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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The 26 Year Old Virgin

Ok let’s say the word. Breathe in “virgin.” Now breathe out. Good. See, it wasn’t that bad after all. Stats show that most girls lose their virginity around the age of 17. Let’s just say I’m a very late bloomer. Like 10 years late as I am approaching my 27th birthday (with fear and trembling I might add).  And let me dismiss the haters right now. I am NOT asexual, gay, or insecure. I am not a naïve country bumpkin who was homeschooled and reared in some uber-conservative evangelical home.  To the contrary, I am an educated, conscientious, Baltimorean, who grew up in a home that was less than ideal. I was raised in the ghetto and graduated from public high school, and I was never insulated from society’s woes because every day they smacked me in the face. I have never had an issue with my sexuality and I have always been attracted to the opposite sex as long as I can remember.

Oh perhaps I am so ugly or have such a disagreeable disposition that I am incapable of attracting a man who could want me? I find this assumption dubious as most people who meet me find me pleasant, and open, and to quote my cousin “you can put a paper bag over someone’s head and [have sex with] them anyway. So yes, even ugly and disagreeable people get laid.

Of course, when I originally made the abstinence commitment I was a child and then I recommitted to it as a teenager. I watched what sex, in the wrong context, did to people. I saw 13 year olds give birth, single mothers contract AIDS,  hearts broken and families torn apart and decided that maybe God’s way was the right way. But I’m not 16 years old making an abstinence vow. I’m 26 and I live in a sex crazed culture. I’m aware that I look like an idiot. Try being 26 and explaining to the person your dating that you won’t have sex before marriage and see how that pans out for you.  There is a strong correlation to my commitment to abstinence and my being single.  So how am I going to get the monogamous relationship? It’s a sick cycle.

What has my commitment to my convictions done for me? I have been laughed at severely. I constantly have to justify my decision to people who are closest to me. (After all it’s not like I wear a placard with an arrow pointing at my crotch that says “virgin territory”.) I always have to answer the question “why don’t you have a man?” (Umm this isn’t caveman times. I can’t hit some poor dope upside the head and drag him back to my apartment by his hair). Also I don't like to be treated poorly. In fact, I'm allergic to mistreatment and so any
relationship that is not based on egalitarian principles and that isn't mutually beneficial aint for me! In short, I'd rather be alone than abused!

And let me state vehemently that I am NOT “saving myself for marriage.” I have always thought that was, Um, stupid. It implies that if one does have sex that they are somehow tarnished and unworthy. There's a tacit snobbery in that arrogant line of thinking that, quite frankly, pisses me off. You're not holier or superior because you "saved yourself." In fact, the experienced person has more to offer in the way of, let's see, EXPERIENCE when it comes to sexually satisfying their spouse. Let's just keep it real people! Nor do I care at all what my (nonexistent) future husband thinks about my sexual choices. I’m not naïve enough to think that, should he exist, he is saving himself for me. I made my choice because I believe the Bible. Shoot me. I believe that God invented sex (not Trey Songz) and so He should know a thing or two about how it should be had. The context that He gave for sex, and the safest most emotionally intimate context, is marriage. And so my decision is to please God, and I could care less about my future husband, my church, my clergyman blah blah blah.

I think back to my college years. I was dating a guy I found very attractive. We were making out, and touching, and pieces of clothing were coming off and I was blissfully enjoying the moments, but conscience wouldn’t let me go through with something that violated God’s commandments.  To quote Joseph from the old testament when he was seduced by Potiphars wife,” how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen 39). The answer was that I couldn’t. So I grabbed my things and left. And that’s been my life. Yes I’ve slipped up and taken things to sexual levels they shouldn’t have been. I never try to paint myself as innocent. But I write here knowing that I have never had anal, oral, or vaginal sex. I do not masturbate or watch porn or engage in any other sexually immoral behavior. And for the last three years I’ve been as celibate as a person can be. No dating, no kissing, no NOTHING. 

And yet as adamant as I am about my decision, there is a quandary. A few weeks ago I watched a documentary that once more discussed the singleness of black women. 45% of black women have never been married. There was one woman who had a particularly profound influence on me. She was 44 and still a virgin. I almost cried. Perhaps that would be me and I’d be on some documentary as a social anomaly. I felt pain. To live that long and to never have been intimate with another person seems like a sentence worse than death. Perhaps I am cursed too I thought. See, when I made my decision I didn’t think I’d be nearing my thirties and still unsexed. Not that I want to rush into marriage, but I figured that I’d be in a solid monogamous relationship by now and that sex would be somewhere on the horizon. As I look now the whole thing seems hopeless.

 I am an incredibly sexual person with urges and needs just like anyone else. And here I sit disillusioned that my desire to do the right thing has been rewarded by a singleness and celibacy I never asked for or imagined. Some morally weaker days I think maybe I’ll just experiment and have sex and at least I won’t have to dry up or die a virgin. But I can’t imagine myself having sex without love, without intimacy, to do so would make me no different than an animal in heat. So what do I do? Or rather how long won’t I do it? I don’t know. I don’t consider myself an optimist, despite being a Christian. My thoughts about this world are bleak.  And so on days like this when disillusionment and loneliness are most acute, I sit and type this bitter, yet honest blog. Sorting out my thoughts and wondering why God would leave me in this state. Is the right thing ever rewarded?

I don’t know. But I still press on. Clinging to my antiquated moral positions, knowing that few even understand and even fewer empathize with me, until…..