As I sat in the dark living room of an unfamiliar apartment playing “Kings Cup” with a bunch of kids I did not know, I had to think of a question fast. The Jack, or the “Never Have I Ever” card had been drawn, and I wanted to get everyone out so I wouldn’t have to drink on that turn. If you haven’t played this game, I suggest it as the fastest way to get plowed during your college experience. The rules vary by what part of the country you are from, though the game has the ultimate end: drunk college students. I guess you could say I play the “Western PA” way.
I had to think of a question ASAP. I had already drank way too Smirnoff and could barely focus on the cup in my hand or the three fingers I was holding up. But what have I never done? When I said it, I was not prepared for the stares that followed :
“Never have I ever had sex.”
First, there was an awkward silence. That silence was followed by giggles. Then, everyone looked at each other until finally someone said, “Oh my God. You can’t be serious? Why? What’s your problem? Is it because you are Catholic?”
That moment in my life is when I quickly realized that your sex life, or lack thereof, was somehow tied to who you were as a person.
As an experiment, I decided that I would say that at every college party from there forward just to see people’s reactions. And I found that while some people applauded my decision to be a virgin, most people laughed at my expense.
Some of the worst things I heard:
“Wow. I feel really sorry for you.”
“Are you just a prude?”
“Don’t you kiss either?”
“You’ll never find a boyfriend.”
Some of the nice things I heard:
“That is amazing. I wish I had waited.”
“Someone will be really lucky someday.”
Throughout the whole experiment, I wondered why a person’s sex life is constantly some indication of who they are as a person. Why because I waited was I automatically a prude? Why exactly did people think they needed to feel sorry for me?
Then I realized that people’s assumptions on who I was based off my sex life was not a reflection of who I was, but a reflection of who they were. More often than not, I was being called a prude by guys. These same guys were the ones having sex with a different girl every night. I also was “felt sorry for” by girls who slept with a lot of men, or girls who were very judgmental–perhaps they could not relate to my lifestyle.
I found through my experience that the girls that specifically targeted me for my virginity were girls that had lost their virginity and deeply regretted it. I also found that the guys that made fun of me for being a virgin were the guys that had slept around and did not want to take the time to get to know me. I had one guy flirt with me all night until he found out I was a virgin. He then walked away.
That’s his prerogative, but it was a measure of his character. And how I reacted was a measure of mine.
Those people could have just as easily been supportive. They could have even related, as others did. Whether it was the girl who regretted her decision because the guy ended up leaving her right after it happened, or the guy that girls constantly put into the friend zone, people who found a way to relate to me built me up and did not feel sorry for me. They saw me as one of them; they saw me as a human being with feelings. Other people did not. I stuck to my guns when it came to my sexuality, and knowing that others supported me made it a little bit easier to face the people that tried to bring me down.
I do not advocate being a virgin forever, nor do I advocate sleeping with various people. I advocate doing what is right for you as a person. I am not made for sleeping with multiple people. For me, the act of having sex is pointless if you don’t love the person. That is why I never had sex in college or high school. I was not in love. Call it a cliche if you will, but I wanted my first time to be special and with someone who cared about you as much as I cared about them. I lost my virginity to my current boyfriend right before I turned 22.
I understand that some people just have sex to have sex, and that is okay too. Sex is fun and it feels good (and if it doesn’t, you may not be doing it right, or you may have a health problem). Strictly speaking, it is a great stress reliever and pain reliever. It boosts your immunity system. Whether you sleep with one person or multiple people, physically, sex is just all-around good for your health.
But if you decide that not having sex is better for your mental health, as I did for many years, do that. Embrace yourself in whichever sexuality path you choose.
Live life. Go out and live. Have sex as often as you want. Wait until the time is right for you, not for anyone else. And if people do not like it…
It’s their problem, not yours.
[Contributed by Alexandria Prescott]