I'm a virgin by choice, but it's not something I really like talking about. I'm not ashamed of being a virgin - as I said, I choose to be - but I'm tired of the shock on people's faces when I say so, their exclamations of, "Why?!", the disbelief in their voice. Immediately after the shock, I can tell from their faces, without me having said another word yet, their judgemental thoughts. We live in a society where being a virgin past your late teens is unacceptable. If you're not having sex as a teenager, you're weird. You're also "frigid". That, or no-one wants you, because you're so ugly. Or you're a lesbian*. Maybe an ugly lesbian.
There is so much pressure to lose your virginity at a young age - not necessarily because you want to, but because you don't want do deal with all the crap from others, you don't want to be that girl. Nor do you want to be the last virgin in a group of experienced friends. It's also some kind of stamp of approval: I have had sex, so I'm wanted, ergo I am attractive. Also, no teenage boy** is going to stick around if you don't "put out". A lot of girls will have sex not for their own pleasure, but to please their sexual partner. I remember my best mate telling me he was on the bus once when he overheard two young teenage girls talking. One said to the other, "He'll like me if I give him a blow job." Does that not make you feel so unbelievably sad?
Not only should you not be a virgin, but you should also have a certain level of sexual experience. It almost seems like guys feel it's a given that you would be happy to perform certain sexual acts, or have sex in certain positions. I think this is probably down to porn; these acts, these positions are just what's done. Is there really any conversation any more between sexual partners - at any age - about what they're both comfortable and happy with, and what they're not?
Back to me. I am a virgin because, for me, sex has to mean something. As a teenager, I wasn't as interested in boys as my friends were; I fancied boys, but I didn't want to kiss them, let alone anything else. It just wasn't what I wanted, what I was ready for. And I wasn't going to be dictated to, and forced into having sex with someone when I didn't want to, because it was uncool to be a virgin. I feel the same way now; I will not have sex if I'm not ready for it.
As things stand now, I wouldn't say I'm not ready to have sex in general, but as sex must mean something to me, there has to be that relationship there; there needs to be trust, and while I don't think I necessarily have to be in love with the guy, there has to be feelings involved, from both of us. I am not in a relationship, and so I've not had sex. Perhaps if I had been a number of years ago, I would no longer be a virgin.
I have no problem with other people having casual sex, but that's just not for me. The idea of a meaningless one night stand is a massive turn off. There is nothing about the idea that appeals to me. I did flirt with the idea of casual sex once. As a child, I was brought up being told that sex is something that happens between two people when they love each other. I know this isn't the case now for everyone, but it's an idea that stuck with me. I wondered if how I felt about sex was down to how I'd been brought up. Does it have to mean something because that's what I actually want, or does it have to mean something because I'm a "good" girl, and that's what I was brought up to believe? So when a really hot guy made it pretty clear all he was interested in was sex, I did think about it. Did I want to have sex with him? He definitely turned me on, and I enjoyed thinking about it... but in the end, the thought of actually having sex with him, when we meant nothing to each other, just left me feeling cold. So this isn't down to how I was brought up, but what I actually feel.
And so far, it's not been much of a problem. I've had two sexual experiences. One wasn't so great; the guy tried to lead us in a certain direction, and when I stopped him, he responded with, "I didn't think so." And although he acted like it wasn't a problem, he continued to try several times more, and I kept having to stop him. He was a bit of a dick, and was quite selfish, to the point where I wasn't being turned on by what he was doing, and I seriously worried I was one of those people who wouldn't enjoy sex.
The second time was a million times better. The guy didn't have any problems whatsoever with me being a virgin. He was perfectly happy to go at my pace, and would check I was happy with and enjoying what was happening, and ask if he could do this or do that. He stopped when I asked him to, and didn't go further than I wanted. He was ok with me not being ready to for certain things. He never rushed me, or pressured me, or expected anything more than what I was comfortable with. He was patient and unselfish. He made it all about me and my enjoyment. And it was amazing.
I do sometimes worry that I'm too old to still be a virgin, that no guy my own age would be willing to wait for me when he could quite easily get his leg over with someone else, whether in or out of a relationship. But I won't be made to feel I must have sex with a future boyfriend in order to get him to stay. Because of my second sexual experience, I already know it's not a problem for some.
I will not be told when to have sex. This is my body, and I get to choose what I do with it, when, and with whom.
And so do you. Your body - and your virginity - belongs to you. Everyone's experiences will be different, there's no right or wrong, it's about what you're comfortable with. We don't have to do anything we don't want to. We should not feel pressured into anything. And there's nothing wrong with exercising your right to say, "No."
There is absolutely no shame in being a virgin.
*I'm sure we all know that being a lesbian is not a bad thing. These are all the cruel things I heard shouted out in the school playground from immature teenagers, mainly boys. This isn't what I think.
**I'm not trying to be heteronormative. This post is based on my personal experience and that of those I knew when I was a teen.
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