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Trust a virgin: waiting ‘til you’re ready won’t kill you

April 1, 2013


Photo by Justin Wan | The State News

Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.

When I was 7, I expected to get my graduation cap and gown around the same time I’d get a ring on my finger. I’m not sure where this timeline came from, but as I grew older, I began to realize how silly it was. If I ever get married, it’ll happen when I meet a person I’d be comfortable spending the rest of my life with. Most of my peers agree with me.

Also — when I was 13, I expected to start having sex around the time I entered college. I’m not sure where this timeline came from either. It also was very silly.

If I ever have sex, (yes, you read that right) it’ll happen when I meet someone I am sexually attracted to and comfortable with, while in a safe situation — aka, I’m not going to get pregnant or get an STI.

But too often, our culture doesn’t seem to agree with that. In the last four years, I’ve heard numerous stories of people who, either for the first time or another time, regretted having sex.

They were tired of waiting, they wanted to get it over with, they were lonely, they wanted to make someone like them, they wanted to get closer to someone, they were seeking acceptance and validation — they felt pressured.

About a third to a fifth of 18-24 year olds felt pressure to have sex, whether they were sexually active or not, according to a 2003 Kaiser Family Foundation survey. For both men and women, those pressures increased from the ages of 15-17 to 18-24.

More than half said there was pressure to have sex by a certain age. About 65 percent of the sexually active and 55 percent of the non-sexually active agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” with the statement “waiting to have sex is a nice idea, but no one really does.”

We live in a generation that has vowed to be open-minded about sex.

Women speak out against being categorized as “sluts” because they have slept with multiple partners. The LGBT community speaks out against categorizing love between someone with the anatomy of a man and someone with the anatomy of a woman.

Yet, the atmosphere of acceptance seems to stop when the sex does. There’s a pressure to “lose it” and a stigma attached to the word “virgin.”

Don’t get me wrong, sex itself is great. I fully support any two — or more — consenting adults who would like to engage in sexual intercourse in any form they chose.

But what shouldn’t be normal is the pressure.

What shouldn’t be normal are people who regret their first time, or second time or that night last weekend.

What shouldn’t be normal are people feeling ashamed because they haven’t been in a position where sex was comfortable, desirable, consensual and safe.

What shouldn’t be normal is the idea that sex is such an essential component of life you’re not getting the full college experience without it.

People pick different reasons to have sex. Some wait for “the” right person. I am waiting for “a” right person.

Some people need only wait for themselves to be ready. There’s nothing wrong with any of that.

The most important thing — whether you have had zero partners or 200 — is that you are secure enough with yourself to stand by your decisions.

Don’t let your roommate, your priest, your friends, your coworkers, your siblings — anyone — tell you when or what you should be doing in a very private and personal aspect of your life.

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Be true to yourself, especially when you feel the pressure.

Because if you cave to pressure — I don’t care how good the sex is — eventually, you are going to feel like crap.

Trust the virgin — you can have a great dating life, and even a great bedroom life, without having sex.

Your non-virgin friends will not abandon you (at least not the ones worthy of your friendship).

You can have a complete college experience without ever having to worry about a broken condom or who is going to pay $50 for the Plan B. You can find love, you can feel sexy, you can be healthy without sex.

Unless you are in the porn industry — and even then — sex doesn’t define who you are.

Knowing that and sticking to it under pressure — that’s pretty climatic right there.

Emily Wilkins is the managing editor at The State News and a journalism and political science senior. Reach her at wilki196@msu.edu.


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