page updated: 30-Mar-2004

When referring to virginity, I mostly use the word itself, but sometimes substitute derivatives of "purity" as a joke. In high school, my friends and I mostly used references to The Big V Club, with people being "in the club" or "out of the club." We also had a Big C Club for (mostly reluctantly) celibate people. These were just descriptive terms, we didn't have club activities or enforce membership or anything. We did have unofficial hand signs (V or C shaped fingers). Lately I also use derivatives of the word "nun"-- nunnish, nunnery, etc. These sort of refer to this tiny bed I used to call my nun bed, and also to my roommate's two spayed nun-cats. I never really use the word "cherry" when referring to a virgin or to virginity, but my dad does (why do I know that?) and it comes up a lot in suggestive jokes on sitcoms and music videos.

In the beginning, I was not aware that I was a virgin or anything else. When I learned what the word meant, I thought it was risque because it referred to sex. I didn't think of myself as a virgin until it became apparent that people my age could have sex. This was in about seventh grade, when I was eleven or twelve. Virginity really wasn't an issue for me at this age, cause pretty much everybody was still expected to be pure. I had never even kissed anybody by then.

I started to get self-conscious about my virgin status once people I knew actually had opportunities to have sex. This was kind of a progression of my previous late-bloomer angst about being the last girl to get a bra and her period and kissed and whatever other pubescent milestones I could perceive.

My attitude towards my virginity was rather complicated. I didn't think that being a virgin was bad, but I didn't want to be one. I was frustrated because I wanted to have sex for the sake of sex, but I was also embarrassed that other people would realise that I whether or not I was saving myself, I didn't have anybody to have sex with. So mainly I was upset about not having a proper chance to have sex, and other people knowing this. There were a few times that I probably could have had sex with a boy, but I didn't because I didn't want the boy. I count that as not having an opportunity. I was more focussed on my lack of sirenly sex appeal than the lack of desirable bed partners, but both were sources of teen angst.

I wasn't upset about this all the time. Sometimes I was fine with people knowing I was a virgin. It was mainly context. I would be uncomfortable if I ever ended up in a conversation which referred to virginity or sex stories. It seemed dangerous, like somebody might figure me out or accuse me. If I thought that somebody might be judging me on my sexual status, then I was uncomfortable. If somebody mentioned the Big V Club or was just discussing ideas about virginity, I had no problem.

For the record, nobody ever actually made fun of me for being a virgin. I was just worried.

The only virgin-teasing incident I can think of at all involved two guys who locked their roommate Mike out of the apartment in his underwear, and demanded that he yell a password to be let back inside. The hint for guessing the password was "It rhymes with 'Mike's a sturgeon.'" In telling the story to me they made a point of clarifying that they didn't think there was anything wrong with being a virgin; they just knew Mike was embarrassed about it.

As a quick aside, I was also very familiar with virgins in the context of the Rocky Horror Show (virgins being people who have never seen it live), where virginity is given a much more fun treatment, based on the attitude that nobody will be a virgin by the end of the night. Oh, the debauchery. Anyway.

Currently, I am not a virgin (Rocky Horror or otherwise), but I know quite a few people my age (21) who are, both males and females. It seems to be less of an issue now than in high school, but that may be because I'm not worried about myself anymore. I've never known anyone who actually cared about whether someone else was a virgin or not. That is probably an important thing to know. Even the orthodox religious people I know only seem to care about the virginity of prospective spouses.

Occasionally I think that it would have been sweet to have saved myself all this time and have been all pure for my beloved, just for the cheesy romanticness of being all his. However, I am glad I had other sex because it was fun, what I wanted to do at the time, and good practise. Besides which I did actually care enough about each of my partners to go to bed with them.

All the statistics I've seen about the percentage of any age group who are sexually active and the average age for first sexual encounter are different. I have no idea what the latest ones are. I used to take consolation if I was in the majority, but that's irrelevant really.

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Hanne Blank’s 20 Questions About Virginity covers great facts about hymens, virginity tests and virgins through history. See also her book Virgin: The Untouched History and related blog.

Sirens Magazine has an honest memoir about the trials of losing one’s virginity at 28.

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