Breaking the taboo: being a virgin at University
I’m Remi (at least for the purpose of this article I am, I think it’s nice to have a name, even if it is fake), I’m 22, I’m a third-year university student, and I’m a virgin.
Not your standard introduction, but in our current climate, this fact makes me different. It makes me an unusual creature, but why? And does it make me any more or less than anyone else?
If you think sex is a taboo topic, try talking about virginity with students. They’re all more than happy to tell you the messy details of when and how they lost it – but what if you’ve still got a fully formed cherry, just waiting to be popped? In my experience, revealing my ‘dirty little secret’ has had a wide a plethora of reactions – from shock, to pity and even laughter. The fact that I’m publishing this article under a pseudonym is evidence of the preconceptions that accompany being a virgin.
The first question on everyone’s lips is ‘WHY?’. I suspect you imagine me as a recluse, dressing like a forty-year-old woman and getting embarrassed at the mere mention of genitalia. However, I’d like to think that’s pretty far from the truth. I love a pint in the pub, the occasional night out, getting dressed up and having a little boogie. With regards to my appearance, well, I don’t think I’m anything special, but I’d hope that I’m not so unattractive that any member of the male species would run in the opposite direction.
For me, my virginity isn’t something I’ve attempted to preserve, but neither is it something I’ve rushed to lose. Had I been presented with the right opportunity, maybe I’d have gone for it. But there’s always a catch. We’re not in the right place, I’m on my period, I’m single (the most common contributor lol) or I just don’t want to. I don’t have that primal urge to bed a man, but that could just be because Chris Hemsworth hasn’t been spotted in my ends recently…
It’s not just that though – the way I feel about myself plays a huge role. I can’t imagine anyone finding me attractive enough to want to be in a relationship (not that relationships are necessary for sex, of course, you do you) never mind see me naked. It’s this fear that holds me back from searching for sex or even an eligible bachelor.
For others, religion may play a large role, throughout Christian, Islamic, Jewish and many other scriptures, it’s taught that sex is sacred and should be saved for marriage. And while some may view this as old-fashioned, it can be an important value for others. Speaking to one of my Christian friends, she emphasised that for her, sex before marriage was a sin, the outcome being the refusal of entry into heaven, and this was the ultimate penance for disobeying her God.
Asexuality is another influencer. Luckily, our society is becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ+ movement, and so this is something which is starting to be openly discussed more. But there are still myths and misunderstandings surrounding the term, and it can be really hard to figure it out yourself, never mind admit to it.
I’ve spoken to other men and women who are just plain scared. Scared of doing it wrong, of being judged, of getting pregnant or even of making a mess. One girl told me that the thought of the mess that would be made of the sheets and the logistics of disposing of condoms without ‘spilling’ anything has put her off the idea – for the meantime at least!
Despite the varied responses to my chastity, the majority of people are either accepting or merely curious. So if you’re worrying that you need to ‘put out’ in order to fit in, stop. Whatever your reason for keeping your legs closed or your penis tucked away, it’s valid, and other people will have to respect it. And whether you decide to tell people is entirely up to you. I can’t say many people ask – partly due to the assumption that you’ll have had at least one drunken fumbling which may or may not class as sex.
The presence of virginity shouldn’t be a big deal – but it is. Yes, it can be awkward, yes it can be embarrassing, but hopefully, the more we talk about it, the more it will become normal (I’m not aiming for anything more than that because I’m a realistic girl and feel like the celebration of virginity isn’t something that will be introduced to university culture any time soon).
Do you think virginity is a taboo topic at uni?