From Our Readers
August 05, 2015 7:25 am

I’ve always been a late-bloomer. Getting my driver’s license? A whole ordeal. First kiss? Sophomore year of college, baby. Actually enjoying kissing? Late late late. So it wasn’t until a moonlit tryst on the beach that my 23-year-old self decided, alright…let’s do this. I’m gonna lose my virginity.

But this isn’t really about me – this is about writing the article I wish I’d seen. Because my worries about losing the V-card were less about sex and more about others thinking I was weird for waiting. In my eyes, I might as well have been wearing a pure white “V” pinned to my shirt in place of a scarlet letter.

So here are the five most important things I learned from being a 23-year-old virgin.

You’re really not the only one

I don’t have to throw any statistics your way showing what percentage of 20-somethings are still virgins. But one of the hardest things about being in that situation is feeling like your peer group has left you way, way behind. It’s totally not true. Because one of the most reassuring things for me – besides the fact that my spirit animal, Jess from New Girl, lost hers at 22 – was finding out that a lot of my friends were also late-bloomers, guys and girls alike. You’re not a pink unicorn in this situation. You’re just a white horse: surprising to see but not nearly as rare as it might seem.

Nobody cares. Seriously

That fateful night, as I walked with my guy-friend to the beach, I knew I had to tell him about my newbie status. Ok, just say it confidently. If you say something confidently, people just accept it. It’s like social law.

 “So, like…I don’t know if it matters…it probably doesn’t…but it might…so, um…I’ve never actually done…what we’re about to do…”

To my surprise, he laughed off my admittedly awkward reveal and very cooly said that he didn’t care about that. He reassured me through the rest of the night that if I wanted to, great; if I didn’t want to, great – he was cool with whatever. The people worth trusting with sharing your first time with and the friends you share your big virgin secret with will NOT make you feel weird for having waited. And if they do? Your virginity isn’t the problem. They are the problem.

It’s different for everyone

I will tell you that, as a girl who numbed her earlobes to get them pierced? I’m terrified of the prospect of the slightest pain. All the stories you hear about the first time being so painful were one of the reasons I waited so long. And maybe going in with that mindset actually helped, because it wasn’t nearly as horrific as the legends foretold. In fact, it was totally different. Because, just like everything else, sex depends on the person and the circumstances. If you’re with someone you trust and are attracted to for your first time? That helps immensely.

“Waiting Until You’re Ready” is a real thing

I wasn’t waving around a brass knuckle of purity rings – just because I waited to have sex didn’t mean I didn’t think about it. A lot. And I’ll be honest; I wasn’t exactly lacking in options. But just because you desire something doesn’t mean you’re ready for it. And I was not ready for sex.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lose opportunities through waiting. My intimate fear of intimacy made a few of my intense college flirtationships nothing more than “could have beens” and “ones that got away.” But I don’t regret it any more, because the fact is – I wasn’t ready. I knew I was ready when my desire to have sex with someone I trusted and was attracted to outweighed my anxieties about it.

It can be empowering to wait

Society makes the female body into a commodity – an object with expectations projected upon it regarding everything from childbirth to sexual freedom to appearance. This is your body, the only one ya got. When and with whom you decide to share it with is your choice and is far from weakness. It’s strength. Take it from the 23-year-old virgin.

Carlyn Hill graduated from Indiana University in 2013 with a degree in Psychology and Telecommunications. She is currently using her Psych degree as a coffee coaster while working as a freelance writer, graphic designer, and podcaster in Chicago. Her writing has been featured on screenmag.comthesixthirty.comblackgirlnerds.com, and you can hear her sensual voice nerding out about Game of Thrones on the “You Got GoT” podcast. When she’s not writing, you can find her in her cave of a room with her boyfriend, Netflix. 

[Image via iStock]

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