Ever since the age of 15 virginity and the act of losing it was a hotly debated subject within my group of friends. I’m sure we were probably late bloomers in that department- most people in my particular high school were discussing it as soon as they caught a whiff of their teenage years nearing- at the ripe old age of 12-, but we were having too much fun in our own little girl gang to be concerned about scoring boyfriends or learning how to french kiss. 17 seemed to be the lucky number for my circle of friends; that’s when the stories of them losing their v-cards began to filter through conversations, stories of them meeting their partners organically through college or mutual friends or, for one, at a bus stop. And from there I always thought that that’s what sex was: something that happened naturally between two people when the chemistry and timing was right.
But then something happened, and that something was that I turned 18. Still burdened with my apparent lack of sexual allure, I went to a birthday barbecue of a friend’s friend and I (rather uncharacteristically) got drunk. Not unlike everyone else there. Somehow during the evening the conversation turned to losing one’s virginity, and though I don’t recall admitting to still having mine I find it hard to think of how the other guests there knew without the friend I came with ‘outting’ me (which she most certainly didn’t).
And then something weird happened. People started telling me how they admired me for still being a virgin, and that they wished they’d have waited. Which annoyed the piss out of me. Anyone who really knows me will testify that I’m shy, and my combination of general and social anxiety does not lend itself to meeting new people and making friends, never mind finding someone to fornicate with. I’ve never been ‘waiting’ for the right time to lose my virginity, I’ve just never had the opportunity with anyone. From the age of 9 to the age of 22 my self confidence had been at an altitude lower than sea level, so I was never going to put myself out there to try and get laid because I’d probably end up crying about halfway through getting undressed, if I’d even make it to that stage.
But that’s the stigma surrounding virginity. Everyone assumes if you’re still a virgin at 18 (in Britain- it may be slightly later in other places) then it’s because you’re waiting for it to be with someone special, or waiting for marriage. But I’m not. I’m not waiting for Hercules to swoop down on the back of Pegasus and take me up to heaven so we can make love (I’ve always been more of a Meg girl myself anyway). I’m not waiting for my Prince Charming. I’m not waiting for marriage. I want to have sex.
I want to remove the stigma from the word ‘virgin’. I am an awesome person and I’m learning to love my body in a way I’d thought wasn’t possible in the past 13 years. I’m not proud to be a virgin and I certainly don’t deserve to be admired (or patronisingly admired) for it. It’s a fact, a technicality, and it has no bearing on my self worth.
I am 23. I am not pure. I am not innocent. I get turned on. I have had hundreds of orgasms. I am no less than anyone else for never having had sex. I am no more than anyone else for never having had sex.
I am a virgin. I am not ashamed.