Mickle managed to make it through high school, virginity intact, without a purity ring.
“The ‘no sex' of youth groups didn't keep me from having sex,” she said. “The practicality is what makes me hold on to my virginity.
“My first serious boyfriend had a list, and I did not want to be on it.”
Mickle said she may have even understood the consequences of her actions, despite the fog of teenhood.
“When you're a teen, you're not gonna fully understand everything, and you're gonna make less informed decisions,” she said. “It would've been devastating if it had just happened.”
Sure enough, Mickle's purity ring-free hand confirms that a promise to herself means more than anything.
“Those girls are pressured into purity rings, as if God won't love them anymore,” she said, “but we had girls getting pregnant in our church all the time.”
Just to be clear, Mickle said she's not waiting for anything.
“When the time comes, I'm totally on board,” she said. “I mean, I don't want some guy to be waiting for me. Get a life.”
Mickle may have made it through the hormone-crazed, teenage mating ground regret-free, but she still entertains the thought/fear that she could be single forever. For her, finding things in life that she can be passionate about supersedes any sexual drive.
“People define themselves with sex — how much or how little they have,” she said. “But I was raised to define myself by what kind of person I am.”