It was 6 o’clock, the peak time for the dinner rush in my college cafeteria, and I was mulling over a salad while my male meal partner heartily chowed down on three hot dogs. “What did you do this weekend?” I asked him. Grinning, he replied “I went down on this one girl and it was freakin’ awesome.”
Because the caf was so noisy, and because I wasn’t sure if I had heard him right, I said “You did what?” He repeated it, but to my embarrassment and exasperation, I still couldn’t completely understand what he said. Seeing my puzzled expression, he chuckled “You’re a virgin, aren’t you? Everyone knows what that means.”
For the rest of the night, our conversation kept haunting me. I was so angry that I could barely concentrate on my homework. Then the nagging little voices started whining in my head. He’s right. I am naïve. Everybody knows what’s going on. Everybody’s making out and having sex on the weekends. And me? I knit leg warmers and watch old TV shows with actors who have been dead for 30 years.
We’ve all heard about slut shaming, where a girl is criticized for dressing provocatively and for not hiding her wild sexual behavior. We all know “that girl” who has the walk of shame down pat and has more colored lipsticks for making rainbows than an Ulta salon. In our society, if you’re over 17 and still a virgin, it means that something must be wrong with you. You’re not attractive enough for anyone to want. You’re inexperienced, a prude, and maybe even a little bit dumb. You don’t have what it takes. Basically, if you are a virgin, you don’t bring it up at your next social gathering unless you want to become a laughingstock.
Because sex these days is seen as a contact sport and a commodity, people who are waiting to have sex with their future spouse are looked down upon as making a big deal over nothing. Sex is not a big deal anymore; in fact, it’s expected in most relationships. Some might think this is a good thing; we’re liberated women and men now, and if we want to have a little fun, it’s our right to do so with as few consequences as possible. YOLO, right?
We need to realize that we live in a society that both demonizes sex as wrong and dirty while also promoting it as the greatest and most necessary thing ever. We also need to realize that sex cannot, just simply cannot be taken lightly when we think about what it truly is, or what it should be. Without the trust, love, and support that comes from a healthy sexual relationship, sex becomes merely a cycle of use, an exchange where the dialogue is merely “What can I get out of it?”
So what, though, if it is just two people using each other as long as they both consent to it? I agree to do this to you if you do that to me, and then we both feel good. Consent is such a buzzword these days that it has become cheapened. Would a couple about to “do it” say to each other “Okay, so I want your consent to use you as a sex toy and to do whatever it takes to make me feel good. In exchange, you can use me.” Is that really a fair deal? Is that respecting the other person’s dignity and value as a person? Or is reducing them to an object to be penetrated and fondled?
My ideal sexual experience is not on a dorm futon with alcohol involved, nor is it in the crowded backseat of a car. I am freshly showered and clean, wearing my favorite lacy bra and underwear, and there are scented candles and soft music playing in the background. It won’t be rushed or nervous or hurried; we’ll take our time, hours if we want, just enjoying each other. And when I wake up the next morning, I won’t be crying or afraid if I am pregnant, because the guy will be wearing the same ring on his hand as I will. There will be no guilt, no shame.
This is what I want; I know it, and I will not settle for less. I have yet to meet a guy on this campus who can give me this. I know that as a woman and a daughter of God, this is what I deserve, and that is why I am waiting.
Is it hard? Oh God, yes. Listening to the fantastical stories of my friends, watching the couples vanishing behind closed doors only drives the knife in deeper. But I highly doubt that, when my husband is holding me in his arms in our bed, I will think to myself, “Damn it, I wish I’d had more sex with other men.”
One of my guy friends said it this way: “When I’m having sex with my wife, I don’t want any other memories of any other women in my head. I don’t want to compare her performance to anyone other woman’s. I just want her.”
The next time you’re in that awkward virgin position, remind yourself of what you are waiting for, why you have made these choices. And if you don’t know what or who you are waiting for, you’d better sit down damn quick and make up a concrete list, a plan, to keep yourself going. Don’t trust on your good intentions in the heat of the moment. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Nothing that is good comes easy. It takes hard work to get good grades, to stay healthy, to train for a sport. Don’t think that your sexual satisfaction will come any easier. You were made for true love, and your body and soul crave so much more out of sex than a one-night stand in your parents’ basement. Believe that you deserve not just good sex, but perfect sex.
Most of all, while you are waiting, use your time wisely. Know that your future spouse isn’t going to solve all your problems, and turn to God when you are lonely on Friday night, single on Valentine’s day, and once again the bridesmaid or groomsman at a friend’s wedding. Spend your single years honing your skills and talents and learning all you can about yourself and other people. Wouldn’t it be a shame to look back on these years and think “Gee, I wasted so much time griping about being alone.” Believe me, once you’re married and the kiddos start coming, you’ll wish for some of that alone time.
The world views being single as a curse. Flip it and turn it into a blessing. Fly to Hawaii (take me with you), hike a mountain or two, learn fly fishing, join a bowling club. Write that novel. Take that figure drawing class. Teach yourself to cook. Make yourself into the person you’d want to marry. But most of all, work on your relationship with God, because without His help and His grace, you’ll be lonely and stuck for a lot longer than is necessary. Get to know Him, intimately, because He is the only person who can truly satisfy all your desires.
Happy adventuring. Aloha.