Outspoken 20-something virgins are often obnoxiously smug about holding on to their "purity." But now, more 20-year-olds are losing it in books and on television without talking shit on sluts or bringing Jesus into the equation.
The Daily Beast points out that more than a few TV show characters, like Underemployed's Sophia Swanson (with a girl, no less!) and Girls' Shoshanna are losing it later in life than their predecessors, who historically only have positive first-time sex experiences with doting boyfriends who they've dated for at least an entire season. Cora Carmack's bestselling Losing It, a book about a college senior trying to lose her virginity, just landed her a three-book deal for a six-figure sum. What's up with all of this later-term action?
Perhaps art is simply reflecting real life: an October 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that the percentage of sexually active teenagers has gone down since the late 1980s. And then there's Underemployed creator Craig Wright's bizarre theory that millennials are losing it later because Brooklynites are making artisan pickles:
"The whole hipster home-brew revolution, I think, is tied into some new notions of localism and integrity, which are finally come home to roost on the body," he said. "People are finding it to be interesting to do something special with your life, with your body. There's a craving for specificity."
He also said "We're living in a time where everyone is eager to brand themselves" and "Everybody wants to be specific and recognizable and interesting, and certainly cultivating your virginity as a public fact is one way to set yourself apart."
Meh, I don't buy that. The characters I'm familiar with — Shoshana and Losing It's Bliss — aren't proud of being 20-something virgins. Which I think is realistic, because our culture still sexualizes teenagers and makes them feel like freaks if they don't lose their virginity in their mid to late teens, even if we're past the "prom night" cliche.
I like Shoshana's stereotypically Jappy yet eventually multifaceted character — "I'm the least virginy virgin ever!" she insists in one episode — but I really disliked the saccharine Losing It, which I read last week after writing about it for this site. Spoiler Alert: it's not all that different from Twilight, if you subtract the vampires and werewolves and add Drama major (they're wannabe actors) drama. The protagonist, Bliss (gag), is an obnoxiously (we're supposed to think "adorably") clumsy yet beautiful 22-year-old who attracts the attention of two dreamy suitors. The guy she has sex with tells her he loves her before he really knows her at all and, naturally, proposes in the end. There's nothing wrong with losing your v-card to your husband, but it's not exactly boundary-breaking stuff.
Still, I love how we're seeing more young women losing their virginity later on in nontraditional ways — let's have more of that, please! And how about some 20-something male virgins who aren't saving it because of their religious beliefs? That would be a first.