Yvonne Orji is a 39-year-old virgin, and despite anyone else’s opinions, she’s proud of it. This week, a clip of the “Insecure” star’s appearance on Chelsea Handler’s podcast, “Dear Chelsea,” resurfaced on social media. During the Sept. 7 episode, the podcast host asked Orji, a devout Christian, if she’s still a virgin.
“I am,” Orji responded. “Baby, let me tell you, people are all like ‘Aww, Yvonne.’ No, pray for him. Whoever he is, y’all need to start praying for him because there is a lot of pent-up energy up in here with me.”
Both shocked and excited, Handler labeled Orji as “the most original guest [the show has] ever had on.” For Orji, who turns 40 in December, discussing her sexual abstinence is nothing new. Over the course of her career, the comedian and actress has been very candid about waiting until marriage to have sex.
So much so that Orji shared the rationale behind her decision in a 2017 TED Talk; having grown up in a strict Nigerian household where her parents proclaimed she could not date until she was preparing to be married, Orji originally planned to lose her virginity at 18. However, just a few months before her 18th birthday, she attended a college bible study that completely changed her perspective.
“I was never one to buckle under peer pressure, but year after year, I slowly realized that I was becoming the only member of the V-club,” she explained. “And by the time I knew it, y’all, I’d been bamboozled by Jesus. I got saved at 17. I told Him I was going to wait till 18, and He swooped in at 17, and now, 33 and still waiting. It’s all good, though. I don’t mind the wait.”
Though she’s abstaining from sex, Orji explained on the podcast that it has not interfered with her dating. In fact, she recounted having previously been in long-term relationships where sex was never on the table. However, her abstinence did make for an interesting experience when playing Molly on HBO’s “Insecure.”
“By the grace of God, we have such an open discourse on set, and I think everyone’s kind of aware — not of my limitations — but just when I see things written, I’m like, ‘I’m not familiar with this position. How is this done?’ Because my mind goes from zero to 100,” she said, per USA Today. “'[People say] for someone who hasn’t had sex, you play this character very well.’ I’m just like, ‘If you only knew.’”
Years later, Orji still stands behind her decision to wait until marriage and is very happy to do so — she even named her 2021 memoir “Bamboozled by Jesus.” And as “The Blackening” actress explained, she’s “the most ready to be in a committed relationship now that will actually last.”
“I will say,” Orji joked. “If you know any good men, Chelsea, send them my way.”
In light of the clip resurfacing, social media users have shared various opinions about the actress’ decision. While some took it as an opportunity to troll Orji and share unsolicited negative comments, others noted the double standards within the social media discourse.
“Yvonne Orji has never tried to preach about virginity to anyone; she has only talked about her own journey,” wrote one user on X (formerly known as Twitter). “I think it is quite mean-spirited to clown her for her own beliefs/choices that are not harming anyone. We talk about how people’s choices should not affect us. This is it.”
“You can defend Yvonne Orji against the hate that people are spewing at her without using it as a way to shame women who made different choices when it comes to their sexuality,” another user shared. “Both slut shaming and virgin shaming are weird [and] wrong [and] people [are] using it as an excuse to slut shame women.”
Ultimately, Orji is not trying to promote or push people into following her mindset. She’s simply sharing her journey.
“I’m open because why not? “I’m grounded in who I am,” she told People magazine about her public disclosures of abstinence. “People ask about it because they’re curious, or they may not understand. How will they ever get to understand if I don’t talk about it? I can inform your curiosity, as opposed to everyone being in the dark and just sort of creating their own narrative about it.”
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