secondary virginity
( vur.JIN.uh.tee) n. The state or condition achieved by a sexually active person who abstains from sex for a period of time, especially prior to getting married.
secondary virgin n.

Example Citation:
Since July 26, three months to the day before she will say, "I do," she has been abstaining from sex with her live-in fiance, David Crawford, and plans to continue until after they are married. . . . These days, a period of "secondary virginity," as it is sometimes called, is increasingly the norm for many brides-to-be across the South, an accommodation to the modern reality of premarital sex and the traditional disapproval of it in the Bible Belt.
—Elizabeth Hayt, "It's Never Too Late To Be a Virgin," The New York Times, August 4, 2002

Earliest Citation:
She said the healthiest procedure for not-yet-married Christian couples is to relish their desire for each other, to hold the line at passionate kissing, and to avoid situations where they might cross that line. . . . ''They need to know that there is 'secondary virginity'."
—Karen Abbott, "Waiting for sex challenges couples," Denver Rocky Mountain News, July 8, 1995

The phrase itself is much older, and in prior usage it was aimed primarily at previously sexually-active teenagers who had become abstainers. Here's the earliest citation for this sense:

The Teen-Aid curriculum, says Benn, includes a presentation on the concept of secondary virginity for the adolescent who has at one time been sexually active.
—Meg Grant, "Sex manual pushes idea that it's okay to abstain," The Seattle Times, August 29, 1985

The apparent popularity of today's phrase is a bit puzzling, mostly because of the linguistic baggage that comes with the "secondary" adjective. It not only gives the phrase a strong bureaucratic smell, but it brings the whole concept down a notch or two since the word is used to describe something of lesser importance or value. I see how that fits the idea, but an alternative such as new virginity (which has made a few appearances over the years; so have neo-virginity, born-again virginity, and retroactive virginity.) sounds snappier and more slogan-friendly.

Related Words: