So it may be Valentine’s Week, but here on 30 Dates it’s #SexWeek. Which means there’s another V word we’re concerned about … Virginity.
For a lot of us in our twenties and thirties, it’s probably not something we’ve considered for some time, however Virginity, the physical act of being a virgin, and even the word Virgin appear to be a multi-layered mystery, which an anonymous dater would like to explore for the blog.
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx
I know what you’re thinking.
How can a virgin talk about sex? Surely that’s like asking a vegetarian their opinion on the best way to eat bacon?
(Extra crispy on french toast, with bananas, maple syrup and a bit of whipped cream, in case you were wondering.) (I’m an opinionated vegetarian, ok?)
But wait! Before you wander off, probably mumbling something about ‘waiting being a fool’s game’…
I’ve done my research (isn’t wikipedia amazing?) so I know what it’s all about. How it all works and stuff. And I might have a different angle to bring to the sex discussion.
My research began with the basics: what exactly is a virgin?
Like most classifications – rich/poor, depressed/happy, thin/obese – the one of Virgin/Non-Virgin seems to me to be a tad simplistic. Can you really split the world in two, with the Virgin People on one side and the Non-Virgin People on the other?
I suspect it’s probably more accurate to think of virginity on a gradual scale:
virgin – “technically virgin” – not so virgin – experienced
(with many, maybe 50, shades of grey in between of course)
Most people would agree that a virgin is someone who’s not had sex. Simple. We’re all on the same page, right? Wrong! As I discovered on wikipedia, we all have different ideas about what ‘having sex’ means. They’ve done studies. Asking people what they consider to be essential ingredients for sex. And many bits and pieces are up for debate: bums, tongues and penises amongst them.
Did You Know…
– Homosexual couples have a different inventory of bits and pieces to heterosexual couples. Consequently, ‘losing your virginity’ for a girl who likes girls… well, that’s got to be different than for a guy who guys. Clearly!
– However many chastity pledgers may feel it in their best interests to stick to a very traditional, specific definition. Very, specific. You know, one that keeps their conscience clear. Whilst giving their boyfriends blowjobs and being fingered.
– In some parts of the world, you can lose your virginity to a tampon.
– In others, you keep it, as long as your penis withdraws before it comes. (Yes, your penis. I switched my imagined reader’s gender)
– Talking of which, many languages don’t actually have a word for a male virgin – it is seen solely as a feminine occupation!
So, taking all this into account, can I really claim to be a virgin? I’m a woman at least, so I’m scoring points in Germany. In certain cultures, further proof is required though. If, say, I went and got married in Somalia and didn’t stain the wedding night bedsheets with blood, I could be stoned to death for the crime. Due to thirty-odd years of walking around and exercising, many periods over my life and a rather painful smear test, there’s a strong chance Somalia would not get its proof.
Also, I have at times, well, gotten frisky with a lad. Hands may have wandered. Bra clasps may have come undone. But clothes below the waist (his and mine) have always stayed on, so if that’s enough to satisfy your Virgin Test, let’s roll on with the story!
I’m sure you want to know why I’m a virgin. Let’s be honest. That might be the interesting angle of this piece, not my dubious wikipedia ‘research’.
As a girl, I was painfully shy around boys, a late developer and never really into drinking. All these things were horrible social inhibitors to endure at the time. I’ll be eternally jealous of the confident, popular girls who didn’t have to cross their arms a certain way to create their breasts. In hindsight however, these social inhibitors were at least a form of protection for a virginity that I didn’t know I wanted, and have only since come to appreciate.
I grew up in a Christian household and so, although I didn’t have my own clear reasons when I was young, I understood that the adults I respected and trusted, advised to me keep sex until marriage.
As I grew older, it was a relationship with boys, not sex, that I wanted. But (being painfully shy) that was also the challenge and what I had to work hardest on. I don’t mean the status of ‘going out’. I wanted to actually relate, even on a friendship level. Especially on a friendship level. I wanted to understand them and for them to understand me. There was no way I felt like jumping into bed with some guy who didn’t even know how to talk to me. Either I’m very complicated, or I just wasn’t doing so well at this whole ‘relating’ challenge, but I got through my teens as a virgin. And then my twenties.
“There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.”
1 Corinthians 6:16, The Message
Now in my thirties, I am more sure than ever that I want to keep sex for marriage. To me, the whole point of sex is intimacy. That’s what I really want. To be totally connected and fully known by somebody. The way I see it, sex is an expression of that connection. I want them to be with me and in me and all over me. But if intimacy doesn’t exist in a relationship before and apart from the physicality, it wouldn’t strike me as a very strong connection.
I do believe sex can create intimacy. It’s been heart-wrenching to see friends in sexual relationships that break apart – the added intimacy just makes the breaking up harder and more painful, like tearing two things, that are really well joined, apart. Even our biology works like superglue in that respect, releasing emotional bonding hormones with every orgasm.
The ideal then, I decided, was simply to have sex and go on having lots of sex with that same person for ever and ever with no breaking up, happily ever after, the End.
Mmm, yea. A lofty ideal in this day and age, I hear you say! Well, maybe. If you’re trying to make it work with just anyone. But a major criteria in a potential partner for me is someone who is as committed to the idea of staying together and never breaking up as I am.
Yep, I know … still a very lofty ideal! I’m all too aware that there aren’t many of those men around, (hence I’m still a single virgin in my thirties). But what’s a life without ambition, eh?!
So, that’s my story. I’m generally wary talking about this subject. No matter how personally it’s phrased, it’s difficult not to let ‘extolling the virtues of virginity’ come across as preachy. Yet I’d be the first to encourage everyone to choose their own lives for their own reasons and I fully respect other people’s choices. I’d hate to tell someone how to live.
But, because there actually aren’t that many voices now speaking about not-having-sex (in a non-preachy, and non-Virgin School kind of way), it makes it look weird. That’s what made me want to write this.
I was hoping to show that the concept of virginity, the way we measure it and the way we try to attach value to either having it or losing it is, quite often, really rather ridiculous.
I think that wherever you are on that Virginity Scale, what matters is probably not what bodily parts have got friendly with what other bodily parts or with what regularity. What matters more is whether your continual, daily choices are to connect as well as possible with a partner, on all levels – emotionally, physically and (if you believe in a spiritual dimension) spiritually.
And I was also hoping to show that not having sex doesn’t make you a freak.
Umm, well, I’m not sure on that one! You choose.