From Our Readers
May 04, 2016 10:00 am
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So, I’m about to open up about something I don’t normally advertise to the world. But I feel that it’s important for people in my position to start to out ourselves, so that we can start normalizing our choices and not let it be such A THING. What do I mean by people in my position? People who haven’t had sex, not necessarily because of a conscious choice NOT to (i.e. religious or moral reasons), but just because we haven’t. We exist, and it’s not that weird.

I don’t actually like the term “virgin.” Assigning a label to those of us who haven’t had sex just further turns the fact that we haven’t had sex into a thing.

I realize that not everyone would think that not having had sex at the age of 30 is such a big deal, but I’ve met many a person who have been baffled by this concept. I will admit that throughout my 20s, once in a while I would casually mention to men in different social settings that I hadn’t had sex. I think I craved the “Really? That’s surprising” responses — they were a welcome ego boost, because somehow, they made me feel different. But then, it would always get weird somewhere along the way. People wanted to hear all the reasons why I hadn’t had sex yet, or they were so fascinated that it made me feel like a medical anomaly of some sort. Why hadn’t it happened? Was I afraid? Was I saving myself for marriage? The thing that blew my mind was that when I would tell people I had never had a boyfriend, they were amused. But when I added that I had never had sex, they were completely shocked. To them, that was the weirder fact of the two.

In my later 20s, as I was getting more interested in “getting out there,” dating-wise, once in a while I’d have a friend or acquaintance tell me that at my age, guys would “expect certain things.” This idea freaked me out. Needless to say, I stopped talking about my “virgin” status because I realized that many people thought of it as a thing.

When I do ask myself why it hasn’t happened yet, I see that there are some contributing factors.

In high school, I ran with a “good girl” crowd. We weren’t swearing off dating or sex, it just didn’t really cross our minds. High school was an all-out effort to get into good colleges. There wasn’t a lot of pressure in my school to have sex — at least not in my friend groups. Nothing like the the kind of stuff I saw in movies, no pressure to do it to be cool. I imagine that a lot of young people have to deal with the pressure of what their peers will think about the status of their virginity, and that a lot of adults had awkward and not necessarily empowering first-time sexual experiences. I recognize that my story is a little unique in that sense, and I think there should be zero shame in each individual’s first sexual experiences regardless of what they were/are.

My time in college was spent fantasizing about the guys in the a cappella groups, studying, and eating Ben and Jerry’s Americone Dream. Most of us just didn’t feel the urge to branch out sex-wise, and only a couple of us were meeting amazing guys and falling for them.<

In addition, I was raised Catholic, and even though my family was pretty relaxed about it, I took what I was being taught in church and Catechism class very seriously. Sex outside of marriage, masturbation, and even “impure thoughts” were things that required you to go confess your sins. And in my terrified mind, if you did any of these things and then died in a freak accident not having confessed your sins to a priest, it was too late. Eternal hellfire for you! Needless to say, I was convinced that curiosity about my sexuality was a sin, so I avoided it. This implanted the idea in my mind that sex was ultimately something shameful unless you had a ring on your finger. I definitely believed throughout my teen years that I would save myself for marriage. Later I sort of changed my mind on that, but there was still a lingering feeling that sex involved shame.

Lastly, I had chronic generalized anxiety for most of my life that prevented me from being super excited about the prospect of getting sexy with someone.

I think all of these factors somewhat sheltered me from the concept of sexuality in general. Like, to this day I’m still learning things I never knew about. Let’s just say there’s a lot I never knew about my body until my mid-20s.

So, yeah, while there are some factors that I think have contributed to the fact that I haven’t had sex yet, I think the important thing is that the “why” doesn’t matter. I haven’t met anyone yet that I want to share that with, and I think that’s okay no matter who you are or what your age is. I also don’t think it’s weird if you’re having sex on the reg with different people, as long as it’s what you want and you’re being safe. The bottom line is, DO YOU.

I think as a culture, we need to start having respect for everyone’s individual sexual journey. Some people are more experienced than you might expect and some, less. Whether you’re young, older, straight, gay, a woman, a man, or gender-nonconforming, I don’t think there should be a “norm.” Our experiences are all valid. It’s all okay, and none of it is weird.

I hope the young people of today aren’t feeling pressure to have sex, regardless of what their peers might be saying.  I hope that they know that the choice of when to have sex should be 100% up to them and them alone. Now that I’ve hit 30 and the anxiety of my younger days has diminished significantly, I’m starting to get out there more than ever in the dating scene. Because I want to. And I’m having fun. I’m being safe and doing what I want. Maybe I’ll meet someone I’ll feel comfortable enough to want to have sex with casually — maybe I won’t want to until I’ve met the person I want to spend my life with. But what matters is that it’s my choice, my story. I get to write it, and you get to write yours.

Susie Gutierrez is a life coach, Entertainer, writer, student of A Course in Miracles, childcare provider, and possibility fairy. You can “Like” her on Facebook or follow her on Instagram and on Snapchat: smguti.