|Cherries graphic via|
I realize that at this point, you probably think I'm, like, the Goddess of Virginity and the Sophia of Abstinence. I understand your misconception (I am an awesome writer, let's be honest, of some pretty sexy and controversial topics), and I'm flattered, really, I am. But it pains me to admit that with all my experience in not having sex, I too have fallen victim to stereotyping virgins. Specifically, virgins of the male variety.
Myth Number Three: Men who save themselves for marriage have other conservative ideas about gender roles.
Out of the fifteen guys (and four girls) I've French-kissed, thirteen were definitely nonvirgins, three were probably nonvirgins, two could have been nonvirgins or virgins, and only one was definitely a virgin.
This in and of itself doesn't mean anything except to indicate the rarity of virgins in their 20s. I'm special and sparkly, like a unicorn, and I'm totally okay with that. ;) But because of this, I also came to accept years ago that it's unrealistic of me to expect to marry another virgin one day. Obviously that would be AWESOME, but I'm looking at pretty slim pickin's if virginity is a non-negotiable for me in a future spouse.
I also (wrongly) assumed that if I were to end up with another virgin, he would be an ultra-conservative, head-of-household, wives submit to your husbands kind of guy. If you haven't figured out by now that I'm a bit of a feminist the way Katy Perry is a bit sexy and J.K. Rowling is a bit of a writer, well, news flash, I am. Don't get me wrong; I'm all about putting other people first, but in a relationship, I want a partnership, not a benevolent monarchy. Based on my undergrad interactions with fellow virgins, most of whom I knew from my on-campus church group, I drew the conclusion that men who saved themselves for marriage also had other traditional views on marriage. Views that would never sit well with me.
Sidenote: This is the origin of stereotypes and generalizations. We take our personal observations about a small sample of a larger group of people and assume that everyone in that group shares characteristics with the small sample. It is very easy to fall into this trap, but very important to avoid it if at all possible.
So. All that said, part of me has always thought I would end up with a nonvirgin because that would be my only chance of marrying a man who would be okay with me keeping my last name and us co-leading our family.
Then I kissed the only definite virgin out of nineteen.
And my entire perspective changed.
Because he's not saving himself for religious reasons either. Because he likes how fiercely independent I am. Because he bought me dinner, but then didn't say a word when I bought our drinks later in the evening.
For the first time in my life, I wasn't the only one setting the pace whilst making out. Don't get me wrong, I've (mostly) made out with gentlemen who didn't push me to go any further than I wanted, and I greatly appreciated their respect for me. But I discovered that it's so much better when I share that with a man. When we have a mutual understanding of how far to go and when to stop. When I'm not the only one stopping, the only one moving hands away, the only one saying “No.”
This is my formal and public apology for any men out there who are proud and intentional virgins. I'm sorry I assumed your values on sex automatically transferred to your beliefs on gender roles. I realize now that just like women save themselves for many reasons, men do too.
P.S. Virgins can be pretty damn good kissers too. ;)