I’m 20 years old, single, and I’ll come out and say it right now: I’m a proud virgin. However, in the past, I was a closeted virgin — not just because I had never had sex, but because I was scared to.
There are many different connotations and feelings associated with sex — things that my friends have always talked about. When they described to me their first times and the many times after, I nodded enthusiastically and pretended I understood them. At 16 years old, one of my good friends at the time was already boasting about how she did it with her boyfriend in the shower, and while my face showed approval, inside my heart was racing at the fact that she had been ‘initiated.’ In the eyes of our society, she was now an adult.
As more of my friends began to lose their virginity, I began to question myself and my ability to make someone like me. Was it my weight, or my glasses? Was I annoying, or too uptight? Was I just not pretty enough? These questions threw me into a depression that caused me to lose myself in this urge to grow up. I flirted relentlessly with guys, trying to come off as carefree and fun, until one day I finally had a boyfriend.
This boyfriend was the first person who expressed a desire to have sex with me. He told me how my body was perfect, and how he wanted to get inside of me and show me that he loved me. For a while, I liked the sound of that. I thought that I had finally found someone who respected me and actually liked me for who I was.
I wasn’t going to compromise my Catholic faith for a guy that I supposedly loved.
However, there were two problems with this magical bridge into what I thought to be adulthood. The first was that, as a strong Catholic, I was taught that sex had to be reserved for marriage, and I wasn’t going to compromise my faith for a guy that I supposedly loved.
But the even bigger problem was that I was scared. I had zero experience, and to top it off, the idea of having sex with this guy made me squeamish. While I thought I loved him, I didn’t know if I actually loved him. Even though he was saying all these things I wanted to hear, I wasn’t ready to give all of myself to him.
Unfortunately, these thoughts were not something that my then-boyfriend wanted to hear, so much so that he tried to force himself onto me multiple times with brute force and violence. He called me prudish, a slut for flirting, and unfaithful. When he broke up with me I was devastated, but in retrospect, this painful lesson was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
There is no magic age at which everyone has sex. You have sex when you are ready, not when your friends are getting knocked up and talking about it. One so-called innocent night could lead you to a whole host of problems like emotional stress, confusion, compromising your own physical health, and a potential baby that you may not be ready for. We live in a society that is so charged with the fear of ‘missing out’ that we forget to step back and think about the consequences.
Being a virgin does not mean that you are lacking something. Saving your virginity is a decision that you have full control over, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.