How to Be a VirginS

So I was a virgin until I was twenty-five (and a half!) and I spent about seven years freaking out about telling people, not telling people, even—so ironically—accepting a job to contribute to a sex and dating column for a women's magazine (they reached out to me; I'd been fired the previous month and needed to do something besides eat burritos in bed on Xanax). I spent the next half a year at three posts a day, all attempting to avoid discussion of actual sex advice because I didn't want to lie or give anyone a faux list of Best Practices for Intercourse. If only I'd applied all of the effort I spent worrying about it to some kind of practical use, I could have done so many important things, like learned French or built a boat with my bare hands or memorized the complete filmography of Danny Trejo.

The thing is, when I finally told people that I was a virgin, it felt like such a massive albatross was lifted from my shoulders that I told fucking everyone—my mom, my editors, bodega cats, an empty Snapple bottle. I would have made a Cafe Press T-shirt of it if I didn't already have more than enough shirts.

Even though you rarely hear about it, I get the feeling that there are plenty of people who are in the situation that I was, and if you're one of those people who feels like never having had sex is a big deal, just know that I was in your position for a really long time and I'm not gonna be able to convince you it's not. But guys, seriously, fuck being embarrassed about being a virgin. And double-fuck having to overcompensate by saying stuff to people like "I'm the least virginy virgin ever" just to make them feel more comfortable talking about dicks at brunch. Fuck that shit up an actual creek.

Not to make this about Girls, but fuck the fact that in all of the bullshit fighting about the Girls girls, nobody mentioned how crappy it is that Shoshanna was the only virgin on television and she was a stereotypical, judgy, Sex & the City-obsessed Chia pet of self-hating catch phrases until she lost her virginity and is now allowed to Grow as a Character.

Fuck the fact that it can be difficult to be proud of being a virgin without being concerned that people will think you're judging them for not being one. Even writing this, I'm nervous that people will take it the wrong way, like simply by virtue of making the choices that I made, I'm slut-shaming. I'm not.

Fuck wanting to buy a 100-pack of $8.00 Staples business cards that read "I'm not doing it for, like, religious reasons" so that you won't have to say it, over and over, in the same tone of voice you would use if you hit a pedestrian in a parking lot. Because guess what:

  • not ready
  • religious and/or waiting for marriage
  • haven't found someone you want to have sex with
  • too busy watching Gritty-Fight-The-System-Dramas on Instant Netflix
  • and more!

All acceptable reasons to not have sex! Choose your choices! And stuff! The bottom line is that as long as you actually don't want to, and you're not repressing or sublimating the fact that you actually really, really want to have sex, you're golden.

Fuck that thing where you're immediately like, "It's not because guys haven't like, tried, and I've done other stuff, I'm not like, scared of boners or whatever!!!!111" which is the kind of panicked dialogue I've read on literally dozens of advice columns on women's blogs on the subject and makes me super-sad. You should never have to quantify yourself that way. The awesome thing about female sexuality today (umm, theoretically) is that you can do whatever you want with no apologies and it doesn't define you as a human being the way it would've in the '50s. Casual sex? Baller. Don't want kids? Awesome. Have not yet had someone put one of their body parts into your body parts? Cool. It's not a deficit. Deciding that someone has to get their Grown-Ass Woman Identity literally fucked into them is a big-time feminism fail. To wit, it's been six months since I had sex for the first time and I'm still exactly the same goofy idiot I was before.

Fuck how you feel when your well-intentioned curious friends are like "Don't you want to?" or "You should just get it over with." And your answers are generally like, "Sort of yes, ehh, I don't know, would that make you feel better?" Whenever someone would praise me for it, on the other hand, I'd feel weird, like I was getting compliments on my eye color or birthday or some other incidental thing. I don't think it really merits praise or condescension. It's just a thing. A thing I was.

I realize it's extremely hard to actually say "fuck you" to the loaded, shitty implications of being a virgin that are more or less always projected in your general direction. To that end, I'd state the obvious: the more comfortable and confident you are with it, the less people will question it. No apologies. Why should you apologize for doing what you want? And if you're anything like I am, you'll feel like the number of people who looked at me askance after I told them actually do kind of imbue you with a weird power: they force you to think about why you've made the choice not to have sex yet, which I'd never really thought about before.

A friend of mine came up with a brilliant set of basic life rules that feel pertinent to mention here.

1. Everything changes.
2. You don't know what the fuck is going on.
3. You can do whatever you want.
4. What's wrong with you?

What those rules mean is THERE ARE NO RULES. When you want to have sex, go for it, casual or otherwise. If you don't want to, you don't have to. If you're dating a guy and you care about each other, and it's something you're nervous about, I'd suggest telling him after awhile. Keeping a secret from someone you want to build a relationship with-this goes for guys and girls alike-doesn't bode well for the future. If he gets freaked out and never texts you again, that shit wasn't gonna work out anyway.

And if you're a virgin who's never felt self-conscious about it or compelled to apologize for it, you're about a grillion times more mature than I was, so big ups.