From my inbox, an email from a high school student named Jeremy:
“Dear Matt, first I want to say I really like your blog. One of my teachers actually mentioned it in class once after you wrote something (she didn’t mention it in a good way lol) and I went and looked you up so I’ve been following you ever since. I know you get so much email so I don’t expect you to see this but in case you do I wanted to get your opinion about something. You write a lot about relationships and everything so I’m wondering if you think abstinence should be encouraged in school?
Reason I’m asking is because we are doing our sex ed lessons in health class now and the topic has come up. Yesterday my health teacher was talking about safe sex and someone mentioned abstinence and she said it wasn’t realistic. She said it was an out dated way of thinking and the people who push for it are out of touch because they were probably kids a long time ago. She said sometimes sex can be more casual and isn’t always a part of something serious. Then she asked how many people in the class are sexually active because she said it was important for people not to be ashamed. Almost all the guys in class raised their hands but I didn’t. They were all talking about how sex doesn’t have to be something for marriage or long term relationships. I always wanted to wait for marriage and I hope it’s not weird for me to say that. They said in class that we should be more accepting of sexual expression that doesn’t conform to older ideas. But I still always wanted to wait for marriage. But at this point I feel like an outcast or something.
I read something you wrote about dating once and it seemed like you were saying that people should wait for marriage [to have sex]. What do you thinkabout what my teacher said? Am I weird for not really wanting to go out and hook up with girls and stuff and instead wait for marriage?”
Yes, it’s weird for you to want to wait until marriage. In spite of the hyper-sexualization of our culture; in spite of society’s decaying moral sensibility; in spite of all of the messages that bombard you every day through every available medium; in spite of the pressure from your classmates; in spite of the bullying from that fool of a “health teacher,” you STILL stand tall and resolve to save yourself for your future wife.
Man, that is weird. It’s also awesome, inspiring, courageous, and extraordinary. Not to mention, Jeremy, you’re doing the RIGHT thing. You’ve got more character than most adults in this country, and you should be commended for it.
Speaking of adults without character, please ignore everything your “health teacher” says on this subject. I have to put quotes around her title because it doesn’t sound like she’s doing much in the way of teaching, and whatever she’s blabbering about has very little to do with “health.” She seems to think there’s a “safe” way for emotionally immature juveniles to have casual sex. Maybe she’ll follow up this performance by advocating “safe drunk driving.”
Dude, I had to go outside and breathe a little before I even attempted to write back. There is so much I want to say about this woman and the nonsense she spews. In any other context, an adult would probably find themselves on a statewide registry if they went up to a bunch of kids and asked about their sex lives. But this was “educational,” so it’s cool. The most charitable possible interpretation I can muster is that she’s an overgrown gossipy teenager who thinks she’s at a slumber party. “OMG you guys! So who here has had sex??? Let’s play truth or dare!!!!” A less charitable translation of her actions would lead me to the conclusion that she was actively attempting to pressure and humiliate people like you. And not just you, Jeremy. You said every guy in the class raised their hands? Yeah, a lot of them were lying, because that’s just the sort of thing dudes lie about.
So, Mrs. Health Teacher has singlehandedly declared sexual morality dead, has she? With one scoff and wave of her wand she’s buried thousands of years of insight into the topic? Anyone who advocates such things must be “old” and “out dated”?
Hmmm. Well, this tattooed 27 year old former DJ happens to be on your side, man.
God forgive me, I’m not old fashioned at all. I don’t think you are, either. Truth only seems old fashioned nowadays because we’ve grown so accustomed to deceit and manipulation. But Truth is eternal, so it can never be old or new. It never ‘was’ or ‘will be.’ It just ‘is.’ It always ‘is.’ Truth never grows old, and if you believe in it and try to live by it, you will always be, in some ways — the only ways that matter — the youngest, freshest, most energetic rebel on the block.
So here’s the point, Jeremy:
Our culture tells a lot of lies about sex. Your teacher is one of the liars.
There’s plenty of ignorance on the subject. Plenty of confusion. But it’s the lies I hate. The lies that come from people who know better. The people who have made mistakes and now encourage others to make them, too.
You could ask any married person who slept with other people before meeting their spouse (I wouldn’t recommend actually asking this, I’m just trying to illustrate a point here): are you happy about it? Are you glad that you gave yourself to someone other than the person you now love eternally? If you could go back to those times, would you stop yourself?
Was it worth it?
Really, was it worth it?
Do you wish you could say that your spouse is the only person who has experienced these intimate, sacred moments with you? Are you proud that there are other men or women in the world who have seen this side of you? Are you satisfied that what you give to your spouse is now secondhand?
If they tell you they feel happy or neutral about the fact that they gave themselves to someone other than their spouse, you’re dealing with someone in a very dysfunctional marriage. Any honest person in a healthy relationship would tell you they’d erase those moments from their lives if they could. They can’t, of course. Nobody can. We can’t live in the past and harp on our mistakes, but this all leads to an important point: the myth of “casual sex” persists, even though many of us — millions and millions — have seen it for what it is. Marriage as an institution is in rough shape, but people still do get married in this country. That means millions have had to look at their spouse and say — probably silently in their own heads, deep in their subconscious — “I have nothing new to give to you.”
It’s a tragedy, really. It’s a shame. You deal with it and you move on, but “casual sex” has taken its chunk and you’ll never get it back.
Yet few will speak against the predators and perverts in media, Hollywood, and Academia who promote this “casual sex” deception. There should be armies of people opposing it, but instead there is only a small, fringe group of cultural insurgents; the ones we point and laugh at and accuse of having a “boring” and “outdated” view of sexuality.
This is another lie. Casual sex proponents are the ones who have turned sex into something trivial, banal, utilitarian, pointless, joyless, one-dimensional, lifeless, lonely, and disappointing. How could the ones who hold it as sacred also be the ones who make it “boring”? No, it’s mainstream culture that’s made sex boring. It’s mainstream culture that is, in fact, afraid of sex. That’s why we spend so much energy shielding ourselves from every natural aspect of it, other than the physical sensation itself.
And the ones who believe it to be so much more than that are the ones who make it “boring”? THEY are the ones who are afraid of it? They embrace all of it, every part of it, and they are the ones who “hate sex”?
Ridiculous. Casual sex is a lie. It’s a lie that rests on lies and breeds lies and turns people into liars.
We’re told that we are sexually “liberated” if we throw ourselves at strangers and give ourselves over to people who couldn’t possibly care less about us. This is yet another lie. If modern attitudes about sex have “liberated” us, what, precisely, have we been freed from? Security? Commitment? Trust? What, we’ve broken the Shackles of Purity and Love and run gleefully into the Meadows of Pornography and Herpes? Because that’s all that our sexual liberation has wrought. A lot of confusion, a lot of porn, a lot of disease, a lot of emotionally desperate, psychologically battered, spiritually broken people wandering around, searching for another stranger who’s willing to go in for a few more rounds of sterile, shallow, pointless sex.
Let freedom ring, right?
Libertas, madam Health Teacher!
It’s quite interesting, though. Casual sex has liberated us, yet casual sex produces so many regrets. The landscape is rife with people who have felt the sting of our “hook-up culture.” But where are the people who regret abstinence and monogamy? Sure, some people, while married, think they regret having not “played the field.” Then they play it. And then they learn what regret really feels like.
Even the term “casual sex” is insane. It’s an oxymoron. Denim is casual. Restaurants can be casual. Casual: without serious intention, careless or offhand, informal. A high-five is casual. Sex can only be viewed in this same vein once we have dehumanized ourselves enough to see human sexuality as something no more significant than a pair of jean shorts.
Describing sex as “casual” is like describing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as a “nice little doodle.” That’s what I can’t stand — the people who diminish and cheapen sex are the ones who get to pass themselves off as “sexually enlightened.”
It doesn’t surprise me that your crackpot health teacher pulled out the “sexual expression” line. She teaches in our schools yet she doesn’t even understand the words she speaks. To “express” means to SAY something. It means you are indicating something of meaning. When you “express yourself” you are conveying a message about your thoughts, feelings, and character. So shouldn’t we, rather than encouraging sexual expression for the sake of it, encourage MEANINGFUL and POSITIVE sexual expression? In the context of commitment and loyalty, sex expresses something. It expresses: “I love you. I give myself to you.” But what does casual sex express? “Use me and I’ll use you.”
That’s an expression, alright. An awfully sad, pitiful expression. You’re right to have no interest in going down this road.
It sounds like you want to express a different message: self-respect and maturity; honesty and integrity; patience.
And, when the time comes, you’ll express love. Then, you’ll be able to say that you only ever expressed this sort of love to the one person who deserves it. And you’ll both be better for it.
So, in summation, your health teacher is full of it.
You’re on the right path. You’re a rebel. Keep going.
Thanks for writing,
Comments : 10 Comments »
Tags: Casual sex, High school, Jeremy, Marriage, Matt Walsh, Safe sex, Sex Education, Sexualization
Categories : Sexuality
One reason why oral sex is gaining popularity among young people is because they think that it is a safe alternative to sex. Although they will not get pregnant from it, it is anything but safe. I once asked a microbiologist which STDs you could not get by means of oral sex. She replied, “I can’t think of any that you can’t get from oral sex (including HIV).” Sure enough, doctors today are seeing dramatic increases in cases of oral gonorrhea and herpes. According to the International Journal of Cancer, cases of oral HPV (human papilloma virus) are reaching “epidemic” levels,  and now HPV is the leading cause of throat cancer. Other forms of head and neck cancer can also be caused by orally transmitted HPV. Oral sex is anything but safe.
Apart from issues of hygiene and diseases we have mentioned above, if you are called to marriage, then right now your future spouse is somewhere out there. Do you ever wonder what she or he is doing right now? Maybe he is running drills during basketball practice, or maybe she is laughing with friends at a coffee shop as they cram for a test. Suppose that he or she is elsewhere, namely at the house of a person who finds him or her attractive.
The parents are not home, and as you read this, that person is trying to talk your future spouse into having oral sex. If you could speak to the heart of your future spouse right now, would you say, “Oh, go ahead—just make sure you don’t go all the way, honey!” Probably not. You would also have some words for the other person, such as, “That’s my bride!” or “That’s the man who will be raising my children one day.” You would feel offended by what that person is trying to get from your future husband or wife.
Some people resort to oral sex so that they do not lose their virginity. Although you do not technically lose your virginity by having oral sex, it still robs you of innocence and puts you in situations where you could easily lose your virginity. It does not relieve sexual tension in a man but creates it and reinforces in him the myth that he has sexual “needs” that must be met, even at the expense of a woman’s dignity and innocence. The bottom line is that you don’t need oral sex to keep from going all the way. You need grace, courage, and self-respect.
. Karen S. Peterson, “Younger Kids Trying It Now, Often Ignorant of Disease Risks,” USA Today, November 16, 2000, 1D (www.usatoday.com).
. Lalle Hammarstedt, et al., “Human Papillomavirus as a Risk Factor for the Increase in Incidence of Tonsillar Cancer,” International Journal of Cancer 119:11 (December 2006), 2622.
. Gypsyamber D’Souza, et al., “Case-Control Study of Human Papillomavirus and Oropharyngeal Cancer,” The New England Journal of Medicine 356 (May 10, 2007), 1944–1956.
. Lalle Hammarstedt, et al., 2620–2623; Justine Ritchie, et al., “Human Papillomavirus Infection as a Prognostic Factor in Carcinomas of the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx,”International Journal of Cancer 104:3 (April 10, 2003), 336–344; Rolando Herrero, et al., “Human Papillomavirus and Oral Cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer Multicenter Study,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 95:23 (December 3, 2003), 1772–1783.
Micheal Douglas, “Oral sex caused my cancer ” Guardian Uk
Comments : 5 Comments »
Tags: Head and neck cancer, Human papillomavirus, International Journal of Cancer, Oral sex, Oral sex and STD, Sex Education, Sexuality, Sexually transmitted disease
Categories : Sexuality
The moment I knew internet pornography had cast its dark shadow over the lives of millions of ordinary British teenagers will live with me for ever. I was sitting in the smart drama hall of a specialist sports college in the North of England with a fantastic reputation. Before me were a group of 20 boys and girls, aged 13-14. Largely white, working class children, they were well turned-out, polite, giggly and shy.
As the presenter of a Channel 4 documentary called Porn On The Brain, airing next Monday at 10pm, I’d been invited to sit in on a forward-thinking class led by sex education consultant Jonny Hunt, who is regularly asked into schools to discuss sex and relationships. To establish what these kids knew about sex – including pornography – he had asked the children to write an A-Z list of the sexual terms they knew, no matter how extreme.
Most of these children had just hit puberty and some were clearly still children: wide-eyed, nervous, with high-pitched voices. Some of the girls were beginning their first forays into make-up. Several wore braces on their teeth. Everybody was smartly turned out in school uniform, and the most anti-authority statement in the room was a tie worn deliberately short. A One Direction pencil case lay on a desk. These were clearly good children, from good homes. So far, so very, very ordinary. But when Jonny pinned their lists on the board, it turned out that the children’s extensive knowledge of porn terms was not only startling, it superseded that of every adult in the room – including the sex education consultant himself.
Martin was shocked by what the teenagers said
‘Nugget, what’s that?’ asked Jonny.
‘A nugget is a girl who has no arms or legs and has sex in a porno movie,’ chortled one young, pimply boy, to an outburst of embarrassed laughter from some, and outright revulsion from others.
The adults in attendance were incredulous at the thought that not only did this kind of porn exist, but that a 14-year-old boy may have actually watched it. But the more mundane answers were just as shocking. For example, the first word every single boy and girl in the group put on their list was ‘anal’.
When questioned, they had all – every child in a class of 20 – seen sodomy acted out in porn videos. I was stunned they even knew about it – I certainly hadn’t heard of it at that age – let alone had watched it and as a result may even have wanted to try it.
One 15-year-old girl said, ‘Boys expect porn sex in real life’. And one boy – to choruses of approval – spoke of his revulsion for pubic hair, which he called a ‘gorilla’.
When Jonny pointed out that pubic hair was normal in real life, the boys scoffed, but some of the girls were angry that the boys’ template of what to expect from real girls had clearly already been set by porn.
By the end of the hour-long class – and three others that followed with other children – I was profoundly saddened by what I had witnessed. While teenage boys will always be fascinated by, and curious about, sex, what’s now considered ‘normal’ by under-18s is an entirely distorted view of intercourse and the way relationships should be conducted. It seemed as if the children’s entire expectation of sex had been defined by what they see in online porn. The conversation was horrifying enough, yet there was worse to come.
In the playground, I interviewed a brave group of seven bright boys and girls aged 14-15 to ascertain in more detail what online porn they had witnessed.
‘Nugget, what’s that?’ asked Jonny. ‘A nugget is a girl who has no arms or legs and has sex in a porno movie,’ chortled one young, pimply boy
One boy calmly recalled watching a scene too graphic to describe in a family newspaper, but which had involved an animal.
‘You’re watching bestiality?’ I asked. ‘That’s illegal. Where are you getting this stuff from?’
‘Facebook,’ the boy said. ‘It just pops up whether you want it or not, sometimes via advertisements. You don’t have any control over it.’
A girl added, ‘On Facebook, you just scroll down and it’s there. If any of your friends like it, it comes up on your home page.’
These kids were balanced, smart and savvy. They were the most academically gifted and sporting in the school. They came from ordinary, hard-working households. This was not ‘Broken Britain’.
Some were clearly shocked by what they had seen on the internet.
‘I find it dirty and disturbing,’ said one 15-year-old boy. ‘I try not to look at it, but people just keep sending it to each other. They email disgusting links to each other’s mobile phones to shock.’
One girl put her head in her hands and said, ‘It’s just gross’.
It’s horrifying enough for parents to know that children can get porn via the internet. But to think they get it from Facebook – the social media currency that has become a universal must-have for teenagers globally – will strike terror into their hearts.
I asked the teenagers: ‘On a scale of one to ten, how likely would you say it is that boys and girls your age are watching porn online?’
The reply was a chorus of tens, nines and one eight.
When I asked the children if there were parental controls on the internet at home, they all said no, their parents trusted them. They all admitted their parents had no idea what they were watching, and would be shocked if they did know.
What I saw at the school was awful, but sadly not unusual.
The findings were backed up in a survey of 80 boys and girls aged 12-16, commissioned for the TV show.
It proves the vast majority of UK teens have seen sexual imagery online, or pornographic films.
According to the survey, the boys appear largely happy about watching porn – and were twice as likely as girls to do so – but the girls are significantly more confused, angry and frightened by online sexual imagery. The more they see, the stronger they feel.
But what impact is this steady diet of online depravity having on the attitudes of boys and girls towards real life relationships, and on their self-esteem?
Could it even have a wider impact on their lives, blighting their ability to function in the world, get good qualifications and jobs?
What I discovered left me truly shocked and saddened.
You might be surprised. After all, from 2003-2010 I edited lad’s magazine Loaded.
With its frequent nudity and lewd photo spreads, I’d long been accused of being a soft pornographer, and after leaving Loaded I agonised that my magazine may have switched a generation onto more explicit online porn.
In the documentary I set out on a journey to answer the question: is porn harmless, or is it damaging lives?
My interest was deeply personal, too, as my own beautiful little boy, Sonny, is now four. Even though he has only just started primary school, the Children’s Commissioner estimates boys as young as ten are now being exposed to online porn.
I wanted to know what I could do to protect my own son from a seemingly inevitable exposure to hardcore material in just a few years’ time.
I used to be sceptical that porn was as damaging a force as the headlines and David Cameron – who recently said it was ‘corroding childhood’ – suggest. In the past I’d even defended pornography in university debates, on TV and on radio. I claimed it was our freedom of choice to watch it and said it could actually help add to adult relationships.
But what I saw during the making of the film changed my opinion of pornography forever.
The true stories of boys I met whose lives had been totally taken over by porn not only moved me to tears but also made me incredibly angry that this is happening to our children.
And the looks of revulsion on those poor girl’s faces in the playground enraged me.
I feel as if an entire generation’s sexuality has been hijacked by grotesque online porn.
To find out what porn is doing to young men, and the girls they have relationships with, we spoke to them via online forums and discovered that there were many young lives seriously blighted by an excessive, unhealthy relationship with pornography that can begin when they are as young as 12.
We learned that some had lost their jobs, others had broken relationships, failed exams, or got into serious debt through using porn.
‘When you interview young women about their experiences of sex, you see an increased level of violence: rough, violent sex. That is directly because of porn, as young boys are getting their sexual cues from men in porn who are acting as if they’re sexual psychopaths’
Take the 19-year-old man I got to know. He was handsome, articulate and in full-time employment as an apprentice electrician. But his life was dominated by his porn habit.
‘Every bit of spare time I have is spent watching porn,’ he says. ‘It is extreme. I can’t hold down a relationship for longer than three weeks. I want porn sex with real girls, but sex with them just isn’t as good as the porn.’
Having established, like the recent Children’s Commissioner report, that ‘basically, porn is everywhere’, we set out to discover what all this porn was doing to their brains.
Was it having any effect at all? Could it be addictive?
We found Dr Valerie Voon, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University and a global authority on addiction.
Then, in the first study of its kind, we recruited 19 heavy porn users who felt their habit was out of control and had Dr Voon examine their brain activity as they watched, among other things, hardcore porn. She showed them a variety of images, both stills and videos.
These ranged from images known to excite all men, such as bundles of £50 notes and extreme sports in action, to mundane landscapes and wallpapers – all inter-spliced with hardcore porn videos, plus pictures of both clothed and naked women.
The ways in which their brains responded to this diverse imagery were compared with the responses of a group of healthy volunteers.
She was interested in a particular brain region called the ventral striatum – the ‘reward centre’ – where our sense of pleasure is produced. This is one of the areas where an addict will show a heightened response to visual representations of their addiction – whether it’s a syringe or a bottle of vodka.
‘Letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house’
What we discovered was a revelation. When shown porn, the reward centre of normal volunteers barely reacted, but that of the compulsive porn users lit up like a Christmas tree.
The compulsive porn users’ brains showed clear parallels with those with substance addictions.
Everybody on the project was astounded, even Dr Voon, who admitted she had been ‘sceptical and ambivalent’ about the study at the outset.
If porn does have the insidious power to be addictive, then letting our children consume it freely via the internet is like leaving heroin lying around the house, or handing out vodka at the school gates.
And this toxic effect is filtering down directly into young girls’ lives.
The most shocking testament came from Professor Gail Dines. Regarded as the world’s leading anti-pornography campaigner, she has interviewed thousands of men and women about sex and pornography.
‘When you interview young women about their experiences of sex, you see an increased level of violence: rough, violent sex,’ she says.
‘That is directly because of porn, as young boys are getting their sexual cues from men in porn who are acting as if they’re sexual psychopaths.
‘Pornography is sexually traumatising an entire generation of boys.’
By talking with sexual addiction experts such as Professor John E Grant of the University of Chicago, Dr Paula Hall, the UK’s top sex addiction therapist, and Professor Matt Field from the University of Liverpool, we learned that the teenage brain is especially vulnerable to addiction.
The brain’s reward centre is fully developed by the time we’re teenagers, but the part of the brain that regulates our urges – the pre-frontal cortex – isn’t fully developed until our mid-20s. The brains of teenagers are not wired to say ‘stop’, they are wired to want more. The implications of this study are profoundly troubling.
So who is going to take on the responsibility for protecting our children until they are old enough to do it for themselves?
Can we rely on schools? It strikes me that the current sex education system in the UK – where schools are obliged only to teach the basics of reproduction and the perils of sex, which they can opt out of anyway – is hopelessly outdated.
In the internet age, our children are turning to online porn for an alternative sex education – the worst place they can go.
The Mail claimed a victory in July when David Cameron announced that by the end of 2014 all 19 million UK homes currently connected to the internet will be contacted by service providers and told they must say whether family friendly filters that block all porn sites should be switched on or off.
But our TV show proved that determined children will always find a way around online blocks.
Ultimately, the responsibility lies with us, the parents. The age of innocence is over. Like many parents, I fear that my boy’s childhood could be taken away by pornography. So we have to fight back.We need to get tech-savvy, and as toe-curling as it seems, we are the first generation that will have to talk to our children about porn.
We have to tell our kids that pornographic sex is fake and real sex is about love, not lust.
By talking to them, they stand a chance. If we stick our head in the sand, we are fooling only ourselves.
Comments : 5 Comments »
Tags: David Cameron, Facebook, Internet pornography, Jonny, Martin Daubney, Northern England, Pornography, Sex Education
Categories : Pornography
Sex. The topic that dictates the plotline of every TV show, be the driving force behind all movies and be the hidden meaning behind every song lyric innuendo. What used to be a topic that was only acceptable to whisper about in the privacy of your own home is now part of our everyday interactions. Ever catch an episode of Sex and the City? Ever listen to a rap song or secretly play Boyz II Men every night? Ever put on an action flick because you know the hero is going to have a steamy make-out sesh just as the villain starts raining bullets down on his ass? Now let me pose a different sort of question: if we are so aware of everything even remotely involved with sex, what does it mean to be a virgin anymore?
Yes, I said it. VIRGIN. It used to be “shocking” to discover anyone was having sex at all, and now it’s “shocking” to discover anyone isn’t having sex. How many twenty-somethings do you know who are virgins? None? One? That crazy kid who never leaves his dorm room long enough to have a social interaction that could lead to, well, any real human contact? Well let me squash that stereotype for you [I’m sure he left his dorm room once to buy more Ramen and a backup power cord for his backup laptop]. We’re out there. And we’re not all ultra-Christian, ultra-Mormon, really ultra-religious anything. We’re not ultra-conservative, have ultra-overbearing parents, ultra-sheltered anythings. In fact, if you met some of us on the street or [gasp!] at a party, you’d be hard-pressed to suspect a thing. You see, we don’t actually have flashing neon signs that say VIRGIN ALERT over our heads.
We’re not even all prudes. Some of us have friends of the opposite sex. Some of us have been kissed a few times. Some of us get wasted and dance on tables and make-out with the dashing British boy from Intro to Psych. Some of us haven’t spent the night in our own beds after a party. Some of us have been in long-term relationships. Some of us have done things a lady doesn’t mention in mixed company.
So what exactly is stopping us from sealing the deal? Now, before you start calling me super traditional, wait-until-I’m-married-before-I-even-think-about-wearing-anything-but-white, born and bred virgin, let me begin by saying that is far from the truth. I personally don’t see the point in waiting until your wedding night to be left with what can only be a very awkward encounter with the person you just pledged the rest of your life to. Yikes. There is a good chance that I might never get married. And not in an “I’m going to die an old maid” type of not married, but I don’t feel it is a critical part of my life necessary for happiness with the poor guy I choose to spend my dying days with.
What is it then? Is there something overly righteous about us that we haven’t succumbed to the peer pressure of society? If you’re going for shock-value, try walking into a room full of your peers and shouting SUCK IT WORLD, I’M A VIRGIN as loud as humanly possible. I haven’t tried it, but I can only imagine what would follow [in the very least some brave soul should eek out a that’s what she said joke]. I guarantee you’d be treated differently afterwards. There would be the pitiers [when you’re a virgin you get a free-pass on making up words]: “Oh you poor precious thing! Don’t you worry child, someone will deflower you someday.” And the freaked out: “Yeah, so when I asked you on that date the other day, I forgot I had to see my aunt’s best friend’s nephew’s brother-in-law’s cousin’s kid in her second grade play debut….” And don’t forget those who will find words to be too advanced for their level of understanding: “I mean, it’s no big deal…. Um… Yeah… I mean, I guess it’s kind of weird… but no, it’s cool….” Um, okay. What you’re really all thinking [besides those actually ultra-conservative and/or religious folk who are probably patting you vigorously on the back right now and inviting you to make a presentation on the art of celibacy to their ultra-conservative and/or religious club next Thursday]: “What’s wrong with her? That girl is such a prude.”
Now what I don’t understand is why I’m supposed to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the fact that I’m a virgin. If it’s not such a big deal to lose your virginity, then why is it such a big deal to still be a virgin? So what if I haven’t had a guy’s charms keep me enthralled long enough to pop my cherry? So what if I don’t have to worry about renewing my birth control just in case the boy I’m flirting with on Saturday night doesn’t bring a condom? I don’t think I should be looked at any differently because I haven’t indulged in the pleasures of a one-night stand with the hot guy from the bar or had a romantic stay at a B&B with a cute little four-posted bed covered in rose petals.
We are so inundated with the idea of sex that we pretty much just assume everyone is constantly locked in the thralls of ecstasy. Even doctors are skeptical of our virgin-ness. Like I’m lying to her when she asks my favourite question: “Are you sexually active?” When I respond with a dignified, “No,” she immediately replies with a skeptical, “Have you ever been?” Two minutes later I still find myself peeing in a cup so she can tell me that I am, in fact, not pregnant. Thank goodness, I was really worried that my sprained ankle was the result of a divine pregnancy.
When did it happen that being a virgin was no longer something considered to be, if not something you particularly care about yourself, something commendable? Is there an age that being a virgin goes from something we are respected for to something we should hide? So if we adhere to society’s absurd rules, we end up awkwardly clinging to our virginity under the veil of being sexually active. This, in my experience, usually only saddles you with the label “tease,” which only seems to be slightly more encouraging than the derogative undertones the word “virgin” seems to have developed. Announcing your virginity leads people to think you will be like that clingy crazy girl Vince Vaughn shags in Wedding Crashers or your greatest goal is to immortalize Steve Carrell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
So why do virgins get such a bad rap? Is it that despite this open dialogue we think we have about sex, we’re all still a little embarrassed about it and therefore blame the “pure” for making us feel just a little bit of shame for exercising our carnal desires? Is everyone really as comfortable talking about it as they claim to be? Well, hate to break the news, but us virgins are not perfect. And we’re not any better than you simply because we somehow managed to build up a stronghold of will power against our sexual impulses [fun fact: even virgins have sex drives]. But you’re also not any better than us simply because you have experienced life’s greatest pleasure outside of childbirth [the jury is still out on that one being a remotely enjoyable experience, but rumor has it it’s not quite as trauma-inducing as the Miracle of Life video I passed out during in ninth grade].
For the record, it’s not like I planned to still be a virgin at this point in my life. In fact, I too would like to experience life’s second greatest pleasure [not to totally ditch the Virgins United club]. But I think that part of being a strong, independent woman in this evolving world is that not settling for less than I think I deserve. I think I deserve my first time to be with someone who loves me. Someone who respects me. Someone who gets where I’ve been and where I’m going. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I don’t think I should be ashamed that I haven’t felt strongly enough about someone to hand over the keys of my chastity belt yet. I don’t think I should have my virginity be labeled as “baggage.” I don’t think I should feel awkward about the fact that when I do lose my virginity, it’ll probably be a colossal hot mess of inexperienced fail. And I’m okay with that. Incidentally, dropping the fact that your V-card has had exactly zero transactions is a great way to weed out all the guys who were only signing up for that one-time big purchase. And to the guys [and gals!] that aren’t tripping over themselves running for the door, I tip my hat to you.
So while I applaud my friends that have followed Samantha’s weaving path through endless bedrooms in The City, I will wait. And there is no shame in waiting.
By Holly V. Furman and Kayla Jackson. This article was first published in Hellogiggles.com
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Tags: 40-Year-Old Virgin, Sex and the City, Sex Education, Sexual intercourse, Sexuality, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Virginity
Categories : Sexuality