When you’re a hormonal teenager in high school, you’re typically thinking about three things: school, your social life, and sex.
If you’re a girl, then sex is probably foreign and exciting to you, although obviously still awkward to talk about. If you are a guy, then you probably invented countless tales about all the imaginary girls you’ve slept with. Once college came around, sex was more accepted and normalized, but the same misconception still existed that “everyone’s doing it.”
Though there are a few differences between how we perceive sex in high school and college, what is most striking is how we treat the topic of virginity.
In high school, it was common for people to “cash in their v-cards” so that by the time they got to college, it was assumed (re: expected) that they weren’t a virgin.
This is especially true in college, where there are a lot of opportunities for sex. I’ll occasionally hear someone in the girls’ bathroom exclaim, “No, you’re still a—oh-my-God!” Apparently, it’s so shocking that you can’t even say it aloud (kind of like Voldemort).
Yes, people: Believe it or not, college virgins exist. They may be rare and considered an endangered species, but for various reasons, sex is not something they’ve dabbled in yet.
During a recent sleepover, one of my girlfriends said she was proud of her v-card membership despite being a senior in college. She was neither religious nor very traditional. In response, another girl quipped, “Yeah, but don’t wait too long or the cats will start coming to you.”
As you become older (and sex becomes more accessible), the choice to remain a virgin is not considered a noble one—it’s an anomaly. Why haven’t you had sex yet? Are you anti-social? Are you a wimp? These are just some of the questions you get when you confess to your still intact cherry status.
OK, let’s do a quick history refresher. Many of us already know that in the past, being a female virgin before marriage set you apart from the dirty, immoral women. Although there was no such stigma with men, the amount of pressure placed on men towards losing their virginities was the same amount placed on women, who were culturally obligated to preserve it.
The question is, if sex has become “normalized” in college today, does being a virgin make you more or less desirable to a potential partner?
When I asked this question to my guy friends, their answers were polarized. Some guys believed it’s actually pretty hot to sleep with a virgin because your “cave-man instincts” kick in (nice to know how much evolution has affected the male psyche) and you know that you are the only one she’s ever been with (no pressure).
The flip side to this is the belief that once you sleep with a virgin, you run the risk of her turning into a “stage-seven clinger” who spends her days cataloguing your future wedding and her nights (after sex) asking you questions like, “Baby, why weren’t picking up your phone today? I called you like 10 times.”
Alright, let’s stop hating on the guys for a second here. When I asked my girlfriends whether they would want to have sex with a guy who was a virgin, the answer was actually a lot more unanimous: “No, because I’d want him to know what he was doing.” So whether or not girls value their virginity may be irrelevant here. Every girl has the fantasy of a hot guy knowing how to turn you on and how to cuddle afterwards.
Got that, guys?
The reality seems to be that unlike the dark ages, today’s perception of virginity seems to have gotten a lot more complicated, especially for women. Though the idea of waiting before marriage seems a bit outdated to me, I can’t help but feel a headache coming on with all of these unspoken rules that everyone is expected to know. Ironically, these rules, which encourage you to have sex, may be the biggest hindrance of all.
Gao is a member of
the class of 2014.