A Word of Advice To Celebrity Virgins: Keep Your Sex Life (Or Lack Thereof) Private

July 31, 2012  |  

In the day of celebrities like Halle Berry wanting President Obama to crack down on the way paparazzi is allowed to invade their lives, it always amazes me how many entertainers feel the need to divulge one of the most  private aspects of their lives: who they’re sleeping with—or not.

I thought about this odd coming out of sorts looking at Teyana Taylor’s remake of Janet Jackson’s iconic Rolling Stone cover today. The photo shoot, shot by Lance Gross, has garnered mixed reactions for a lot of reasons.  Some are wondering why she even messed with Janet’s ‘90s masterpiece, others are curious why she sexed the image up even more than it was originally with her red lips, garter belts, and the see-thru stockings attached to her cut-offs (not to mention those breast tattoos), and still others are curious how this type of end-product comes from a virgin of all people. Had she never made her sexual lifestyle public knowledge, she could have nixed at least one of those concerns, but unfortunately like many other famous people she assumed that was knowledge the public wanted and needed to know.

I don’t think celebrities like Teyana should hide their virginal status out of shame, but I don’t get what they’re trying to prove by announcing it. The bottom line is it’s no one’s business and frankly no one really cares until situations that appear to contradict that lifestyle choice come into play. Unlike Meagan Good’s argument that one can still be swexy and a Christian, Teyana, a 21-year-old woman who claims to not engage in sex at all is selling that straight up and down from this Janet-esque photo to her racy Black Men’s mag cover, and a whole lot more in between. I know the dichotomy of a woman who’s a lady in the street and a freak in the bed is supposedly every man’s ideal, but she’s working that fantasy from the complete opposite angle and it’s hard to decipher what her true image is, let alone her real persona.

The other issue is proclaiming to be a virgin puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on entertainers.  There aren’t too many old-heads, if any, stepping into the spotlight claiming they’ve never gotten it in. It’s the fresh-faced 16- to 20-year-olds who are new on the scene that somehow get roped into answering questions that aren’t the public’s business anyway and who later have to recant those statements or unnecessarily explain themselves even more. Brittney Spears I’m looking at you. Or take Jordin Sparks for example. When we first met her, she boasted about a purity promise ring she wore since she was a young teenager but when people found out she was dating Jason Derulo, naturally they started to wonder if she might be trading in that promise ring for a nuva ring. In an interview with Hoda Kotb that got further in her sheets than Jason likely had at the time, Jordin gave an update of sorts on her celibacy stance and said of the ring:

“You know what, I switch it from day to day — I don’t wear it exactly everyday anymore, but I always have something there. When I was 13 my mom spoke to me about purity and waiting for marriage and different things like that. And, you know, at the time I was like, ‘Sure that’s great,’ but I can’t say what’s gonna happen a couple of months from now. People grow.”

Jordin is absolutely right about people growing but unfortunately once that virgin image is planted in people’s minds, it’s hard to undo. Should she end up having sex before marriage and announcing that to the tabloids, the backlash will no doubt ensue. No one will care that she’s now a mid-20-something-year-old woman, there will be questions of why she didn’t hold out or what type of example she’s setting by going back on her promise, or uncomfortable inquiries into her new bedroom life, much like the case was with Brittney Spears. There will be an invasive line of questioning that could have been avoided altogether by allowing that personal information to remain what it is—personal.

Even thinking of Lolo Jones who has been vocal about how difficult it is to find a man because she’s been so open about being a virgin seems to forget that she brought that struggle on herself. I truly don’t think it’s the fact that she’s a virgin that’s the problem. It’s the spectacle surrounding her virginity that is likely off-putting and intimidating to potential suitors. For some, being a virgin takes on a deep, spiritual meaning; for others it’s a means to avoid heartbreak, unwanted pregnancies, and STDS. Whatever the reason, it’s a state of being just like being sexually active is and there’s no reason for all the pomp and circumstance around it, especially if you aren’t proclaiming yourself to be a role model for others to follow. If that were the case, it would be understandable to be vocal about it, but when your virginity is the only thing that keeps you relevant in a way, it’s awkward, and again, unnecessary.

The thing is, once these celebrities go on record about their sex lives, it follows them for as long as they have the public’s interest, which could be anywhere from 15 minutes to 15 years. In the same way that other sexually active celebs use sex to sell records, the lack of sex begins to define these entertainer’s careers as well and something so personal as their non-existent sex lives becomes the news hook on which their relevance hangs.  It’s rare that celebs succeed in keeping their private lives totally private but one thing they can count on is no one knowing for sure is who is or isn’t in their bed (unless they’re Kim Kardashian, Ray J, Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, or Paris Hilton). Perhaps in the same way vocal virgins are naïve to the world of sex, they’re also oblivious to the American obsession with who’s having it and who isn’t and they don’t realize the image they’re forming when they speak on their sexuality. I’m not particularly keen on sexually active celebs giving the rundown on their bedroom booming either, but my advice to virgins in the spotlight would be when it comes to their sex lives, keep their mouths like their legs: closed.

What do you think about celebrities declaring that their virgins? Should they share that with the world or keep it private?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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