place. I became a very angry atheist and went through that journey through my twenties. Then I came back to Christianity probably around about the time I was 27.

I was still working in advertising at the time and in the film industry, so I was working in a pretty decadent industry in itself, with a lot of fun and creativity, but my lifestyle was starting to go in one direction and the industry lifestyle was going in a different direction. By the time I hit about 30/31 I decided to come back to purity and save myself until marriage one more time. So even as a Christian I was still justifying why it was okay to be having sex before marriage and going on that journey of what do I really feel about that. By the time I got to about 31, I decided to become pure and actually started doing something about it.

Then I moved over to California and did three years at a church over there, Northern California, studying ministry and became more involved in writing and got the book deal through my blog, 'Her Glass Slipper' that was all about a very honest look at how we were doing Christian dating.

Heather: So how would you define purity?

Carrie: Purity would be a clean way of living. Essentially it's this form of celibacy isn't it and abstinence from sexual activity? But you do have people that are doing that and may not necessarily have a very pure heart in other areas. So purity for me is a sense of the tenderness of your heart and honour and how we treat each other in our lives. I think the more I was growing up in the idea of becoming sexually abstinent again, it was more about honouring myself and honouring each other and not being as vulnerable as I was being and exceeding the level of trust and intimacy this side of covenant. So even when people are married, obviously they're into sexual relationships at that point, but there's still an element of purity in our hearts. So purity I use as a sort of covering for a lot of things; how we're honouring each other, how we're looking after ourselves and loving ourselves and our neighbours.

Heather: So what have been some of your highs and lows in dating?

Carrie: I was pretty teased when I was growing up because I was one of the last virgins left at my school by the time we left at 18. I write a little bit about that growing up. It was fine until a certain point and then all of sudden everyone was talking about finding their men and boys and I was just interested in ice skating before this point. Then all of a sudden I had to be interested in boys and I didn't really know how to take it. I was interested in boys, but didn't really want to sexually experiment with them like all of my friends were. So that was quite a humorous journey and I didn't take it to heart too much.

I got to University and all of my friends were gay, so I was kind of out in the clear. I didn't get bullied or peer pressured into having to have sex with anyone, so I was having a great time at University with me and all my gay mates. Then by the time I came out into the big wide world I was slowly wondering if I was even gonna find anyone that would wait for me this side of marriage and that tied in with the loss of my Dad and not having any value poured into me anymore. I didn't really know why I was holding out anymore because I'd lost my faith and I needed a better reason than, 'God tells you not to do it'. I found a guy that decided he was gonna wait for me, so that was the deciding factor in me losing my virginity to him. It was a form of rebellion. It wasn't like I fell into temptation. It was just a form of, there's no reason why I'm holding out. I'd lost the hope in someone actually being a Christian or anything like that.

I had three long-term sexual relationships in my twenties and all three were ones I was thinking of getting married to, but never obviously found myself in commitment with them for one reason or another and the heartbreak was pretty harsh. I wasn't regretting having sex when I was in a relationship with them, but I was certainly regretting having sex when I was breaking up with them. You hear that with so many of my friends that've got married, even if they're atheists, probably saying y'know what, I really would have preferred just to have left it to my current husband.