I once had a friend who was a firm believer in astrology, so she was proud to inform me that I am a Virgo since I was born on the 22nd of September (which is also the fictional birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, so shout out to them); the symbol for Virgo is the maiden, or virgin, and I don’t think that she realized how accurate that is. Yes, I am a 26-year-old virgin (now the Hobbit reference makes sense, right?); I’m sure questions are running through your mind about how this could come about, and I hope to give some insight into the choices I have made throughout my life, some of which may surprise you. Don’t worry, the featured image is simply an allusion to the most famous of virgins; there won’t be any preaching in this post.
I was raised in a Catholic household, and went through all the religious schooling required to become confirmed within the church, so these values were built into the foundation of my childhood. Sex was always something that a loving, married couple did so that they could have children. It was described as something wonderful, something transcendent; something that was worth abstaining from and waiting for. I believed this and it kept me from getting into situations where any lack of inhibition may have ended with me doing something I would come to regret. It wasn’t something I really thought about until that hormone-fueled transformation that began shortly before entering high school.
I was part of a tight-knit group of friends in high school and, as each of them lost their virginity respectively, they would regale the rest of us with details in celebration. One even went so far as to show us the scratch marks on his back from his venture into coital revelry. It wasn’t long before I was the last one in the group, but there was never any pressure to make sure I got laid, or anything like that; though, this could be chalked up to them only worrying about their own chances with girls. I must admit that, for a time, it did lead me to judge some of my friends; I was initially proud of the fact that though my friends were losing their virginity in high school, I retained mine partly because of my strong religious beliefs. I did, however, have a falling out with my faith after the death of my grandfather, and this caused me to wonder about the core pillars upon which my beliefs were founded.
I began to feel like I was being left behind by my more sexually cavalier friends and that there was something wrong with me since I couldn’t even make a relationship work, let alone get to the point where a girl would be comfortable having sex with me. I knew my inherent sense of morality and respect for women would keep me from doing anything unseemly in the pursuit of sex, and I have never come to regret this. Consent was taught to me at a young age, whether it be in terms of getting the “okay” to go to a friend’s house and confirming with my parents or in the pursuit of a drunken kiss from a girl I liked (true story: we were drunk, I asked if I could, she said no, end of story. This is still something that embarrasses me, but what’s the point of this post if not to be honest?); no means no and this is something that I have not only believed, but acted with in mind.
The importance of proving your manhood didn’t end in high school; I was roommates with some guys who were a couple of years younger than me in college, and the entire first year we lived together was spent trying to help one of them lose his virginity. He pursued it with such ferocity that I soon lost respect for him; he wasn’t looking for a relationship or something meaningful, he just wanted to bed someone and be able to say he had done so. I wouldn’t even have been able to follow his example if I had wanted to because I made some bad decisions regarding how I spent my time during my first semester at college, and as a result had to spend the remainder of my college career digging myself out of an academic hole of my own devising. I worked part-time, went to school full-time, and spent any other time in the library studying, so the idea of having a relationship, let alone losing my virginity, soon fell to the bottom of my list of priorities.
It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I started to think about life after school and decided to create an online dating profile. This served me better because I didn’t like the hookup culture of the local bar scene, and it helped me get to know people before putting the time into meeting up with them. However, as can happen, sex and sexuality sometimes come up in conversation and, having accepted the fact that I am a virgin and that I wasn’t going to go have sex just to throw off the label, I have never lied when asked. This often led to expressions of disbelief, regret at their own loss of virginity and the circumstances surrounding it, or genuine laughter.
One woman I was talking to asked me if I was serious, and when I said yes, she said,” Not even with someone you didn’t really know?!” This, right here, was what I disliked about dating in general; the idea that my worth was next to none because I wasn’t experienced in this one aspect of a relationship and there was no point in dating me because even if we did get that far, I would probably not live up to their expectations. And that’s fine; sex, clearly, isn’t the most important thing to me. When looking for a relationship, I try to think in the long-term; looks don’t last, physical sex appeal is fleeting, and though I do enjoy physicality in my relationships while I’m young, that doesn’t mean it is the core of what a relationship should be.
However, I do realize that not all women feel this way, and most them fall into this group. Many of those to whom I have revealed my virginity (that sounds even dirtier than I thought) understood and asked respectful questions, but it still occurs to me that I must have some kind of explanation as to why I haven’t had sex yet. Men flaunt their sexual exploits and women are told to keep them quiet; when a man is quiet about his sex life, his sexual orientation is suspect in a negative way (which is ridiculous. Yes, people have wrongly assumed I’m gay, as if that would mean I would automatically not be a virgin if I wasn’t straight) and when a woman is open about hers, she is called a slut (or worse) and shamed. Sure, these societal expectations are slowly being supplanted, but they still exist. People expect me to have a reason ready as to why I am a virgin, so I suppose I can set the record straight here: I am not gay, I am not a virgin for religious regions (anymore), I simply haven’t had sex yet and I’m willing to wait for when it is time.
I realize this is information a lot of people would probably never want to know about me, but I have found the assumption of my lack of virginity has become so common that I felt it was worth discussing because I know I can’t be the only one. I’m not here to judge anyone who has had or is having sex; I’m not jealous of you, I’m not better than you, I am simply on a different path. This post isn’t a plea for attention or sympathy, I just know that though I feel I’m at odds with society, I’m not the only guy to reach his twenties with his V-card safely in his possession. I don’t get uncomfortable when people discuss sex with me, or around me, I just can’t really relate. Perhaps I’m a romantic that is holding onto the ideal that was taught to me as a boy, perhaps I’m a prude who just doesn’t feel comfortable with his sexuality despite being closer to 30 than 20; all I know is this is where I am right now, and that’s okay.