It’s something I whisper to people after I’ve known them for a while, when I feel like they won’t judge me and no one around will hear.
“I’ve never had a boyfriend,” I say. “And I’ve never had sex.”
This admission feels simultaneously freeing and limiting, as their eyebrows raise and they respond, “Really?”
Somehow I’ve managed to make it through four years of college without a boyfriend or a bang. Somewhere along the lines, academics, friendships, and me-time became more important than any romantic adventure. Thoughts often flitter around in my head: I don't time for a relationship, everything will happen on its own, and could you handle the embarrassment of rejection? Then the counter-argument, what’s the point of life if you don’t take advantage of everything it has to offer?
That’s what I tell myself, although I don’t feel that way about drugs.
It wasn’t an intentional decision to be abstinent; I told myself every semester that meeting a guy and having a whirlwind romance would happen. And each semester it didn’t, the weight of being a “virgin” became harder and harder to bear. As friends exchanged hilarious stories of their sexual rendezvous, I sat on the sidelines, laughing in response but secretly envious that I had nothing to contribute. My mind would wander off to dark places, surrounded by self-reflections of, “Am I not pretty enough, funny enough, or sexy enough? Do I need to curl my hair more often or color my eyebrows in darker?”
They were stupid, pointless questions, but getting rid of them was like trying to get rid of gnats.
Tinder and Bumble became the worst kind of frienemies; they raised my confidence in a minute but shattered it in a second. Late at night, I’d swipe through them contagiously, thinking that somehow, something would change.
Do guys have virgin radars?
Yeah… that was a question I asked myself. If I was around a guy who was really attractive, tall, with an aura of seductive confidence and a slow side smile (you know the type), I wondered if he could smell my virginity like some cheap perfume; one you think is worth trying out, but ends up being highly unsatisfying.
When I'm extremely bored, I scroll through Amazon and buy books full of smut, then read with the idea that maybe I could learn something from them. I’m still questioning the validity of the various sex scenes I’ve read. How do they not get caught? Could I ever bend that way? HA.
My friends laugh when I tell them all this, and I join in because I find hilarity in the absurdity of it all.
I’m not religious, I don’t believe in God. But somehow I’m the only one among my Christian and Catholic friends who haven’t had sex. Oh, the irony.
I don’t believe that the loss of my virginity is a gift to be bestowed upon the one I love; it’s not an object. But if it has to be a gift, then it will be a gift to myself.
But if I’m being truly honest, then I’ll admit that I want to have sex because I hate not knowing. I’ve always prided myself on knowing random things like ostriches don’t actually stick their heads in the sand. And Robert Pattinson crashed the boat in the honeymoon scene of Breaking Dawn Part 1 multiple times despite taking lessons.
It bothers me that I know random facts like this, but don’t know anything about sex. The longer that not knowing hangs over me — not knowing whether it will be awkward, embarrassing, or if I’ll be bad at it — the more scared I become.
And I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t be scared in 2018, that I would live my life completely, without any restrictions or pretenses.
So who knows what this year has; another year of living vicariously through my friends’ stories while striving towards personal career goals or a year of whirlwinds that lead to embarrassing stories to laugh about?
Only time will tell, but whether or not anything happens, I won’t carry the weight anymore.