Lady Friday tackles her most controversial topic yet – losing (or keeping) your virginity. Warning, this week’s episode is PG-rated and may bring back painful … or pleasurable memories.
We just survived Winter; that dreaded time of year with calf-squeezing winter boots, rampant spluttering on public transport, and alarming invitations to high school reunions (bad luck comes in threes.)
I couldn’t actually go to mine – for which I’m thankful – but I got to thinking, as I politely RSVP’d in the negative, about sex in high school. ‘Doing it’ at my all-girl’s school was shrouded in a mystical veil, as if beforehand both people performed animal sacrifices. Once you ‘did it’, you were different. If somebody found you sexy, even if he was a pimply sallow weed, you could strut around like Carmen Electra.
Good girls didn’t, but plenty of my schoolmates did – and got pregnant, got STDs, were date-raped, and had those disappointing sexual experiences you only have when you’re 16 and daft. We were living in a fog of ignorance, MTV-driven ‘hypersexualisation and hormonal bewilderment. The boys were out there to be lured, but once we had them we were, to quote a film classic of the era, clueless.
Which brings me to my focus – the girls who didn’t. Maybe it’s a curious choice to centre a sex blog on the abstinent, but ‘waiting’ is an increasingly enigmatic decision. On the one hand, girls growing up today have music videos, fashion magazines and cultural norms encouraging them to suck it in, stick it out, flaunt it, wiggle it and let it all hang out. Paris Hilton, step forward.
On the other, they have CNN stories about ‘chastity rings’ on pop stars (like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus), and creepy no-sex-till-marriage vows made to dads in the American South. When I was in high school, the two worst insults, paradoxically, were ‘slut’ and ‘frigid’.
At my reunion – and we’re quite far out of school now – there will still be some girls, heavily religious and not, beautiful and not, who haven’t. They haven’t been in a long-term relationship; they haven’t found somebody they’re comfortable with; they’re just ‘not ready’ – whatever. The problem is, those women often feel like utter three-headed freaks.
(Yes, this applies to boys too. Still, The 40-Year-Old Virgin would have had more jokes about the Amish, Puritans and uptight snobs had Steve Carell been a girl.)
Frankly, abstinence gets a bad rap. Virginity these days seems to be some kind of scab everybody’s trying to pick as soon as possible. Society places so much emphasis on its loss (think American Pie) that, outside religion, it doesn’t really have a safe place for those who wait. Not “stopping dating for a few months after a bad break-up”, not “cleansing sexual chakras”, just ordinary waiting. And that, friends, is not fair.
It’s also dangerous. I know several women who thought they were ‘abnormal’ because they still hadn’t had sex, and rushed out to jump somebody just to feel comfortable. The icky after-feelings were catastrophic.
So let’s try to empower the ones who wait – into their 20s, their 30s, or later. Knowing you’re ‘not ready’ is a big decision. And no, this isn’t my pity vote for the sexless geeks. After all, there will be plenty of girls at my high school reunion who’ll look back on their 16-year-old fumblings as mistakes, and wish they’d done it differently.
Lady Friday xx
Taking pillow talk out of the bedroom (every Friday!)
Rescu. wants to know your thoughts. Did you regret your first time? Or was it worth the wait?