It was in 8th-grade choir class when I was in earshot of a sexual conversation between a group of 14-year-old girls who were amused or just puzzled by my shocked reaction. They spoke candidly on losing their virginity to boys they snuck into the house when their parents were away like a pre-teen “Sex In The City.” How they did it and how it felt until the dismissal bell ring cut their sex talk short.
Welcome to middle school: where you’ll discover girls having oral sex, boys pulling out condoms and a sexual bigmouth who tried to proudly pull his penis out in front of a group of girls.
I was introverted, and had never had sex with a guy let alone kissed one, I was more concerned with catching episodes of “The Simple Life” and writing poetry.
It was 2008, a high school junior when the media was obsessing over this so-called purity culture. When Jessica Simpson revealed she was a virgin on her wedding night or Selena Gomez and damn near every Disney star wore purity rings. I didn’t even know there was a symbol for being sexless, yet I was convinced to try.
I looked at a set of rings at a jewelry store in the mall with a friend but couldn’t afford one. Later that day I went home to ask my father to help me buy it. Violation of rule No. 1: Leave your folks out of your sex life or lack thereof. You’re just inviting ants to a picnic.
“What’s a purity ring? What does that mean?” he asked.
“It means that I’m saving myself for marriage,” I answered.
If I could go back in time, I’d slap myself upside the head. There’s something about the way a father eyes light up from knowing that his daughter won’t fulfill his private nightmare of having sex. He took me the next day only because the mall had closed.
I got my ring, an unblossomed rose, and signed my name to the abstinence pledge in Aug. 2008 at age 17, promising to save myself for my husband.
I could see the pride in my father’s face, saying I was a “good girl” to the salesman and how he was happy to fund something with meaning as he pulled out his wallet to order my purity ring. I realize now that I let him buy stock in my sex life and it makes my skin crawl.
I was in a Wal-Mart checkout line with my mom, who struck up a conversation with the cashier who recognized her. Evidence that my hometown is too damn small where everybody knows everybody; she looked at me and asked about my father.
“He told me about your ring he got you,” she said with a smile as she pointed to my ring finger.
Of course he did, I thought.
I clutched the bag of Cheetos and stared at her, completely caught off guard, wanting my mom to hurry up and pay this damn woman so we could go. I didn’t know her, yet she knew about my virginity because my father was boastful.
Then it snowballed when I spoke with my mother’s old hairstylist Tammy who I met in a community college math class. After she found out who I was -- once again, typical in a small city -- she gave me a look that read, “Girl, let me tell you” about what happened one day in her salon.
Two women sat in the salon chatting about their teenage daughters who were expecting babies. Someone asked my mother if I had children.
Now you would think a simple "no" would go a long way. Not one to bite her tongue, my mother was very vocal. “‘Nope! Zero! My daughter is pure, still a virgin, untouched….pure as a fucking snowflake!’”
Tammy mimicked her response to the women in front of everyone and so much more that I have since repressed. I stood there horrified; fighting to mask my embarrassment through chuckles.
I was so pissed that something intimate was discussed in the gossip capital of the world: a hair salon. There's already a perception that virgins are stuck-up assholes who think they’re better than everyone and my mama poppin’ off with intense pride didn’t make it better.
When she was told about my purity ring, my dad’s sister started thanking God and went into a praise dance in her kitchen . If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have told my parents. I was happy to make them proud, but DAMN.
I’m 24, and I’m a still a virgin both by choice and circumstance of not meeting a guy I feel connected to on more than a physical level.
I stood by my decision because I felt that it made me feel rare and special even though I felt self-conscious. I’m not quite ready to give myself to someone -- it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to -- but I have a fear of feeling used afterward.
My family stayed in my sexual business for awhile. I was out to dinner with my older female cousin and was excited to tell her something.
“You’re not a virgin anymore?” she said with a smirk. This was during my first week of college.
Now that I have virginity to myself again, I deal with wanting intimacy but feeling conflicted if I can hold off for the right one. I often have doubt.
I get turned on. I’m not asexual. It’s like suppressing a fire-breathing dragon and seeing The Rock doesn’t help.I think about sex and I can’t wait until I have it.
Being a virgin has become so ingrained in who I am, but I don’t want to be defined by it or praised for it. I want to feel liberated.
I spoke to a spiritual medium this year who shared with me that I’m “a fairytale waiting to happen,” that my ideal guy will come one day and that she sees children in my future. What I took from that was literally, “Oh my God, I won’t be a virgin forever.”
.I almost asked her whether she could see if I was I good at it, and if I enjoyed it, but after my experiences, I don’t even want the spirits in my sex life.