And I wasn’t going to write one. But I am an unveiling an unusual creature today. A woman who knows that ‘who I am as an individual is not defined by my virginity’. A radical concept perhaps and if more people thought about it, ‘The Virginity Project’ might not exist.
Isn’t it funny how times change? Think of the stories of old, stories from people who barely knew the facts of life when they got married. It wasn’t that long ago. In the space of fifty years, the concept of virginity has been turned on its head. In today’s society, you could be forgiven for thinking that virginity is a nasty disease. Dis-ease, never a truer word spoken.
Perhaps the media landscape has pushed us. MTV, R&B, sexy ladies, sexy boys, cars, advertising and the promises made by the purchase of expensive products. Buy this and you’ll get laid, get loved, get sexy. The truth is that we don’t need any of this to be sexy, or, more to the point, sexual. We are animals, we already are sexual.
And there are a million and one ways to be sexual, none of which need involve the act of penetrative sex - that which we decree to be the loss of virginity. It’s just that somewhere along the line we convinced ourselves otherwise. Well, all of us that is except for Sally.
I loved reading your blog because I'm a big fan of oral history and it's great from that perspective, but secretly, I really enjoyed it 'cos I'm still a virgin at the age of twenty-six.
I don't have any story to tell. Nothing hideous ever happened to me as a child; I was a happy (if slightly odd) adolescent. I home-schooled throughout most of my teenage years and the two years I spent in an alternative high school were mostly spent gaining confidence around people my own age - sex wasn't even on the cards at that point.
And then I spent ages in university figuring that I'd meet someone who I really liked and who I wanted to hop into bed with. And I met one guy who was great, but he turned out to be gay (despite the alternative school, I have no gaydar whatsoever). And there was this other guy, but he already had a girlfriend, and I stand sternly by the Commandment, 'thou shalt not endeavour to break up other peoples' relationships just so thou canst get laid.' And then I wondered if maybe I was on the other bus, because generally, I just didn't seem to meet that many men I was bothered about.
And I still don't. I meet a lot of men who I really like, who I enjoy hanging out with and chatting to, and mostly I don't feel like I have any difficulty communicating with them. But the litmus test always is, 'Can I picture myself in bed with this person', and the answer is usually 'NO'.
I've put far too much time and effort and occasionally tears (not to mention sweat and, erm, other bodily secretions at certain times of the month) into trying to figure out why I'm so picky. Is it biological? Is it a mental or emotional block - am I one big neuroses without realizing it? Are all my reasons for never dating anyone (I'm too busy with grad school/I'm only in this city temporarily/I don't want to have to factor my life around someone else when I don't know what I want to do after I'm done school) all actually excuses for being frigid, which I don't think I am, and, uh, the downstairs neighbours might attest to that fact if you pressed them...
Am I a commitment-phobe? Do I just come up with reasons for the unsuitability of people my friends want to set me up with because I'm not ready to have a proper relationship? (Although to be fair, would you, as a fairly committed atheist, date an otherwise very sweet man who was also very, very Christian in a Calvinist sort of way?...that was the latest adventure in the world of non-dating, although I would like to keep the aforementioned man as a friend.)
Or, and this is the slightly radical bit here, because nobody seems to want to hear this reason no matter how many times I tell them: am I a single virgin because, despite the fact that there are a vast number of people on the face of this planet who I might be into, the vast majority of them apparently don't reside in this relatively small city? Why is it so difficult and seemingly taboo for a girl to just not fancy anyone? Or to think that maybe, just maybe, she's not bothered about men or having a relationship because she wants to, I don't know, travel? Finish school, and, goddamit, do a good job at it? Or spend Saturday night eating popcorn and watching Doctor Who and gossiping with the upstairs neighbours? Or work on that one-act play she wants to enter into a local grassroots festival competition? Or spend two hours a day, every day, rigourously figuring out how to sing and play the fiddle at the same time?
And, quite frankly, a relationship would interfere with all of those. It would make certain activities (like travelling and masturbation) much more enjoyable, but it would curtail the time spent on others - and I don't know if I want to give all of those activities up, and compromise my life to fit with another person's right now. (Or, you know, maybe I'm just scared of change and then we're back to the whole neuroses thing again...)
Okay, I should stop drivelling on - if you want to put this on the Virginity Project you can. I just wanted to say 'Thanks', really. It's taken me a long time to understand that who I am as an individual isn't defined by my virginity. It's part of me, and I still fret and fuss over it, but it isn't the sum of my parts. And I'm sure that there's any number of excellently filthy puns to be made on my unfortunate wording of that one, so I'll leave you to it...But really, thanks. It's nice to feel that I'm not completely alone with this one. And if you post this, you can leave my real name on it.
Thanks for listening.