This is the latest in my "Greater Understanding" series, in which instead of taking a topic from a textbook I present real people's experiences in their own words. I had been speaking with a friend of mine about sex recently when I realized her views might be something you might find interesting...
"I was asked to write about what it means to me to be a virgin. Barry, I guess, gave me free reins on this question. So I will attempt to not ramble on aimlessly.
What does my virginity mean to me? It means a lot to me and yet it means nothing. It’s one of my greatest tests of will, strength and even pride, yet one of my greatest insecurities. I like to put on a show that I don’t care, that this piece of tissue that was once used to ensure that the purchase of a wife was securely made, that the semen that entered her body was his alone, and the offspring that came of that union could only be his and no others, is something I care little about. But I think I’ve been putting on a guarded exterior to keep the world from knowing that I do care and that this is a piece of myself that I have chosen not to take lightly.
I used to hate telling people, and to be honest still sometimes do. I’m involved in several organizations that revolve around violence against women, where we talk about what it means to be sex positive. People always assume being sex positive means being kinky and pro-sex work and being accepting of all different sexual interests. But I find that they consistently forget that being sex positive also means that it’s ok to make the choice not to have sex till you’re ready. That’s where I fall, in this grey zone where I’m choosing to remain a virgin, not for religious reasons, or to conform to societal norms but because I love myself enough to not have sex before I’m ready.
In my younger more naïve days I most definitely thought that I was saving myself for marriage. But as time passed, it no longer felt like it was enough to save myself for an imaginary man that may one day sweep me off my feet and marry me. As I developed, and learned more about my personal views about the world, being a virgin became a political symbol. I found myself getting sick of the notion of waiting for marriage, of waiting for a man; a man who would maybe possibly, hopefully, someday find me, a perfect man who’s been waiting for me to give myself to him. I’m 26 and though I am still a virgin I’m no longer waiting for a man. Why should I save myself simply because societal norms dictate such notions? What is marriage but a contract binding two people together for as long as they choose. Marriage is a symbol, just as virginity has become.
There was a point in time where marriage was nothing more than a property transaction. Where the man bought himself a wife, to take care of the household and of course produce an heir. It was required that she was purchased as a virgin, he needed to take note of the virginal blood to ensure that he made a sound purchase. She was a piece of property, she belonged to him, her body was his and any product of that union absolutely had to belong to no other man. It was the only way he could ensure paternity of any child born within the marriage. Those were the origins of women saving themselves for marriage. As soon as that concept came to play in my mind I knew I could never save myself for another human being, whether it be a man, a woman or anything in between. (I should probably add this caveat….for those who have saved themselves for marriage I see nothing wrong with that, these are simply my views on my body).
So what am I saving myself for? I’m saving myself for….myself. I’m saving myself for that moment in life where I go, you know what? You’re ready. Is it still about the other person? I can’t say it’s not at all about the individual I choose to sleep with but all I know I that the weight won’t be on him but on me. On feeling like I love myself enough to give away something I hold precious. The only requirement I have of him is that he has to be worthy of my body, my soul, my heart. I hope that whenever I lose my virginity that just happens organically, like I’m naturally supposed to move in that direction. I don’t hope for candles and rose petals, just myself and that other person, ready to take another step into life. Maybe this will be the person I spend the rest of my life with, maybe it won't. I don’t know, but what I do know is that it won’t matter because it won't be about forever, it will be about how I feel about that person and how I feel about myself in that moment. What I want to remember years from that day is…it just happened and it was great."
Thanks L. for contributing. Your words, as always, are appreciated. :)