I had sex for the very first time at the age of twenty-four. No, you read that correctly – that’s a 2-4, not 1-4. You must be wondering how that’s even possible. You probably didn’t even realize there were any living virgins above the age of twenty, except for Mary Magdalene. I bet you’re wondering – didn’t my vagina and sex drive wither and die at this ripe old age? Did I miss the critical period of sexual exploration? Wouldn’t my vagina have packed it in and shipped out by that age, moving on in search of greener and more active pastures? Even more so, who in their right mind would want to deflower a twenty-four year old virgin? No, it’s ok. Trust me, the meanest things you could say about my middle-aged virgindom, I’ve already said them all to myself. Not having tons of awkward thrilling sweaty sticky sex throughout your late teens and early twenties is not only virtually unheard of but it’s also pretty shamed by today’s society. You reach a certain age and sex and dating are inevitably the topic of conversation at every social gathering and family reunion. Sometimes I could pass by staying quiet and simply affirming the sexual decisions and not-so-great relationships of my friends, but often my silence gave me away on the spot. For many years I felt like a character out of The Scarlet Letter, except my letter was V for Virgin. I was full of all kinds of self-loathing and sadness over my lack of sexual experience as a young person. I worried that because I wasn’t having sex, something was deeply wrong with me.
Even though it doesn’t matter, I had my reasons for not getting to know anyone in the biblical sense. [For more information on that story, check out Wendy and Me] Without being able to put my finger on any of these things until much later, I spent almost all of college pitying myself and basically believing that I wasn’t worthy of affection from men, let alone their sexual attention. Until December of 2015, the first and only penis I saw live in the flesh was that of a nude model in my drawing class freshman year of college. I was always curious but never secure enough to put myself out there and engage in steps that could lead to intimacy. I was embarrassed to admit this to peers so I started to talk to friends as if I had had sex. Everyone assumed I had so why correct them? My embarrassment grew deep roots.
Jump ahead a few years to Coffee Meets Bagel and girl meets boy. The details are your standard boy meets girl (I’m the girl), boy courts girl story with a plot twist: girl asks boy back to apartment wherein boy notifies girl of virginity. Girl, shocked to have discovered surely the only other over 21-virgin on the planet Earth, feels elated, excited, eager. Boy and girl proceed to have one round of awkward sex and then many subsequent rounds of good, better, great, and AWESOME sex in rapid succession full of enthusiastic consent, sweet cuddling, midnight talks, peanut butter and jelly sandwich snack breaks, followed by more sex. There was lost time to make up for.
I didn’t have sex until I was 24 and when I did, it was GREAT. This revelation broke down my own insecurities and debunked just about everything you could ever read in a Cosmopolitan magazine. It made me want to stand on the top of the tallest mountain and yell out to girls everywhere: “You too can wait to have sex until when you are excited about it, whatever the age! Pay no mind to socially constructed norms of female sexuality and the “appropriate” age to become sexually active!” I wanted to call CNN and alert them to a breaking story: there are completely normal awesome people who don’t have sex until later in their lives. While our society has become a sex crazed porn obsessed land of big tits and jumbo dicks that expects all functioning beings to have sex as soon as they sprout a pubic hair, I and many other amazing women (Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling anyone?) started having sex at any number of amazing ages, none of which began with the number one. No shame to those of you who swiped your V-card at high school prom. I envied you at the time and I truly hope that was a wonderful experience. I’m just saying – for all of us who didn’t, don’t ever feel shame for that. For those of us who waited for the right person or the right time rather than the right night, YOU ARE AMAZING TOO. You are sexy and deserve all the intimacy and affection that you would like when you decide you would like it. No number of years on earth with or without sex will change that.