I started this blog as a forum to predominantly discuss the issues, thoughts, experiences, feelings, truths and fallacies that affect women. It is my hope and intent that the topics I elect to highlight bring clarity, understanding, humor and even at times, that “ah ha” moment we have all had. In this quest, at times, I will behave as any MC worth their salt should – step up to the mic, make the introduction and stand aside for the speaker. I do that now: “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my honor to present a very personal snapshot in the life of a young lady who, in sharing a bit of herself, has placed an inordinate amount of trust in us…and her womanhood. I thank her”.
I, as a twenty six year old virgin, was not unique; but I certainly wasn’t the norm. To get past the age of twenty, seventeen even, and never have sex seems a difficult concept for many people to understand. So, after a while I stopped telling people. When they asked (and I never understood why as soon as you hit sixteen people feel the need to ask), I’d just find a way not to respond.
Not having sex that young was a choice; no boy was worth my time, or the death I’d face if my parents knew I had a boyfriend. But when I finally did get into relationships, it was less my choice and more fear’s choice. You see the thing about getting older with your virginity, it starts to feel like it serves a purpose; like your kidneys or lungs, it feels like a vital organ. You start to think about how you’d feel without it or that you’ll notice that it isn’t there anymore; and for some reason that was a little scary for me. The other fear as I got older with no sexual experience was wondering if I’ll know what to do. Will I be someone’s bad experience? Will all the effort and patience of dealing with a virgin be worth it for my partner? Will I enjoy it? Then, there’s the obvious fear of the pain.
With my previous relationships those fears magnified. My virginity seemed to be the biggest elephant in the room. It was only when I met my current boyfriend that I realised that that was not how it was supposed to feel. It was not my job to know what to do to overcome the fears, to know how to get myself relaxed, or to figure out what else to try if something didn’t work. I was the inexperienced one; my exes were not. But in hindsight I realise that it had a lot to do with the kind of men they were. One wanted a mother more than a girlfriend and the other wanted a woman to make him feel like he was most important man in the world (although there was clearly not enough a woman could do to accomplish that). Those relationships were not right; and definitely not the right setting for losing my virginity.
My current boyfriend was a whole new experience for me. Of course he was very surprised to find out I was a virgin at my age. When I told him, we were out having drinks; you know, just because it was Tuesday and that topic came up. For a while I’d been trying to figure out how to tell him. I was nervous that when he found out, he’d change his mind about getting to know me. His initial reaction was laughter, he thought I was joking. When it sunk in that I was serious, he said he respected me for it. I had a very mixed reaction to his response – I liked him a little bit more in that moment and I immediately started preparing myself for the “but…” that never came. I thought he was sure to say that he could not be with a virgin, but instead he told me that my revelation made him realise that he really liked me, because he didn’t get the urge to run away from me and my virginity.
I could babble for pages about what makes him different from my exes and why I was able to jump that ‘hurdle’ with him and not the others. But I’m going to pick the things most important this story:
- We have great communication. He is human and un-met needs do frustrate. But he never communicated that frustration as though I was doing him mankind’s greatest injustice. And I am always able to express my fears or concerns and know that they will be heard and considered.
- He understood our roles in this process. I was, and still am, the inexperienced student; he is the teacher. He took charge and did not expect me to be an expert. He took things step by step, always making sure that I was comfortable and willing.
- He is very patient with me and my “newness”. Like really, extremely patient. I’m naturally a coward. Add to that a whole lot of time passing, allowing my fears to grow until the fear itself started to feel like a familiar friend that I didn’t know how I would function without. That does not lend itself to relaxing, which is very necessary for this kind of thing. His patience was, and still is, a surprise to me; but it was needed for me to get comfortable and to build trust.
- He never treated me like a virgin. I never realised that I felt that my virginity was a status that dictated my behaviour and what I allowed myself to feel, until he made me see that that’s what I was doing. I’m not sure he was conscious of it either. In hindsight though, I know my exes encouraged that feeling. But, and this is the biggest thing that got me over the “hump”, my boyfriend made me know that it was okay to feel sexy and wanted. My virginity did not have to dictate what I was allowed to feel. It was okay to acknowledge that I felt attracted to him physically without it meaning that I had to have sex to prove it. I was allowed to freely express myself knowing that he doesn’t think I’m a tease and without feeling like I’ll be guilted into trying to “just take it”.
I was asked to write this because curious minds wanted to know why it took me so long, given the fact that I previously had boyfriends and opportunity. I was excited to do it, but nervous because writing always reveals things to me that I was not aware I was thinking or feeling. I wasn’t sure what I’d uncover in doing this. I’m glad I did it. I know that some girls remain virgins by choice and are not afraid for when the time comes. But maybe someone in a situation somewhat resembling mine might read this and realise that she’s not a freak because she’s a virgin past a certain age, or because she’s nervous, even scared, about losing her virginity.
So, that was my story as simple and honest as I could put it without over-sharing. After all, a woman must keep some things for herself right?