When I was in college, I didn’t spend much time reading Cosmo or researching “99 new sex positions for him.” Partially because the feminist in me finds Cosmo appalling, and partially because it was irrelevant. I didn’t have sex at all in college. Not once. And I wasn’t the only one. I’ll wait until you’re done gawking.
I had several friends who still had their v-cards. None of us were Promise Keepers, we weren’t anti-social, and though I was confident and put effort into my appearance, I can only speak to my friends’ aesthetics: they were totally hot. We went to a very liberal school whose culture was seething with sexual openness. Clearly all of us were making informed decisions – we were comfortable with the subject, we just approached it in our personal lives differently than most people.
In retrospect, this really strikes me. I’ve never read or heard any dialogue on this. There are sex columns a-plenty, but the only other alternative seems to be religious-based abstinence. And yet there seems to be a whole culture that falls in-between. It’s not like we were afraid of it, it just ranked on our values scale in a different way. I think the difference was that many people connected to sex from a place of personal fulfillment and a way of living life to the fullest, while we saw it as a way of creating more intimate interpersonal relationships. To each his own vulnerability issues?
Simply put, for some of us the importance of making this connection significant outweighed our personal quest for immediate physical gratification. One wasn’t ranked above the other, it was just a case of different strokes. I often felt like sexual openness was a form of rebellion for many of my friends because it contradicted America’s puritanical social guidelines. I guess I just didn’t feel like turning important personal decisions into a middle finger to society.
In the culture of dating blogs, girlie mags, and whatever else assumes that everyone is out to get some, I never felt very represented. I never felt excluded or frowned upon, it just always seemed like there was a whole culture that wasn’t relevant to me. Am I the only one attached to the idea of my personal space and sharing it incrementally and with intention? Of course not. It was easy to share this with friends in college because we were already in a school full of alternatively minded people. Frankly, I don’t think it occurred to most of them that anyone past the first week of college hadn’t slept with anyone. And if it DID come up, then people thought it was an interesting life choice, like being vegan or keeping bees on your roof.
I spent college making the most of living in New York City. I had amazing friends, amazing jobs, and an endlessly fascinating city to roam. It’s not that I didn’t want to be involved with anyone; I was just too busy enjoying life to get all committal.
It comes down to romanticism, in a way. I never thought that there was going to be some magical prince who swept me off my feet, or that the glorified “first time” would be the end-all be-all of my existence. But I did want that connection to have significance and meaning. I wasn’t interested in going past making out unless it was part of a serious relationship, and I never felt like I needed to be in one during college. I think if I had been, I may have missed out on a lot of great things. I want to say that I chose between one series of great experiences and another, but mostly I just went where life pulled me and it wasn’t a conscious choice.
I was okay with the idea that I would focus on the whole relationship thing at a later point in life, maybe when breeding was more relevant, unless someone was interesting enough to invest attention in. If sex was something that was put off because college had too much going on, I would still rather have gone without than get into random flings.
This isn’t to say that flings are wrong, or that they’re the only option outside of a committed relationship. They just weren’t the option for me, nor for many of my friends. Since there was a contingency of us when I was in school, I’m guessing that lots of folks in college right now are in the same space. And while standing by unconventional choices probably makes you a strong person already, I would still like to give a shout out to y’all because no one really seems to do that. Whatever your reason, and whether or not you have friends to share the experience of retaining your v-card with, I’m certain that you aren’t the only one.
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