You dodge sex talks with certain friends and when things get too close with guys, you (and they!) freak. But as out-and-proud virgin Peta Melrose explains, flying the V-flag isn’t something to be ashamed of.
“Hey, so I was thinking about this Saturday night. Like, I think we might need to stop it here. You’re nice and funny, smart, generous and I really like hanging out with you but…”
“Yep, but…?” I said down the phone. I could already see where this was going.
“Well, like, all guys kinda kn-no-ow,” stumbled Chris*, before finally spitting out the following. “If they sleep with a virgin, it basically means that the girl will go all crazy, then assume they have to start dating and I just don’t want that.”
This is the exact phone call I received while I was heading home on the train from work one Tuesday evening.
Here’s some background information about me: I’m 24, have a successful career, a solid group of girlfriends, have travelled all around the world and I’m happy with my life. Oh, and if you hadn’t already picked up on it, I’m a virgin.
I’m a pretty straight-down-the-line kinda girl. If I don’t want to do something, I won’t. And I literally didn’t “do” Chris because, well, frankly, he was a tool. When things started to get pretty hot and heavy that Saturday night, I told him I’d never actually done “this” before and didn’t want to that night. His face dropped, showing 50 shades of disappointment, so I grabbed my keys and got out of there quick. I wasn’t going to be made to feel like an idiot over my virginity.
So when Chris called me that night to call things off, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Because if he hadn’t have done it, I was definitely going to myself.
I’ve had friends who felt obliged to sleep with guys or were so drunk they don’t remember it – that’s just not me. Some slept with their first boyfriend when they were 14, while others waited until they were married. And that’s fine. But for me, it’s just never happened.
I haven’t had a boyfriend and I’m not the type of girl who has the urge to sleep with a random guy on a night out. I’ve never placed too much importance on my virginity. I’m not saving myself for The One; it’s just that the right opportunity has never, err, presented itself (thanks, but no thanks, Chris).
At school, I was the studious one and didn’t particularly care for any of the boys in my grade. I have loads of guy mates, but haven’t felt the urge to pursue anything more than a friendship with them.
When I turned 18, every single Saturday night was spent at my local nightclub drinking vodka cranberries while doing laps around the room to scope out the male talent. And every Saturday night ended the same way. I’d see friends jump in cabs with randoms and I’d head home solo. However, before you pull out the world’s tiniest violin, it never bothered me.
While I don’t go screaming this little nugget of information from the roof tops, among my girlfriends, I’m not embarrassed to talk about it at all. It’s funny; once you open up, you realise everyone has a story. One woman in my office has a best pal who waited until she was 26 and another colleague’s friend was 30 when she lost her virginity.
Even pop culture has its share of virgins – like Shoshanna from Girls, and Grey’s Anatomy’s April, who were both in their twenties when they “lost” it. When we were growing up, Hollywood made us believe if you hadn’t had your cherry popped by the time you were 15, there was something wrong with you. But even some big-name celebs have opened up about their first time experiences, with Tina Fey admitting she “couldn’t give it away” until she was well in her twenties and, as she puts it, was an “old virgin”. Chris Martin and Brooke Shields were both 22, and Brazilian Victoria’s Secret goddess Adriana Lima was 27 when she first danced the bedroom tango. So why is it such an embarrassing fact
to still be a virgin in your twenties?
I’m calling BS on the “shame” attached to this topic. So what if you have or haven’t had sex? Big freaking deal. With women now being much more vocal in discussing their sexcapades (hello, Girls), Dr Melissa Kang explains this confidence goes for the twentysomething virgin, too. “Perhaps women are more open now in talking about their preferences, including remaining abstinent,” she explains. Just because it hasn’t happened at age 20 or 29 doesn’t mean it never will. It doesn’t mean you’re weird. It doesn’t mean you’re going to ‘remain on the shelf’ forever like some sort of sad, unwanted toy or that you’re never going to find love. It’s one of those things that not everyone has to talk about. There are more twentysomethings in the same situation than you realise.
If I could rewind to that night with Chris, I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t regret not sleeping with him. Plus, given I’m the kind of person who’ll do what I want when I want, I know the time will come around when it does happen.
Even if that isn’t in the near future, that’s fine by me. I’ve still got a good 16 years before they make a movie about me starring Steve Carell…
Five things you should never say to a 24-year-old virgin…
1. “Your relationship isn’t serious if you haven’t had sex.” Because those one-night stands you’ve had were really meaningful, right?!
2. “But you’re so pretty!” I’m not waiting for someone who thinks I’m Blake Lively’s doppelganger.
3. “You must think I’m such a slut.” Nope, not one bit. Judging anyone’s level of sexual experience is pervy and gross.
4. “Is it because you’re religious?” If it is or isn’t, does it really matter/is it your business?
5. “You don’t act like a virgin.” Oh, do virgins have a particular kind of behaviour? Please, show me how you can pick one out of a crowd right now.