Pop-Culture | Posted by Kate M on 03/28/2011

Virgin Shaming

not quite.

not quite.

I am almost 18 years old and I am a virgin.

When I tell people this, they kind of just stare at me. They automatically become suspicious because, to look at me, there’s nothing obviously “wrong” with me. And apparently there would have to be if I’m still a virgin. I might as well go buy a couple dozen cats and move into a log cabin on the edge of modern society, though, because if I haven’t lost it yet then I’m destined to be forever alone, in their opinion.

Let me be clear. I’ve been dating since I was about fifteen. I am a healthy, social person who has had opportunities to have sex. And I chose not to. It’s not because I proudly wear a purity ring or am “pure” for religious reasons. It’s not because I’m deathly afraid of getting pregnant or an STI or am ignorant about the topic (I’m well informed about safe sex and take my reproductive rights seriously). In fact, I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t. I haven’t sat down and analyzed the state of my hymen, but I know that it just hasn’t happened yet. And I’m okay with it. I’m just not sure why everybody else is so offended.

Okay, I do kind of understand why in an overly sexual society, where girls can either be prudes or sluts (and not a whole lot else) people my age at school and elsewhere don’t really get or accept the virgin thing – as wrong as I think that whole paradigm is. But I’m looking at you, too, feminist community.

In feminism, when we talk about sex and sexuality the discussion always seems to come back to slut-shaming and the right for a woman to chose what she wants to do with her body. We want the right to express ourselves sexually without being called sluts and we certainly don’t want the double standard that allows men to be worshipped for promiscuity and women to be condemned for the same actions to exist anymore. We want to control our bodies, from a health standpoint, but also so that we’re not tied down by children we’re not ready for. And for many other valid reasons.

For the record, I totally, 100% support this and rally for it.

But I think feminists need to realize that not having sex can be a choice (remember, feminists, we like choice!) that doesn’t necessarily represent patriarchal oppression. Sexual liberation is great, but maybe I’m just not ready to sexually liberate myself, yet. I don’t like feeling like a bad feminist because of this.

There’s definitely a stigma around sexually active girls, but there’s ALSO a stigma around virgins – in society at large, but also in feminism. And that’s something that deserves a little more attention in feminist discussions of sex.

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  • Vertigo @ at 11:11 am, March 28th, 2011

    I completely agree with you.

  • Lillian @ at 11:28 am, March 28th, 2011

    When the contraceptive pill was made available Germaine Greer critisised it because she said it robbed women of the last reason they could give for not having sex. I think it’s interesting that people find saying ‘no’ without giving a reason so strange. Yes sometimes people dont have sex because they don’t like the other person enough, or they’re scared, but other times a person simply doesn’t want to have sex and that should be enough. No means no and yes means yes. The choice is our own and it should be respected.

  • Alec A @ at 11:51 am, March 28th, 2011

    I’m gay and almost 18 and I am in a very similar situation. I tell people I haven’t had sex yet and they think that I must be defective ‘down there’ — really I’d rather not have wild anonymous sex on a nightly basis. I’ve had sexual experiences but I choose to abstain from the act itself until it seems like the right choice to make. Just because I like men does not mean I have to be a male prostitute.

  • Mel @ at 12:12 pm, March 28th, 2011

    I agree! That’s the biggest problem I had with Jessica Valenti’s “The Purity Myth” (and her other writings in general). Choosing not to have sex should be as acceptable as having sex, as long as it’s the individual’s choice. If you know that your worth isn’t measured in your virginity or non-virginity, I say it’s up to you.

  • Maren H @ at 12:56 pm, March 28th, 2011

    I think the entire concept of virginity is best left in the past. It is an ancient patriarchal concept, that I don’t think is valid in modern times. Not that I don’t 100% accept what you are saying in this article, I’ve never had penis-vagina sex either. I’m also a lesbian. I will probably never choose to ‘have sex’ by this narrow definition. So it raises the question; How do you define virginity? Because I’m a lesbian, will I remain some sort of super virgin forever? Can I ever ‘lose it’. And that raises another more important question: WHY should we define virginity?

    I think its unimportant, and your decision not to have sex, is simply a decision you make for you body with mindfulness of all the important decision making factors. You don’t ‘lose’ anything when you choose to have sex. You just choose.

  • kate @ at 1:03 pm, March 28th, 2011

    Maren said exactly what I was thinking. Ita.

  • Natalia @ at 4:31 pm, March 28th, 2011

    Honestly, I’ve never understood why people act all surprised when you’re a virgin. We’re constantly being told that having sex in high school is too young, yet they’re surprised if we haven’t done anything. I also could have had sex at age 16 but I chose not to. Instead I waited for the right time for me, which was when I was 19 (considered to be “old”…).

    Our society has completely lost the meaning of real sex and intimacy and we’ve also really overrated it. Fuck, it’s just sex. It’s not the most important thing in one’s life, but there’s so much emphasis on its importance.

    It’s a personal choice and do it when you want to.

  • Jennifer @ at 4:33 pm, March 28th, 2011

    I didn’t have sex until I was 19… not from the lack of opportunities or any moral issue with sex. I just hadn’t felt like there was anyone I especially wanted to do the deed with. It’s a very personal thing and no one should be pressured to have/or not have sex.

  • A. @ at 8:05 pm, March 28th, 2011

    Excellent post, Kate! Yours is a perspective that definitely needs to be voiced in the feminist community; I agreed with what you said entirely.

  • Natalia @ at 11:12 pm, March 28th, 2011

    Also, I agree on the fact that feminists should be more supportive. Which I think they are, or they should be at least.

  • Katherine C. @ at 11:47 pm, March 28th, 2011

    YES to all of this! And I hate it when *anyone* asks me if I’m a virgin: the only person who can ask this without getting an immediate “none of your fucking business” is my doctor. Not my parents, not my friends, not the guy/girl I’m dating. As a girl, I can’t win either way, so why answer the question? The funny thing is that as soon as someone figures out that I am a feminist, they decide that I am either a slut (because feminists have no sexual inhibitions) or a prude (because feminists hate men and lesbian sex doesn’t count). No matter what I do, no matter what I say, I will be sexually stereotyped and accordingly exploited. So you know what? I do exactly as I please!

  • Liz @ at 12:16 am, March 29th, 2011

    I was on birth control for over two years before it was ever actually relevant to my sexual activity. Being on birth control didn’t make me sexually active, it just made me ready for when I had the opportunity AND felt like it. It’s not like I was rushing out to have sex, and I never felt like I “needed” to or anything… I decided to lose my virginity in a really incidental way, and it was safe and fine. There is a stigma around virginity, and it unfortunately only grows in college, but there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin or being a non-virgin. Choosing to have sex when you want to is healthy!

  • firefly @ at 1:37 am, March 29th, 2011

    Sorry, since there is no “report spam” option, I must go explain things once more to the troll: men DON’T have to have sex with any girl who is dressed “scandalously”. Guys/girls have the mental maturity to ask before harassing/having sex with a girl/guy/whatever. And seriously, being a “tease”? Dressing can be an act of self expression, which might have nothing to do with trying to lure a guy. Trying to seduce a guy and then reject him is not something most people would do, and I certainly don’t think that is the aim of most women. Finally, having more partners might make you have higher standards, but it also helps you to know what you want and what you cannot stand. If you commit to marry someone without dating, and your marriage isn’t a complete fairytale, how will you know if a relationship is healthy or not?

    It is better to date/get into a relationship, not be in a relationship at all, have/do not have sex, etc, when it is the right choice for YOU.

  • Kristen A @ at 2:27 am, March 29th, 2011

    Firefly, I usually choose not to respond to John with anything other than cool story bro. I think he mistook us for the Shieldmaiden section of Spearhead, which is why he continues to use that pen name and post the exact same things he does on Salon and various other sites. Please John, if you support MGTOW, then do as the movement states and go.

    Kate, I totally applaud you. I’ve had this conversation many times with people, choosing to not have sex is just as valid as choosing to have sex. And by sex I don’t mean just cis-hetero sex :) As somebody that has a lifestyle that’s not conducive to long-lasting, monogamous relationships (lots of travel and time spent in cool-ege), I have had various male and female partners over the last five or so years that I did “have sex” with, partners that I did not engage in intercourse with and periods of time where I just wasn’t interested in sex. All legitimate choices, all of which every person has the right to make.

  • O'Phylia @ at 2:38 am, March 29th, 2011

    *waves standard DON’T FEED THE TROLL flag*

    Any way, here, here, Kate!

  • Sarah @ at 2:00 pm, March 29th, 2011

    Hi Kate,
    You say that you don’t feel ready to sexually liberate yourself.But I think that by making a conscious decision about your body and choosing not to have sex until you feel ready, then you ARE sexually liberating yourself.You’re right, feminists have ignored this issue and we shouldn’t have.I’m 24 and I lost my virginity at 20.It was a great experience with a close male friend who I trusted and I don’t regret a minute of it because I know that I waited until I felt ready,even when other people were just telling me to ‘give it up and get it over with’.Unfortunately,I haven’t always made that choice with other sexual partners and feel like I wasn’t really respecting my body or valuing myself enough.After the (final) break-up of a very toxic relationship with a man who preferred to treat me as an option rather than a priority,I realized this and made the decision to not have sex again until I’d learn to have a healthier relationship with myself.It’s been over a year now and trust me at times,it drives me crazy.But my head’s also a lot clearer and I’m learning a lot about myself that I don’t think I would have if I’d carried on the way I was.The next time I have sex, it’ll be because I chose it,and like my first time,it’ll be with someone that I can trust and know respects both my body and my person.I know it’s tough to deal with peer pressure and all the questions,but you sound very strong and I’m sure you’ll know when the right time is for you.
    By the way, I love the FBomb,I know I’m only a few years older but I think its great to see young people engaging with feminism.Keep it up! :-)

  • Miriam @ at 2:17 pm, March 29th, 2011

    Agreed 100%! I lost my virginity when I was 18 to someone I loved and really cared about. That was the only way I was willing to lose it, so that’s why I waited. But I know that different people have different ideas about sex and sexuality and what’s important to me isn’t necessarily important to someone else.

  • Quinc @ at 6:07 pm, March 29th, 2011

    Unfortunately it isn’t necessarily by choice. I’ve been diagnosed with Autism and recently Asperger’s Syndrome, which is to introversion /shyness as clinical depression is to sadness. Though also, my confidence in asking a girl out is shot at this point. Raw confidence is always cited as the most important thing for males who date.

    Connecting with the people around me never comes naturally to me, even when I am feeling confident. When I try to force myself, I feel awkward, and hesitate. I’m often unsure how to start a casual conversation/small talk.

    Like some of the others here, I also want to wait until I’ve found the right person. Maybe not my ultimate soulmate, but somebody I love. That probably means I’ll have to wait even once I am dating regularly. Though getting a one night stand requires great social ability too. Sparking that initial attraction is really daunting for me.

    About these trolls, it seems to me they’ve all got some typically negative experiences with women, repeated rejection, nasty divorce, etc. Considering the above I’m slightly surprised surprised at myself for not being like that, but the idea that “Women are people” and all that implies always seemed a natural and inevitable conclusion for me. I wonder what the difference is?

  • Tess @ at 4:40 am, March 30th, 2011

    @Sarah: Here here! x

  • Jane @ at 9:44 pm, April 1st, 2011

    I know this is late, but after I read this article I’ve been thinking about it for awhile…
    I’m 17 and still a virgin, and I believe that everyone, should have the right to express/explore their sexuality without others’ desires and judgments being projected on you. You have the freedom, and don’t let anyone shame or blame you for it. I have so many more life experiences to experience than just losing my virginity. Pleasant or not so pleasant, it’s just another one of those things in life that I look forward to experiencing, like… going scuba diving or really falling in love with someone. I’m just thankful for what we have already, such as Plan B, Planned Parenthood, condoms, and better comprehensive sex ed, although I’ve never been formally taught any of those things at my highschool…
    I digress. While I admit to feeling slightly envious of my more sexually experienced friends, I just keep reminding myself that its my body and I’m going to go at my pace, my interests, etc. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  • Jane @ at 9:45 pm, April 1st, 2011


    A GREAT article on the idea early sexuality

  • Becky @ at 7:06 am, April 3rd, 2011

    As a 14 year old girl, the issue of losing your virginity has not become huge in my grade, because at my all girls school, I think everyone in my grade is a virgin.
    However, I have not had my “first kiss”, and some people are surprised by that, and automatically assume that I am a “prude”. I have not made the conscious decision not to kiss anyone, in fact I would kiss someone if the opportunity presented itself (by that I mean a boy who I like or respect, not just a random guy). Boys in my grade think I am socially awkward, and are going for the more outlandish girls. It’s not really that I am quiet around guys, more just, well, weird. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my personality or the fact that I have not kissed someone, and though I do hope to have a relationship at some point in high school, I am not in any hurry.
    One “friend” of mine said to me, and this is a direct quote, “Beckyyyy, you would have so many boyfriends by now if you weren’t such a spaz!” I didn’t really know what to say in response, and luckily another girl was there and said, “Hey, I like her personality!”

    SO, though this is not a virginity issue, it does fall into that category, in my oppinion. Girls at my school who haven’t kissed are seen as prude. Not all girls who have kissed are seen as sluts though, so it’s not a complete dichotomy, so to speak.

  • blue milk @ at 9:09 am, April 4th, 2011

    Found my way here via the link to my site in the comment above. Terrific post, so thought-provoking, thanks for writing it.

  • Juliana @ at 4:04 am, April 6th, 2011

    Wow, this article really resonates with me. I was actually just writing a post about how virginity is so often made into something that society owns, but the woman who encompasses that state of being. I think that choosing not to have sex is something only you can choose, which can unfortunately be difficult when everyone is pressuring you otherwise. Something else I was thinking about was how we call it to “lose” your virginity. I really disagree with the idea that one loses something, or enters and entirely different stage of their life after having sex. Virginity is not a mental condition. Nor is the lack thereof. By making it so, we unnecessarily over-dramaticize sex to make it sound scary and life-altering, when really it’s not quite such a big deal.

  • Tomo @ at 1:19 pm, April 11th, 2011

    I’m a girl in my 20s and I do remember when I was younger thinking that most people had had sex apart from myself. I first had sex at 19, but discovered that most girls hadn’t actually had sex before then either. At the ages between 19-21 most people started their first serious relationship (many people now do not count their teenage relationships as a proper relationship), so for timing that seems to work. For me at the age of 19 I became ready mentally, and even though I wasn’t in a relationship at the time it just felt right.

    Also don’t worry about being called a prude or a slag. That tends to be a teenage boy thing- I think the boys are just so desperate to lose their virginity at that age themselves they’re either frustrated or jealous :) They’ll grow out of it!

    (Having said that truely promiscuous behaviour (i.e. lots of one-night stands) for a woman here in southern UK earns the title slut or slag, and for a guy slag or man-whore. Both are derogatory, however the female insults are generally used more often. On the other hand neither women or men are generally criticised for having ‘friends with benefits’.)

  • A. @ at 3:47 pm, April 11th, 2011

    @Becky- I have an almost IDENTICAL situation!

  • Therese @ at 8:31 pm, April 13th, 2011

    Im 20 and never had sex. the idea that kids as young as 14 immediatly having sex or maybe even younger is kinda gross.

  • Meredith @ at 4:28 am, April 14th, 2011

    Brilliantly said and sadly true… I am glad you have the self knowledge to know you are not ready, and the confidence to know you’ll know when you are ready. For you, the word choice is correct and when (if) you decide to have sex, you will have chosen to do so. However, the word “choice” means reaching a decision through a mental process, and thus implies understanding; more importantly an understating of one’s wants and needs, and of one’s self. I would not call what many young women today do “making a decision” to have sex. They know what sex is, how to do it and feel they should do it, but I don’t think many girls and young women understand, or have even ever thought about their own sexuality or what sex means to them. Knowing what college is, having a concept of who/what a person who goes to college is like, or even the steps you take to get into college is NOT the same thing as choosing which college you WANT to go to based on which college will be the best for YOU.
    I decided to have sex when I was 14, and I mean actively considered why I wanted to have sex, why this person, chose to have sex and have never regretted my decision.
    My younger sister waited until she was 21, with no apologies, and actively decided to have sex when she was ready, and she too has never regretted her decision. Because I wanted my sister to have a good first experience, as I did, and didn’t want her to feel pressured when she wasn’t ready,I used to tell her, when you decide to have sex for the first time, it did not matter WHEN, but WHO. I still think this is true, and not bad advice, but have revised this statement. As a 29 year old woman, the advice I would give to any young person about choosing to have sex, especially the first time, but truly, every time: When is not really important, except that the When is right for You. Who is important for many reasons but simply put sex requires, minimally, two people, any less is masturbation (masturbation is not less good than sex, it is quite good, but is not, by definition, sex), good sex is a team effort. Lastly, and most importantly, Why? why do YOU want to have sex? Ask yourself every time.
    Keep standing up for your right to self determination. Remember, no one else lies awake at night wondering what you will choose to wear, read, or have for lunch tomorrow, they are to busy worrying about what they will have for lunch tomorrow.–except, maybe, your mom

  • Alex Catigirl @ at 11:27 am, April 18th, 2011

    Choosing to remain a virgin after your body had gone though puberty is inherently odd, abnormal in the clinical/medical sense.

    It would be like a young child whose body has developed physical / neurological to the point where they should be able to walk/talk and yet they don’t. To a child development specialist, that screams something is wrong.

    As sexual creatures, we are biologically programmed to have sex, so when people do not, the natural question becomes – Why not?

    Of course few things have screwed up by really bad, ill adaptive social practices like human sexuality, sex is a physical response to an internal stimuli – the need for oxygen is so intense breathing is handled by the autonomic nervous system, but when you are thirsty you drink, when you are hungry you eat, and when you are horny you are suppose to have sex – it really is that simple.

    In many ways humans are quite stupid, they have erected social constructs to biological necessities – while constructs such as “dinner time” are simply foolish, the expectation that people should deny themselves sex until they find that “special” person is downright destructive…Homo Sapiens are NOT monogamous by nature, attempting to be something they are not is guaranteed to end badly.

  • Karen @ at 3:00 pm, May 12th, 2011

    What a fantastic post; I applaud you! Thanks for writing about a topic that is so prevalent, so pervasive, so annoying, and yet so glanced over and ignored. My biggest frustration lies in the virgin/slut dichotomy: the fact that in our society young women can be one of the two and nothing else.

    My biggest question is why people don’t call this ridiculous double standard/ impossible expectation out for what it is. I know I do now that I’m more established as a junior in college and don’t feel frightened that I’ll be cast out for speaking up. I just wish more people – men and women – would speak up about this and illustrate how crazy it is. That’s the first step in changing this oppressive and hurtful social structure after all. Good post; love it, thank you!

    p.s- I just found this site today and am an addict :)

  • Renee @ at 8:57 am, May 28th, 2011

    I kinda feel so unconnected to this post….ive never been called a prude or a slut…and frankly that’s not what they define you as where I come from(its mostly by it’s mostly by brains and manners)…so far I’ve been called a horny christian which I retored back with confused catholic (that got a few laughs) but that’s about it so to me this post is about someone who got there feelings hurt….

  • Hope @ at 5:22 am, July 13th, 2011

    @Alex Catigirl
    Those are interesting points, but honestly I think it’d be really weird if tweens started having sex just cause they already developed (what IF they got pregnant? a 13 year old having a baby would not be good—no money,no job, no education, maturity’s not there…). The social constructs make sense. Those basic needs were met in basic ways when humans were “wild”. We now live in a modern world where we don’t have to go hunt to eat and therefore can choose what and when we eat–hell, we don’t even have to eat meat if we don’t want to. Likewise, I don’t need to immediately go and find a mate and make babies just cause my body is capable of that–that was the original purpose of being horny.

    Awesome article Kate M–sex really isn’t such a big deal. Do it when you want to :) (and of course safely)

  • Alexa @ at 4:29 pm, July 21st, 2011

    I just reread this and still love it. This one line is just fabulous: “(remember, feminists, we like choice!)” This perspective definitely needs to be heard; it’s counterintuitive that the choice of being a virgin simply because one wants to (basically the same thing as having sex whenever one wants to) is seldom mentioned.

  • Grace @ at 5:19 pm, July 21st, 2011

    @Alex Catigirl
    Having sex isn’t like eating or drinking. You can die of starvation or dehydration, but no one ever died from not having sex.

    Advising people to just go have sex if they’re horny doesn’t take into account the fact that sex results in pregnancy. Or the fact that you’re dealing with another human being, not lunch or dinner. That’s much more complicated than simply eating or drinking. And up until recently pregnancy was extremely dangerous for women and especially for girls who may have developed secondary sexual characterstics but whose bodies are still growing. Maternal mortality was very high and everytime a woman got pregnant it was a huge risk to her life. This risk increased tremendously (and still does in developing countries) if the girl is under 18 or 19.

    So thinking things through before choosing to have sex is a very healthy and mature thing to do and better for our species overall.

  • j_bird @ at 3:08 pm, August 11th, 2011

    I had sex for the first time at 21. Looking back, I think that at 21 I was in a much better place, psychologically, to have sex than at, say, 16. At 16 I was thinking vaguely about sex and feeling attracted to boys, but I hadn’t thought much about what I really wanted from sex. I was still sorting through all the pop-cultural ideas I’d been receiving about what “sex” and “romance” were.

    By 21, I’d explored my own body more, and I’d thought more about what it was I really liked about men’s bodies. Also, simply living for a few more years had given me a chance to develop more self-confidence and move closer to the idea that I could ask for what I wanted. Being a few more years away from adolescent worries about image and peer pressure helped me view sex as just an activity that feels good for everyone involved, rather than a performance or a rite of passage.

    Other women with different personalities and life circumstances might find themselves in a good place to have sex earlier or later.

  • Sophie @ at 1:50 pm, October 9th, 2011

    It’s true that most feminist positions are all about us women being able to have sex whenever we want to. As Alexi Catigirl said above, it is indeed a natural biological urge to have sex, and women and men should be allowed to do so as they please, if they so choose.

    Yet, this article does bring up an interesting point. What if we, as women, choose NOT to have sex? There aren’t many feminists rallying around a woman’s right to be a virgin! Kate M, I completely agree with your argument here. I think feminists need to care about “virgin shaming” as much as they focus on “slut shaming.” The important issue to focus on should be to allow women to have any amount of sex they want, be it frequent or rare, without earning a derogatory, insulting label. Instead, feminists tend to highlight the “slut” problem, which is really only half of the big picture.

  • L. @ at 2:41 am, October 11th, 2011

    I am 19 and a sophomore in college. This post has brought me perspective. I never thought about why it is that some people, including myself, react surprised to hear that someone is a virgin in their late teens. It has really made me think about why my reaction is a question (What? Why?) when someone my age tells me they’re a virgin. Most of my friends have had sex. Actually hell, I can honestly only think of one of my friends who hasn’t had sex yet (And no, not all of my friends are sluts.) I recently learned that one of my friends is a virgin and thought, “hmm that’s weird.” I didn’t say that to her, but I did ask her things like “why?’ This blog made me think about what made me react that way. There are a lot of things I guess, not all of them are logical but they still contributed to my response.
    First of all, losing your virginity in high school has kind of become “the norm”. It is not good for people to think this but that’s just how it has happened. It seems like girls are just getting more and more carefree about having sex at such a young age. Helloooooo it’s because “everyone’s doing it”. Yeah I know lame, right? Since when are stupid peer pressuring high schooler’s supposed to tell you “when” its appropriate to lose your virginity. Losing your virginity because you were “peer pressured” it a stupid mistake.
    Which brings me to my second point. I am an idiot. When I was 16 I lost my virginity. It wasn’t special in any way. I remembered being peer pressured by one of my bitchy ass “friends” and I felt like I kind of just wanted to get it over with. I drunkenly had sex with a boy I didn’t even like, and I have regretted that night ever since. After that happened I felt like a slut, and I was beginning to act like one too.
    That night was the biggest mistake of my life. I was way too young, naïve, and innocent to lose my virginity, especially to someone I didn’t love. I thought that I could handle having sex, but I really couldn’t. I don’t even think that I can yet. I felt a void after that happened, I still do. Sex isn’t something you can just throw around like no big deal. From my past sexual experiences I am kind of scarred by my stupidity. I went from being considered a slut to being considered a prude now. I no longer have the conscience to be a slut. I beat myself up for the choices I made when I was 16. I never want people to think of me as a slut again so I feel like I go out of my way to make people think I’m not. I haven’t had sex with someone in over a year now and my friends kind of look at me like “what are you waiting for?” And now I am finally proud of myself for actually waiting. Fuck peer pressure. I need to do this for MYSELF. I don’t know when the “right guy” will come along, but it is SO worth the wait.
    This blog being brought to my attention made me realize that I was blinded by “the norm” for thinking it was weird that my friend was still a virgin. Honestly, I think I questioned it because I am truly jealous. I’m jealous that she made the smart choice to wait and Kate I’m jealous of you too. I’m jealous that you guys have chosen not to yet and will have sex whenever the hell you guys are good and ready. I wish I had chosen not to with the few people I have had sex with. I didn’t love them, and it wasn’t worth it. Because of this blog I will never again think to question someone for why they are a virgin. I will just look at them with admiration for not backing down from their beliefs.

  • Bri @ at 9:34 pm, October 30th, 2011

    I was still a virgin at 18 and I was a feminist since I was concieved. As much as I hate the term virgin, because of its antiquaited notions and its wholly inaccurate view of biology, I still have to use it as a term because that’s what people understand. It says a lot about society though I think that we don’t have a single word for someone who hasn’t had sex (virgin) but we don’t actually have a term for a non-virgin. Try to find it in the dictionary, I tell you it doesn’t exist in the English language. Now there’s some food for thought. :)

  • Marina @ at 6:53 pm, November 19th, 2011

    I think it’s ridiculous if anyone associates being a feminist with having to have sex from a young age. I was a virgin until I was 19, and my then-boyfriend was the same age and a virgin too! And so was the guy I slept with when we broke up (at 20), haha. I didn’t get any virgin-hate though, I suppose because nobody really knew? (Friends might have assumed, but that’s it.) If you talk about it, maybe that’s why people are annoyed. If they’ve just assumed, then it’s weird and rude of them to have an issue with it. It only bothers me when virgins think they are superior somehow.

  • Hannah @ at 6:18 pm, November 29th, 2011

    I completely agree with this article. I wonder if this is worse in American than in the UK? It also depends who you talk to. A lot of my friends are Christian so I think I was shielded from that kind of reaction seeing as most of my friends had similar values to me. But then again, I have come across people who have made fun of me or not been able to understand why I would choose to not have sex. You’re absolutely right, sex should be a choice, and people should be free to say no without shame.

  • FishPeople @ at 2:53 pm, December 27th, 2011

    I’m nineteen, in a relationship, and a virgin. I just do not feel at all ready to have sex, and I know that the whole time, I would just be worrying about my physical insecurities or getting pregnant, regardless of contraceptives and condoms. (I really, really do not want to have children. Especially not while in college.)

    I really like the guy I’m with, but I sometimes worry that if the subject of sex comes up and I tell him no, he won’t want to be with me anymore. He probably will stick with me because he’s very nice and patient, but he won’t be happy, whatever he says to the contrary. I feel like he deserves someone who will be willing to give him an intimate relationship, but I’m just not there yet.

    There’s no sensible reason why I shouldn’t, since I’m the right age to be a consenting adult and clearly care a lot about him, so I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I am Christian, but I don’t believe premarital sex is wrong or against God at all. It just doesn’t seem right for me at this time.

  • Ariel @ at 6:44 pm, January 1st, 2012

    @FishPeople Don’t have sex. Not if you don’t want to. I am 20. Just recently lost my virginity a couple months ago. I was in the same situation as you.
    If he cares about you and loves you he will wait for you to be ready. + it gives him time to self examine if he is ready for sex or just wanting it cause he is supposed to. (I know my guy isn’t ready for it. We found that out after our first time. He waited for me, we did the deed, and he realized he likes sex but isn’t ready to have it again. Now I wait for him.)
    Really. If you don’t want to, let him wait. A girl that wants to have sex when she gives her virginity up is much better in many ways then a nervous reck or someone who doesn’t actually WANT to have sex yet. (Not to be cruel to all who have and have not wanted to. I spimply believe in enthusastic consent as the best for the best lovemaking. Not that any people are better then others.)
    There is nothing. NOTHING. Wrong with you.
    When you want to have sex, he will be there for you. When you don’t, he will still be there.
    Also, if you are worried about what you look like, then work on that. Feel good about yourself. Your looks, your style, your life. (I know I didn’t want to do it until I felt ready to actually allow my guy to see me completely and didn’t feel insecure in the idea or act.)
    And with condoms… Yeah, I totally know where you are coming from. 98% isn’t good enough when that 2% stands out like a big blue elephant in a china shop.
    I personally got an IUD. It’s 1 in every 1000. Instead of 2 in every 100. Very safe, nothings perfect, but better then getting your tubes tied even. It’s cheap and lasts at least 5 years. Pretty awesome, eh?
    Okay so… The take away I’m hoping for through all my tangents and weirdness is this: Don’t have sex until you are ready. He will still be there. And he will wait for you. When/if you do have sex then he will be greatful for it. Until then the time you take should be time to grow and accept yourself as a beautiful human being. There’s more to you then whats between your legs, and he knows that if he is willing to wait.
    Find a birth control that you trust and use it.
    Don’t think there is something wrong with you. I didn’t want to have sex until a couple months ago and I’m 20. My guy still isn’t fully comfortable with it and he is 20. We are all different and that is okay.

  • Ariel @ at 6:44 pm, January 1st, 2012

    P.s. sorry that was so long.

  • Ashley @ at 5:20 pm, January 25th, 2012

    Thank you very much for writing this article. The shame that comes from being a virgin is a confused and under analyzed issue that needs to be brought to the light. I am very involved in academics in and outside of school. That is the most important thing in my life, not sex. Sometimes, girls do have sex too early because they tie their self esteem to their ability to attract mates. Sex should be something that you do because you enjoy it, not because of someone else’s wishes or your own self worth.

  • kris @ at 7:14 pm, January 28th, 2012

    i agree with you. you shouldnt ever feel bad for being a virgin, and it is 100 percent your right to decide what you do with your own body. In fact i applaud you for having that maturity and self control. I wish i had thought that way as a teenager.

  • The Raisin Girl @ at 2:14 pm, January 15th, 2014

    It’s true that sometimes, in the rush to stop slut-shaming, we forget that girls are pretty much damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    I was nineteen before I had sex. I experienced enormous religious pressure to stay abstinent until marriage, coupled with tons of pressure from friends to “get it over with already.”

    But I wanted it to be with someone I liked and really trusted, so I ignored my friends. And I found that person way before I was anywhere near ready to get married, so I also ignored my pastor and my parents. The end result? It was fun, it didn’t hurt, it was even a little bit romantic. I walked away from the experience with zero regrets. What more could I have asked for from a first sexual experience? Unicorns?

    I don’t see why anyone should be made to feel defective or like a “bad feminist” for making the best choice for them when it comes to when, how, and with whom they have sex. Great post!

  • G.D. @ at 6:04 pm, July 22nd, 2014

    AlexCatigirl, your whole comment sounds like virgin-shaming.

    Moreover, what are your feelings on statutory rape? Should a 45-year old man have sex with a 12-year-old girl just because they are both sexually “ripe”?

    Finally, people have *feelings* about love and sex that they do not have about eating or drinking. Some people do indeed want to be monogamous forever. Some do not. Some people believe in intimacy. Some people can’t experience sexual attraction outside of love. You can’t generalize, and it sounds as if you are pushing women to do things that they may not want to do. Speak for yourself, but not for the rest of us–how presumptuous.

    Oh, and then there are people who are just asexual. And judging by their online communities, there are quite a lot of them.

  • Pietas @ at 1:23 pm, October 27th, 2015

    Good post, I’m 29 male and haven’t had intercourse and i couldn’t get any offers until I was 23 and then I turned down them, I understand what it’s like to be virgin shamed. I don’t like it when people think there is something wrong, because I enjoyed being single so much? I didn’t want to use condoms anyways so I knew there is no risk with it worth taking.

  • Salaluem @ at 11:32 am, December 12th, 2016

    I am a 27 year old male, I am also a virgin and no one was ever interested in me. The difference with me is that I barely keep friends around. So I was never really shamed because no one gives any fucks to begin with. Now I’ve made my peace with it and don’t even bother checking women out any more.

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