You can run, but you can’t hide. There seems to be no escape from it. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s sex!
Sex! Sex! Sex! It’s everywhere you turn, on billboards, in movies, in music (and in music videos); and if I see another viral YouTube video of animals humping I’m going to scream! We are truly living in an oversexed and over-twerked society.
But there are a few of us still meandering around the universe who remain untouched and free from penetration. To put it plain and simple, we are the virgins of the world (cue dramatic sound effect, “bum bum buuuuuum!”). According to the Center For Disease Control’s Health Statistics Report, four percent of the population here in the United States are, in fact, virgins. Since Millennials (men and women born between 1980-2000) are now the largest generation in the United States, and those born at the beginning of this generation are in their early to mid-thirties, it is safe to say that of that four percent, quite a few of those virgins are in their thirties.
The Dirty Thirty. It’s an age where your concept of what being old is has changed because you are now at the age you once thought was on the precipice of old. You are finally making strides in your career while your student loan payments are devouring your income. You are getting a grasp on your life goals and have set a plan in motion to achieve them. The idea of becoming a responsible adult begins to set in, and the pressure of settling down becomes a reality. With all of the adulthood responsibilities your thirties bring, a few women have added “maintaining abstinence” to their list.
Erica, 34, and Jasmine, 32, are both virgins. Erica and Jasmine have obtained graduate level degrees and have successfully advanced in their careers. I must admit I have known these women for quite some time and didn’t even realize that they’ve never had sex. This confidentiality is mainly because many virgins don’t discuss their virginity with people. Erica says, “The only discomfort I have is sharing the information sometimes. In the past, people got weird when I told them I was a virgin, so I stopped sharing. Interestingly, people like to tell me their sexual history, which I’m okay with, but at times; they talk, I listen.”
Jasmine feels the same way. As she puts it, “I’ve been in situations where I’ll be talking with a group of friends and the conversation turns to sex and people share their experiences. I don’t have any so I’ll be quiet. If it’s at a party or something, I may excuse myself.”
Both women made their decision to remain virgins early in life and want to have something to give to their future husband after saying “I do.” Erica says that she made this decision after watching the way sex affected the lives of those around her when she was young:
“I originally decided that I wanted to wait until I was married when I was in high school. I saw too many people making risky, and life-altering decisions based on sex, not realizing the full consequences of their actions until it was too late. I felt like I had a better chance of having a future if I waited. So I made a private commitment to God that I would wait. No one made me do it. Nothing formal. Just a prayer. I’ve decided to remain a virgin because now I know that the person that I share myself with is going to be someone that will be a part of my life forever. With such a strong connection as that, I want that person to remain in my life and be welcomed in it. I want that person to be my husband.”
Jasmine’s decision originated from what she learned growing up in the church:
“I was raised in the church and was taught that sexual intercourse was reserved for marriage. Over time, I took more ownership of it. I didn’t just stay a virgin because I was told to, but I stayed because I wanted to reserve myself for my husband. I thought This guy is going to be the love of my life, of course, I’d want him to have what no one else has had. It became a personal choice for me.”
Shakia, 27, is the founder of the Bare.Bold&Beautiful Movement and author of an upcoming book that focuses on her decision to be a virgin, as well as the journey of nine other women who have made a similar decision.
“I decided to write my book on my abstinence experience when people were continually shocked that I was a virgin. People’s first response after being informed that I’m a virgin is usually, ‘No you’re not,’ justifying their claim by pointing out the way I dress or my outgoing attitude. Then there are people who are confused and ask, ‘But why? You’re pretty’ as if every virgin is a virgin because no one desires them. I began to realize that my look and attitude did not fit the idea of a virgin that many had. So, I decided to share my journey and give a new face, dress and attitude to the virgin. As readers are invited on my journey of abstinence they will realize that I have had plenty of guys who were willing to introduce me to the pleasures of sex and that I have even had to suppress my own urges when my body’s desires were not aligned with my decision. I want to make it clear that there are women and men who are adult virgins not because we are not desired by the opposite sex, but for reasons that all drive the choice that we have made.”
But despite all the shock, confusion, and the lack of support for this major decision at times, many virgins can find and thrive in relationships with people who applaud and respect their choice. Jasmine, who is currently in a serious relationship, is lucky enough to have that in her life.
“I am currently in a relationship. He, like most guys I’ve talked to in the past, was a bit shocked, but he thinks it is a very good decision. He said right after I told him, ‘You are the smartest woman I know.’ With him, I don’t feel any pressure. He’s also marriage minded. We’ve talked about having sex, and he is fine with waiting until the wedding night. He actually keeps me on track.”
I, too, am like these women. I have decided to maintain my virginity until I get married. And though sharing this gift with my future husband is ideal, my decision to wait has more to do with the gift I have chosen to give myself. We all have been given one life to live and the personal choices we make shape the very essence of our lives. We virgins of the world, the four percent, are taking ownership of our bodies, our options and standing by what makes us happy (and our values) in a world where sex is everywhere and in everything.