From Our Readers The 24-Year-Old Virgin From Our Readers

Sex. The topic that dictates the plotline of every TV show, be the driving force behind all movies and be the hidden meaning behind every song lyric innuendo. What used to be a topic that was only acceptable to whisper about in the privacy of your own home is now part of our everyday interactions. Ever catch an episode of Sex and the City? Ever listen to a rap song or secretly play Boyz II Men every night? Ever put on an action flick because you know the hero is going to have a steamy make-out sesh just as the villain starts raining bullets down on his ass? Now let me pose a different sort of question: if we are so aware of everything even remotely involved with sex, what does it mean to be a virgin anymore?

Yes, I said it. VIRGIN. It used to be “shocking” to discover anyone was having sex at all, and now it’s “shocking” to discover anyone isn’t having sex. How many twenty-somethings do you know who are virgins? None? One? That crazy kid who never leaves his dorm room long enough to have a social interaction that could lead to, well, any real human contact? Well let me squash that stereotype for you [I’m sure he left his dorm room once to buy more Ramen and a backup power cord for his backup laptop]. We’re out there. And we’re not all ultra-Christian, ultra-Mormon, really ultra-religious anything. We’re not ultra-conservative, have ultra-overbearing parents, ultra-sheltered anythings. In fact, if you met some of us on the street or [gasp!] at a party, you’d be hard-pressed to suspect a thing. You see, we don’t actually have flashing neon signs that say VIRGIN ALERT over our heads.

We’re not even all prudes. Some of us have friends of the opposite sex. Some of us have been kissed a few times. Some of us get wasted and dance on tables and make-out with the dashing British boy from Intro to Psych. Some of us haven’t spent the night in our own beds after a party. Some of us have been in long-term relationships. Some of us have done things a lady doesn’t mention in mixed company.

So what exactly is stopping us from sealing the deal? Now, before you start calling me super traditional, wait-until-I’m-married-before-I-even-think-about-wearing-anything-but-white, born and bred virgin, let me begin by saying that is far from the truth. I personally don’t see the point in waiting until your wedding night to be left with what can only be a very awkward encounter with the person you just pledged the rest of your life to. Yikes. There is a good chance that I might never get married. And not in an “I’m going to die an old maid” type of not married, but I don’t feel it is a critical part of my life necessary for happiness with the poor guy I choose to spend my dying days with.

What is it then? Is there something overly righteous about us that we haven’t succumbed to the peer pressure of society? If you’re going for shock-value, try walking into a room full of your peers and shouting SUCK IT WORLD, I’M A VIRGIN as loud as humanly possible. I haven’t tried it, but I can only imagine what would follow [in the very least some brave soul should eek out a that’s what she said joke]. I guarantee you’d be treated differently afterwards. There would be the pitiers [when you’re a virgin you get a free-pass on making up words]: “Oh you poor precious thing! Don’t you worry child, someone will deflower you someday.” And the freaked out: “Yeah, so when I asked you on that date the other day, I forgot I had to see my aunt’s best friend’s nephew’s brother-in-law’s cousin’s kid in her second grade play debut….” And don’t forget those who will find words to be too advanced for their level of understanding: “I mean, it’s no big deal…. Um… Yeah… I mean, I guess it’s kind of weird… but no, it’s cool….” Um, okay. What you’re really all thinking [besides those actually ultra-conservative and/or religious folk who are probably patting you vigorously on the back right now and inviting you to make a presentation on the art of celibacy to their ultra-conservative and/or religious club next Thursday]: “What’s wrong with her? That girl is such a prude.”

Now what I don’t understand is why I’m supposed to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the fact that I’m a virgin. If it’s not such a big deal to lose your virginity, then why is it such a big deal to still be a virgin? So what if I haven’t had a guy’s charms keep me enthralled long enough to pop my cherry? So what if I don’t have to worry about renewing my birth control just in case the boy I’m flirting with on Saturday night doesn’t bring a condom? I don’t think I should be looked at any differently because I haven’t indulged in the pleasures of a one-night stand with the hot guy from the bar or had a romantic stay at a B&B with a cute little four-posted bed covered in rose petals.

We are so inundated with the idea of sex that we pretty much just assume everyone is constantly locked in the thralls of ecstasy. Even doctors are skeptical of our virgin-ness. Like I’m lying to her when she asks my favourite question: “Are you sexually active?” When I respond with a dignified, “No,” she immediately replies with a skeptical, “Have you ever been?”  Two minutes later I still find myself peeing in a cup so she can tell me that I am, in fact, not pregnant.  Thank goodness, I was really worried that my sprained ankle was the result of a divine pregnancy.

When did it happen that being a virgin was no longer something considered to be, if not something you particularly care about yourself, something commendable? Is there an age that being a virgin goes from something we are respected for to something we should hide? So if we adhere to society’s absurd rules, we end up awkwardly clinging to our virginity under the veil of being sexually active. This, in my experience, usually only saddles you with the label “tease,” which only seems to be slightly more encouraging than the derogative undertones the word “virgin” seems to have developed. Announcing your virginity leads people to think you will be like that clingy crazy girl Vince Vaughn shags in Wedding Crashers or your greatest goal is to immortalize Steve Carrell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

So why do virgins get such a bad rap? Is it that despite this open dialogue we think we have about sex, we’re all still a little embarrassed about it and therefore blame the “pure” for making us feel just a little bit of shame for exercising our carnal desires? Is everyone really as comfortable talking about it as they claim to be? Well, hate to break the news, but us virgins are not perfect. And we’re not any better than you simply because we somehow managed to build up a stronghold of will power against our sexual impulses [fun fact: even virgins have sex drives]. But you’re also not any better than us simply because you have experienced life’s greatest pleasure outside of childbirth [the jury is still out on that one being a remotely enjoyable experience, but rumor has it it’s not quite as trauma-inducing as the Miracle of Life video I passed out during in ninth grade].

For the record, it’s not like I planned to still be a virgin at this point in my life. In fact, I too would like to experience life’s second greatest pleasure [not to totally ditch the Virgins United club]. But I think that part of being a strong, independent woman in this evolving world is that not settling for less than I think I deserve. I think I deserve my first time to be with someone who loves me. Someone who respects me. Someone who gets where I’ve been and where I’m going. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I don’t think I should be ashamed that I haven’t felt strongly enough about someone to hand over the keys of my chastity belt yet. I don’t think I should have my virginity be labeled as “baggage.” I don’t think I should feel awkward about the fact that when I do lose my virginity, it’ll probably be a colossal hot mess of inexperienced fail. And I’m okay with that. Incidentally, dropping the fact that your V-card has had exactly zero transactions is a great way to weed out all the guys who were only signing up for that one-time big purchase. And to the guys [and gals!] that aren’t tripping over themselves running for the door, I tip my hat to you.

So while I applaud my friends that have followed Samantha’s weaving path through endless bedrooms in The City, I will wait. And there is no shame in waiting.

By Holly V. Furman and Kayla Jackson.

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  1. I totally get that you think (feel) that you deserve that your first time should be with someone who loves you, but chances are that this will not happen! :( Ideally, it really should be with someone who gets you (and appreciates it!), but many of us are forced into the dilemma of trying to accept living our lives with someone who doesn’t get us (with the pain that follows from that), or spending our lives alone. Since virginity is a virtue going extinct, we cannot expect to find someone who shares our virtue. So please be open to the idea that your future spouse does not share your virtue, or else you might wake up one day at the age of 35 (closing in on becoming a 40 year old virgin yourself) and realizing that you have become unable to accept either solutions to the above-mentioned dilemma…

  2. Love this! Good for you. Well written, super funny… and probably a lot more important than most people will give this post credit for. Hurray!

    xo Hurray Kimmay

  3. “there is no shame in waiting” – Couldn’t agree more. As someone who saw a friend get pregnant in high school and as a result decided to wait until after graduation for someone special, it was interesting seeing similar reactions to my status at the time. The guys who volunteered “to help me out” and the guys who immediately ran for the hills. In the end, it was possible to share that experience with someone in a caring relationship, which was worth waiting for. There should never be shame associated with waiting until you personally feel the time is right.

  4. WOW! you are amazing. I totally agree with each word written here.
    I’m an eighteen year old virgin from Israel. Luckily, here most girls lose their V-cards at about 17 or 18, not 14-16. Like you, I believe that my first time should happen with someone who respects and loves me, and is aware for my needs. I will not surrender to any kind of peer pressure, beacuse the fruit tastes sweeter for those who wait.
    You made me feel more comfortable and confident about being a virgin, you a completely right by saying that waiting means we are more strong and independent as persons. We all know this is a man’s world – which gives virgin women at any age the privilege to make a feminist statement by not hooking up and approve the ‘fact’ that men can have it all. BEING A VIRGIN DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE PRUDE – IT MEANS THAT YOU ARE A LADY.

  5. Love this! The last paragraph is exactly how I felt when I was a virgin well after my friends weren’t. But I am the only person I know who, when telling their “first time” story, isn’t full of regret. My first time was lovely and I’m glad it went down like that.

  6. I applaud you, girl. You think EXACTLY like I do. But thankfully I never had a bad experience when telling people I was virgin. In fact, there was this time I was in a bar with the people from my college who I had just met and when I told them I was virgin, one of the guys started applauding me, hahaha! I’m kinda proud of being a 21-year-old-virgin, because it means that I can control my own life and don’t care about what other people think. I think you sexual life have to concern only you (or your partner) and the same way I don’t care if my friends or the people around me are virgins or not, I also don’t want them to care about my virginity. (The hard thing is to explain to your 1 year bf why you still don’t feel like losing your virginity with him).

  7. I have actually yelled out into a bar that I’m a virgin(I am, proud of it) and that they should all be jealous. Yes, I was drunk. No, I don’t have any regrets.

  8. This is a very honest article and I agree with a lot of what it says, but as the writer herself states, it is written by someone with limited experience. Non-virgins remember what it was like to be virgins, while the opposite is plainly not possible. I have never heard a sexually active person talking about the shame he or she feels about his or her impurity. I dont think being a virgin is “commendable” but neither is being sexually active. They are just different states of being which should have no bearing on your value as a person. I think for your own future wellbeing, its good to wait until youre with someone you trust. I dont think your first time should be placed on a pedestal, but you shouldnt set yourself up for trauma, either. Safety first, for your heart and for your body.

  9. LOVED this. I was a virgin until my wedding night and yet I’m afraid to tell people that because they are SO JUDGEMENTAL about it!

  10. I feel like the attitude of this article is implying that NOT being a virgin is a negative thing… I haven’t been a virgin since high school, and my life isn’t in utter shambles because of it. It really opens up adult relationships, and teaches you A LOT about the other person (more than you can figure out by going to dinner and watching movies with them). Yeah, it is a personal decision, and it’s totally fine to wait, I just don’t like the implication that I was a naive teenage girl for not waiting.

  11. I personally think…It should be not about beeing proud or beeing ashamed to be virgin. It is simply personal thing. Nobody sees, that someone is male or female virgin…it is hidden mystery. And we all have right to keep that mystery for us. Sure, for women is probably more difficult….but still – virginity is strictly personal thing – everyone says we live in free society and we have right to choose. And we should listen to our brain (or soul)…to our friends, family….but only we decide about it and it is our responsibility and our right. Sure, many of us will make mistake, but it is normal, we are people and people simply do that mistakes…but really important is matter of decision…I decide -> I am responsible for it…not someone else, not society, not my lover…I decided. And it is not so much different with me for example as a male…it is the same. I am not animal and I want to be close to person, that I truly love…I do not need sexidol. It would be too little for me…I want person, that I can give myself to her and she is giving her to me. Simple :) but sure…is not so easy to find.

  12. You have every right to wait, just as you have every right NOT to wait. It’s your body, your choice. No one should be teased or criticized based on his or her personal choice to have sex or not to have sex. Period.

  13. All I can say is ‘THANK YOU.’
    Finally, someone says what I’ve been trying to explain to every person who calls me a prude and references the 40yr old virgin.
    I’m 18 and proud to be a virgin.
    My mother had me when she was 17 and ended up marrying the dude; Who, just happened to be a grade A jerk who eventually took off. That was one of the major things that told me i was in no major hurry to venture down that path yet.
    The other was seeing girls i had grown up with be ‘deflowered’ by the boy they were so certain was the love of their life…at 16.
    Most of those girls ended up pregnant and single, or heartbroken and single.

    I’m not going to lie– I’ve experienced a few relationships now that have ended solely for the reason that I refused to have sex with them. And quite a few of them took to spreading rumors about me throughout the high-school until eventually I became the undesirable #1.

    I’m not comfortable with my body yet, and I’m not completely okay with myself yet. How can I allow someone in in such an intimate and personal way when I can’t even be okay with myself yet?

    I’m not a prude, an innocent church girl, or even a ‘lesbian’ (as I’ve been called so many times in the last two years). I’m just simply waiting for that person who will not violate me simply because he’s horny. I’m waiting for that person who makes me feel beautiful, confident and comfortable with being completely intimate.

    It’s comforting to know that there’s other people out there who have the same mindset…and that I’m not the weird girl who’s probably destined to become the female version of the 40yr old Virgin.

  14. I waited ’til I was 24, because I found the person you describe. I’m proud to say that I’m the only one of my friends whose first time experience isn’t chaotic and awkward, it was really amazing! It was totally worth the wait (:

  15. I can only say thanks for writing this article. Being 18 and living in times like these, you can tell things are changing, constantly. From a very small circle of 7 closest friends, I have been the only one that hasn’t had a boyfriend yet [I did spent my entire High School years surrounded by books, so I guess that didn't help either] so, sometimes you found yourself asking questions like “How come no guy likes me?” or “What if no guy likes me?”, so I always joke around with my family saying “I’ll die alone, surrounded by cats” (it’s kinda funny because I’m allergic so I can’t have any cats).
    More than lose your virginity, it’s being able for you, teenage girl or guy, to realize who are you losing it with- someone who cares about you, someone who respects you, and someone who loves you. Right now, the only thing I know for sure is that “good things come for those who wait”, and if waiting is what it takes, I’ll be happy to do so.

  16. Thank you.
    Just never met anyone I felt strongly enough about, and haven’t wanted to compromise. Nothing weirder than that.
    Don’t feel so left out after seeing all these comments!
    p.s. 31.

  17. Wow…. the comment on here that said virgins are missing out on a “fundamental life experience” makes me kind of want to barf. I feel like you have a well-meaning point, but how rude. Are you missing out on a “fundamental life experience” if you’re 17 and a virgin? Are you only missing out if you’re 25? What if you’re 14, but you want to experience your fundamental life experiences really fast? This needs to be up to the individual, and that statement shows an extreme lack of respect for those who are waiting, for whatever reason.

    I appreciate seeing this topic being covered, because (to the writers) as you can see from the responses, this is not actually some extremely rare occurrence– look at all the responses of women mid-twenties and beyond claiming their virginity, perhaps in a more powerful way than they might have if you guys hadn’t spoken up! So good for you :)

    There are , however, a lot of comments knocking the writers POV to an extreme that is occasionally offensive— to those commenters, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Holly and Kayla are perpetuating false things or being unfairly presumptuous. The fact is, there ARE certain implications of virginity past the age of 21. (plus this is one article and it’s not fair to give them the WHOLE responsibility of sharing the spectrum of this subject. this is an opinion piece and this is their opinion.)

    When to have sex is a personal decision and should not be the subject of scrutiny, but guess what– it is. And that should be talked about. To the writers, to the readers, all of your experiences in this area are relevant- so let’s not make this about making one person right and another wrong.

    On a related note, I was babysitting and saw the show “Wendell and Vinnie” this month and a 20-something girl was dumping a bracelet from an ex-boyfriend. She said “he gave this to me on our 25th date, right after we…”
    and the older character made a BLATANT comment on her moving slow. 25 dates, at 2 dates a week is 3 months.

    You all can have sex on your first date if that is what you want, but as far as perpetuating unhealthy ideas, for those who choose to wait- and for the sake of the kids (who are the main audience of the show) that was super uncool. 3 months is what Nickelodeon perpetuates as “WAITING” ???? Give me a break.

  18. I appreciate seeing this topic being covered, because (to the writers) as you can see from the responses, this is not actually some extremely rare occurrence– look at all the responses of women mid-twenties and beyond claiming their virginity, perhaps in a more powerful way than they might have if you guys hadn’t spoken up! So good for you :)

    There are , however, a lot of comments knocking the writers POV to an extreme that is occasionally offensive— to those commenters, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Holly and Kayla are perpetuating false things or being unfairly presumptuous. The fact is, there ARE certain implications of virginity past the age of 21. (plus this is one article and it’s not fair to give them the WHOLE responsibility of sharing the spectrum of this subject. this is an opinion piece and this is their opinion.)

    When to have sex is a personal decision and should not be the subject of scrutiny, but guess what– it is. And that should be talked about. To the writers, to the readers, all of your experiences in this area are relevant- so let’s not make this about making one person right and another wrong.

    On a related note, I was babysitting and saw the show “Wendell and Vinnie” this month and a 20-something girl was dumping a bracelet from an ex-boyfriend. She said “he gave this to me on our 25th date, right after we…”
    and the older character made a BLATANT comment on her moving slow. 25 dates, at 2 dates a week is 3 months.

    You all can have sex on your first date if that is what you want, but as far as perpetuating unhealthy ideas, for those who choose to wait- and for the sake of the kids (who are the main audience of the show) that was super uncool. 3 months is what Nickelodeon perpetuates as “WAITING” ???? Give me a break.

  19. Thank you so much for this. I’m a 21 year old virgin and people always think I’m crazy. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  20. Great article!!! As someone who is waiting for marriage, I am a 32 year old virgin and proud of it!

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