I’ve decided to talk about my vagina. I dub this post, “the vagina tales.” Not “Veggie Tales” but “Vagina Tales.” Or, perhaps, the lack thereof.
Made you click didn’t I? How’s that for click bait? 😉
This is the first in a two-part series on virginity and purity culture. In this post, I talk about my virginity. My next post will tackle purity culture in Christianity. If there is one thing I enjoy and am comfortable reading about, learning about or talking about (ironically), it’s sex. So here goes.
Seriously though, I’m purposely making this very long to deter you all from reading right through to the end. This is more of an exploratory essay on my virginity, and perhaps one narrative (my story) in a larger conversation on why many people are not having sex in general. My apologies in advance if it’s not as coherent as I wanted it to be.
But yes. My vagina. And virginity. Not that anyone ever asked me about my virginity. I just feel like talking about it. There comes a time when taking certain stances in one’s life starts to feel awkward. I’m here to say — fellow adult virgins, you are not alone!
I imagine that there may be a few reactions to this post and this post may elicit the following responses:
“Wait… Simone’s a virgin?” (said with genuine interest)
“Oh. Simone’s a virgin. But it’s…Simone. That’s not encouraging at all.”
“Ok…. So… Simone’s a virgin. That’s not news. That’s not surprising. Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Ok… so… Simone’s a virgin. Who the f*ck cares? Why can’t she just keep some things to herself. Whatever happened to privacy?” (In response to this question I say, if you don’t care, you might as well stop reading now. Why did you even click? Curiosity killed the cat. I would hate to bore you with all of the salacious details of the sex I’m not having.).
I am also aware that this post may serve as the biggest cock block of my life to date (as if I had secret admirers contemplating me as a possible sexual exploit and now all of a sudden they will decide to leave me the heck alone. Because now they know it’s official. I’m not putting out.)
But I write anyways. It’s not like I have anything to lose, like this post will make things worse for me sexually (I ain’t getting any in the first place) or that this post will somehow push me over the threshold into the negative. You can’t go from zero sex to negative sex.
(But you can become a virgin in perpetuity… hmm.)
I’m not ashamed because I’m not ashamed about any of the choices I make concerning myself. I am confident that this was/is the right choice for me, and that I will/I already have benefitted from it. I also know that being a virgin does not necessarily mean that I am not sexually attractive or have some sort of sexual hangup or anxiety. It just means that I’ve never been with a guy… sexually. It’s more of a fact than a prophecy, problem, prescription or diagnosis.
Anyways, because I have no shame, and I don’t care if my boss sees this (heyyyy!) I’ve decided to write about my virginity.
Being a virgin at the age of 29 is not hard. At least, not for me. It’s just awkward.
And no one talks about being a virgin into one’s late 20s or 30s. We all like to stay the hell away from awkward conversations, or awkward aspects of our lives. Well, everyone except me.
But first — a story! When my nephew was a baby, I was changing my his diapers and my brother said, “Awww… this is the first time Simone’s ever seen a dick!” (and I quote). And the thing is, he was right. It was the first time… Scratch that — I used to give my brother his baths when he was younger, so he needs to shut up.
As you know, in one of my most recent articles, I mentioned that I went for a physical lately. Towards the end of my visit, just after the part when he had informed me that I was morbidly obese, my doctor mentioned that pap smears are recommended every three years for those who are sexually active and for everyone over the age of 21 regardless of sexual history. He then asked me if I was sexually active.
“No.” I replied.
My saving grace was his tone. It sounded like he just needed confirmation and clarity from me, as opposed to incredulity and curiosity.
I replied, “No. Never.” It’s not the first time that I have been asked this question. Above a certain age doctors will ask you. I will tell you however, that with each passing year, that question never ceases to make me feel increasingly embarrassed.
I started to wonder: At what point does this become odd? At what point should I be embarrassed? At what point should I just lie so that I can salvage a sliver of dignity?
While there are — conceivably — many virgins in their late twenties, I realize that people like me are increasingly rare into their thirties. I have friends my age who are pregnant with their third child, and I’m still trying to figure out if me and a male friend are having coffee, or if we’re having coffee. The chasm and discrepancy in experience seems frightening at times and sometimes feels like I’m being left behind.
I wonder when my response to that pap smear question will become odd or unbelievable. Perhaps it already is. Part of me has resolved that if I am still a virgin at age 40 and that I am asked about it that I would just lie.
To say that you are a virgin in your late twenties even if by choice, sometimes feels like covering up for some latent deficiency. You wonder what your interlocutor is thinking. (Are you being judged?) And then you wonder why that is (why you are a virgin) and then you feel waves of guilt or shame or being pathetic.
The only man who has ever seen my vagina is my family doctor… and I suppose my dad when I was a baby/toddler.
I live an almost ascetic, abstemious life.
So, why am I a virgin?
I know that I’m attractive, or at least attractive enough. I have come to believe that any and all women, just by sheer virtue of being a woman, are attractive to at least one other person somewhere in this great big universe. I know, for a fact, that a variety of men (and perhaps even some women) have been, or currently are, attracted to me. I have a great personality, and I’m charming and charismatic and warm and intelligent and kind and loving and open and I don’t look half bad. I’m sufficiently convinced that I am attractive. To quote Amy Schumer, I could catch a dick if I wanted to.
I’m not a virgin because I’m fat. Arguably, I’m not fat, but insofar as I am, there are plenty of men (and women) who will have sex with fat ladies. Fat women have sex.
Thus, while, admittedly I haven’t had a long queue of men try to get me into bed (thankfully — I can do without the ulterior motives), in a society in which it doesn’t take much to find someone willing to have no-strings-attached sex with you, no matter your attractiveness, my virginity is arguably very much a choice.
Moreover, my virginity is not an indictment against my sexuality. I’m not asexual or disinterested in sex. I don’t think virginity is synonymous with asexuality or lack of sexual desirability. I think you can be virginal and sexy, and I think that you can be a virgin and sexual (although, perhaps not sexually active). The vast majority of virgins are still sexual beings after all. I also think there are ways of expressing sexuality not just through sex — although sex is often the height/pinnacle of sexual expression.
There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing that I’m hiding. I do not have a third boob. I don’t look horrible naked. There is nothing more to the story than just… I’m a virgin. I’m a proud card-carrying member of the V club. No play for my va-jay-jay. No petting of this pussy. *Sigh* My poor unpenetrated pussy (I like alliteration).
One major, or perhaps the major reason why I’m a virgin is because I’m single, and I’ve always been single, and when you’ve always been single, it’s really easy to be a virgin. I’ve never been in a relationship, and thus I’ve never had to fight against sexual temptation or found myself in compromising situations.
Basically, I’m a virgin because I’m not married.
I am also a virgin largely because I was taught that sex before marriage (aka premarital sex) is a sin. Luckily, I wasn’t taught that sex was bad. I was taught that sex is good — very, very good — just in the right context. As I’ve gotten older however, I’ve learned to derive my moral compass more so from my relationship with Jesus as opposed to church doctrine (yes, there is/can be a difference between not doing something because the church tells you not to do it, and not doing something because your relationship with God personally convicts you not to do it). I’m a virgin because my religious experience (and life experience — more about that later) have convinced me that sex is better (i.e. safer) within the confines of a marital relationship. I believe that the Proverbs 31 woman “does her husband good all the days of her life.” And I don’t see how sleeping with a variety of men before marriage will do myself or my future husband any real good (more about this later).
If I were to be completely honest however (which, as you know, is what this blog is all about), me being a virgin is less about Jesus and more about me and what I want for myself.
…That sounded really bad, so let me explain.
I do believe that the Bible encourages sex within a marital relationship. I think Jesus wants the best for me and I do want to please Him with my life. When Potiphar’s wife was trying to seduce Joseph, the first thing Joseph said was, “How can I do this against my God?” The fact that I want to please God should be my greatest deterrent to premarital sex and my greatest motivator to keep myself chaste. Unfortunately, however, it’s not the main thing that pushes me to be abstinent. Ideally, I think it should be though, and I’ll work on that. The fact is though, I know me, and I know that if I’m with a man who I find incredibly sexually attractive and I’m horny, the fact that Jesus disapproves of premarital sex probably won’t keep my legs closed.
Making God happy has to be a concrete conviction and not an abstract notion in order to motivate one to remain celibate. That’s not to say that that truth doesn’t work for some people in keeping them chaste, but it would have to be far more than a mere theoretical, abstract thought for it to have any sway or significance in one’s life. This truth would have to be concretely real for you. You would, like Daniel, have to purpose in your heart beforehand. If it’s just an abstract notion and not a deep-rooted conviction, it won’t hold up.
And while that truth is real and concrete for me, it’s not enough and has never been my primary motivator.
My primary motivator has been how sex would affect me and the goals and hopes I have for myself.
I could do without the soul ties, drama, and heartache that sex before marriage often brings (that’s not to say that sex within marriage doesn’t bring heartache, but sex outside of marriage tends to be laden with drama that I don’t have time for).
I’m (finally) at a point in my life where I have a good job with a good income, paid leave and benefits, so that if I were to get pregnant, while unwanted/unexpected, it would not be the end of the world. But there’s still so much I want to do before I become committed to becoming someone’s mother, and sex (with the opposite gender) almost always presents the possibility of pregnancy (I don’t care what contraceptives are used — I’ve read too many stories of miraculous, “impossible”, unexpected, surprise conceptions). Being a virgin ensures that I can dedicate my time to my dreams, before I dedicate my time to those of another human being.
I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS). One of the symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods (oligomenorrhea) or absent periods (amenorrhea), which means I don’t ovulate regularly. But because I’m a virgin, when I miss a period, I’ve never had to worry about being pregnant because whenever I’ve been late I know it’s hormonal and not impregnation (praise God). If I had added being sexually active to already irregular menses, I would probably have had frequent pregnancy scares since my period is frequently late (it’s getting better because I’m taking better care of myself now than in years past). I can’t live like that, always wondering if I’m pregnant when I’m late.
Being a virgin means that I know that I probably don’t have an STD. I’m not wondering if I have anything laying dormant. I don’t have to worry about flare-ups. I come into any relationship “clean”.
The Bible says that Adam “knew” Eve, and if you think of it, sex (within the context of a relationship) is often the apex/height in truly knowing someone.
Having sex with me means that you will get you know me intimately. You’ll know me on a level that no one else knows. You’ll get to know how I (really) look (without Spanx/girdle/shapewear/bra to prop up and hoist my pendulous boobies, legs splayed in various fun but perhaps compromising positions), how I smell, how I feel (how I taste?). You’ll get to know my sexual responses and my breathing patterns and my preferences. You’ll get to know what turns me on (or off). You’ll look into my eyes and you’ll peer into my soul. I once heard someone say that intimacy means “into-me-see.” Intimacy allows one to see into me.
So for me, if I can help it, I just don’t want to be that intimate — share that level of intimacy — with multiple people — with anyone other than my husband. That’s all. I don’t like knowing that there are multiple people walking this earth who know me like that. To me, intimacy isn’t intimacy if it’s something that has been shared with other people. Or, at least, it’s not as intimate an encounter as it could have been — as it was meant to be.
Whether sex is about getting off, helping my partner get off, trying to make a baby or just making love — I don’t find the idea of doing that with more than one person — being that revealing — appealing.
I also want to feel safe when I finally decide to have sex. I know relationships are fickle, and I know that many guys often have a rolodex of lyrics to whisper in your ear when they want to get into your panties. But a committed relationship (i.e. ideally one that is legally binding, like marriage) lets me know or at least gives me an indication of where I stand with the guy before I give myself to him sexually. If I have sex with some random dude, I don’t know if he will stick around nor do I have (legally binding) evidence of his commitment. If I only have sex with my husband, I already know upfront what his intentions are, and his intentions are to stay. I know that we’re on the same page.
I always think about this scene from Think Like a Man:
And I know I don’t want to be that girl. I don’t want to roll over the next morning and see the bed empty — me thinking that this was forever all the while he knew it was only for a night. That would really, really hurt me. I’d feel like a complete fool. I’d feel used.
But if I have sex in the context of marriage, I’d like to think it would lessen the chances of that happening. And perhaps my marriage would create a space of security — a safe space — and I’d feel safe and secure, and I would be able to let go, relax (orgasm!) and enjoy sexual intimacy more, instead of having constant niggling thoughts and secretly wondering if he will leave me when he finishes.
And I don’t want the guilt. Because I have been taught and I actually believe that pre-marital sex is not a good idea, I would feel somewhat guilty if I engaged in it. If I do something I believe is wrong, even though “everyone else is doing it” it will probably be accompanied by some level of guilt. I don’t want to feel guilty just for 3 mins (or even 30 mins) of pleasure. Plus, for many people, good sex takes time. It takes many people, such as the sexually inexperienced, time to get good at sex. Thus one night stands don’t hold any great appeal for me.
I will also argue that I’m a virgin because of the realities of contemporary society (at least in the Western world). Many men in long-term, non-marital relationships are happy with the way things are. Marriage, in their minds, won’t change anything. And what do I mean by the way things are? I mean “We already live together (presumably having sex), we already share bills and rent.” Meaning that there could perhaps be an impetus to get married had you not already been living together and sharing bills and paying rent (or something about cows and getting milk free). Once upon a time, the only socially acceptable way for men to get sex was to get married. I live in a society in which that impetus is somewhat muted because sex is, arguably, easily (or more easily) accessible (for most). So, I would argue that part of the reason I am still a virgin — although perhaps a very small part of the reason — is that if I won’t put out, men know that they can probably find someone who will. Many of them will eventually be able to find someone who will sleep with them and move in with them and share the bills and rent, many of whom do not require marriage as a prerequisite like I do. And thus, regarding those for whom companionship is secondary to sex, within the context of the many options available, I am not worth waiting for.
That said, to be clear, I’m not a virgin because my church tells me to be one.
If you are a virgin because people/church tell you that you should and you’re not convicted yourself, it’s not gonna hold up or help you when things get hot and heavy during your Netflix and chill. When your mind’s telling you no but your body, your body is telling you yeahhh (to quote R. Kelly), your conviction over the matter will make the difference. If you have not chosen it for yourself, however, you may become resentful, or regret a decision that you never actually made yourself.
I have read stories of people who regret being a virgin until married, or regret being abstinent, and they often say that they were abstinent because their church taught them to be abstinent. They never made that decision on their own. I truly believe that you will always have issues if certain decisions were foisted upon you and if you didn’t think and decide for yourself. Because virginity is my choice, and it’s an active choice, it makes it hard to resent others for a choice I have made. I might have regrets, but those regrets are my own and they are regrets I can deal with because I own my decisions and their corollary consequences.
I don’t feel that I am better than anyone else because I’m a virgin. I am not abstinent because I believe it will guarantee me an amazing sex life after marriage, like many Christians believe. Finally being with someone “worth the wait” can be entirely separate or does not necessarily mean/connote mind-blowing sex.
I don’t believe I am guaranteed a great sex life on account of my abstinence. I know that I can “be a good girl” and wait, and get married, and still get divorced. But I also I don’t want to be among those who say “I hated that I waited.”
Many Christians seem to believe that if you do the right thing then good is promised to you or good will come to you and God will bless you. But we see over and over in the Bible that that is not necessarily the case (more often than not it is, but often enough it is not). Life is unfair. We ought to live holy lives because we love Jesus, and it is lovely to love Him, but not to get any reward (although oftentimes, good deeds are rewarded). So just because I live an abstinent life does not entitle me to a future of mind-blowing, toe-curling sex.
In fact, I have reason to believe that my first time will be somewhat uncomfortable/painful, awkward, messy, but hopefully filled with humor and giggles (and maybe the odd queef or fart). And I’ll be a complete and total noob, and I probably won’t know what to do with myself or with all of him and his… ummm… junk, but I’d like to think that if I’m with the right person (aka a supportive partner) he’ll be gentle and patient and he’ll help put me at ease and make it all a little less awkward. At least, that’s how I imagine it. I anticipate that it will take some practice and some getting used to until we find our groove.
And then again, maybe it won’t.
I also don’t expect to marry a virgin. If I found another virgin that would be cool. We can fumble along together. I will admit though that there’s also something sexually attractive about a man who already knows what he’s doing.
I’ve also never felt like giving it up and getting it over with just to feel “normal.” I am completely normal. I know that I am “normal.” What is “normal” anyways? Everyone has their own normal. I am normal. I do want sex. I just would much rather have it in the right context.
Disclaimer: I may be a virgin today and not a virgin tomorrow. Life is unpredictable. This situation can change completely without a moment’s notice.
But if I have my way, I’ve just always felt that I deserve to have sex with someone who I actually like/love and who truly loves me and cares for my well-being, and who is in it for the long-haul. I haven’t found that person. That’s why I’m a virgin. And God willing (Lord help me!) I’ll stay that way ’til I meet the right one.
I realize that writing about being a virgin at age 29 is still less embarrassing than writing about it at age 40. So when I’m 40, and if I’m still a virgin, you can anticipate another blog post and we’ll see if things have changed and if I’m singing a different tune.
I don’t know if I will sing a different tune if I find myself at age 35, 45 or 65 and still a virgin. The older one gets, the more awkward it becomes. And let’s face it — awkwardness is painful. Awkwardness means alienation, which can often translate into isolation and loneliness. That’s painful. I might just die a virgin (Lawwwd…). Because I can’t predict the future, I cannot promise that I will be a virgin or will hold fast to the same aforementioned tenets and beliefs. I hope I will, but I know that I am always evolving. And horniness is real.
I’ve been asked if I would have sex if I did meet a guy and we were on our way to getting married. I kinda feel like if I did suddenly find myself in that situation tomorrow, if I waited this long and all of this time, I can wait another few months. I’d just feel guilty having sex before marriage, even if I did it with someone who I was about to marry, simply because I’d be going against my own personal convictions. This is also why I don’t believe in engagements of longer than one year. I’m not 21 — an age at which a long engagement may be appropriate. I’m 29. I’m old enough. I don’t need to grow up and mature and so I don’t need a long engagement to do so. I want a short engagement — 6 months to a year — just enough time to plan the wedding, so that I can shorten the ongoing battle of sexual temptation with my future spouse. It’s like constantly having chocolate around you that you can’t touch but you really, really want because you really, really like chocolate (or at least you know you will really, really like the chocolate). Willpower is a finite resource, and although I thank God for the keeping of the Holy Spirit, I’m not about setting myself up for failure. I choose the path of least resistance. For that reason, I’d make the engagement as short as practicable. The quicker we can get married and have this thing called sex, the better.
For me, it’s not a matter of ‘trying it before you buy it.” For me, it’s once you’ve found it for real, for real, lock that thing down and buy it as soon as possible so you can try it. I realize it’s a leap of faith to just hope that sex will work out once I’m married, but it’s a leap I’m willing to take. We’d obviously discuss our sexual histories and expectations during our engagement so we can be going into this with eyes relatively wide open. I don’t disagree with some forms of physical contact before marriage, which might provide some clues as to our married life. If we had sex before marriage or after marriage and it was bad (perhaps partly due to my or even his inexperience), I should hope it wouldn’t change a thing, and I should hope he would still marry me, even if the sex was “meh.” There is more to marriage than great sex, and even good marriages have blah sex or okay sex or the sex ebbs and flows (maybe even more ebbing than flowing). I also believe that if you have a willing partner, sex is one of those things that can be worked on. So even if we got married and I realized that we were somewhat sexually incompatible, I’m hoping that all of the other reasons I why married him — his kindness, his ability to communicate and compromise, his patience, his giving and understanding nature — and all of the (similar) reasons he married me would kick in and we would be able to address the sex issue and arrive at common ground. Plus, there are no shortage of books and therapists who can help. I should hope that if I am with the right person for me, this is something that we can work on and overcome in the aims that we will both be able to “come” — together (you see what I did there? I’m so punny). 🙂
I also think that abstinence before marriage shows the extent of your physical restraint and self discipline. I remember when I heard Eric Thomas speak a while back at a church event when he was in Toronto, and, if you know Eric, he’s the realest person out there. He told the story about how he and his future wife (at the time) were messing around while they were dating. When they got married, their past sexual relationship actually became an issue. I think his constant travelling became an issue, and Eric tried to assure his wife that marital unfaithfulness on his part was not an option. “But you were okay with having sex with me before you were married,” she replied. In other words, “You didn’t exhibit restraint then. How do I know you’ll exhibit restraint now?” Just something to think about.
Yes, monogamy and virginity until marriage means that I won’t have something to compare it to:
But that doesn’t bother me. I have also not (at least, not at the moment of writing) felt the need to have a collection of sexual experiences with a variety of men. I would be lying if believed that this would always be the case or could not ever be otherwise, but there is something to be said about being satisfied with one person.
Anyways, I write this because there seems to be huge swaths of people in their late 20s or 30s, or even 40s, who are ashamed of being virgins — ashamed of their lack of sexual experience. There also seem to be so many people so eager to shed the label of “virgin.” I think about Nicole Hardy or Elna Baker (before sex and after sex), as examples. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll end up like them — leave the resolve behind, give up and just have sex already.
Here’s the thing: it’s not a big deal. Sex is a big deal and then again it isn’t. It’s a big deal when you’re not having it. But when you do have it, it’s significance is somewhat tempered.
Just like we need to avoid slut-shaming, we need to avoid prude-shaming. We need to get to the point as a culture where we respect the sexual choices of everyone, even if we don’t understand or agree with them. Part of being sex positive is being respectful of the sexual histories (or lack thereof) of everyone.
So, if you are a virgin past age 12 or into your 20s or 30s, it’s okay. There are many of us. There is a legion of 20 something and 30 something virgins somewhere out there in the ether (or at least on the internet).
Even though it may, at times, feel like there’s only 17 of us worldwide, in the immortal words of Michael Jackson, you are not alone.
Welcome to the club. Just make sure you’re a virgin because you want to and because it’s your choice. That’s all. ❤
(And here’s a cool video I found by Yvonne Orji from Insecure):
Originally published at simonesamuels.wordpress.com on July 6, 2017.