Sex + Love

What You Waiting For?

The power of no.

Illustration by Emma D.

I was a virgin until I was 22 years old. I’ve never met anyone who thought that was normal.

Like lots of Rookies, I didn’t date or have sex in high school; I was too busy hating everyone’s guts. Which was cool, because outside of my friends nobody liked me, either. I was the worst kind of nerd, both nonconforming and mean, and it sort of freaked people out. Was I actually expected to develop relationships with the guys who still used spitballs as their major form of communication? Gross. I never even thought of any of the guys I went to school with as viable options. I did have a major crush on one guy, but he was literally too beautiful to look at directly; I never thought about having sex with him so much as entertained fantasies about merely existing in his beautiful orbit or holding his beautiful hand.

Even though I had ruled out dating, I still knew all about sex. I wasn’t naïve, just uninterested. While the physical act of sex didn’t sound too damaging, the idea of being around, talking to, and dating boys sounded miserable. My friends confirmed this as they all eventually started having sex, and it was a nonstop dramathon from Day One. There were always lots of tears about what he or she said, what he or she did, how awful he or she made my friends feel. I thought that if you liked someone and they liked you, maybe they wouldn’t make you cry all the time. Even though there was drama, I knew that some of my friends were totally ready to have sex in high school, and that relationships and sex can be mutually exclusive. I just knew that I wasn’t ready for either. Nothing about sex in high school seemed like fun to me, mostly because nobody I knew seemed to be having fun with the people they were having sex with.

There seems to be an expectation that girls who don’t have sex are damaged or weird, but it made me feel sort of powerful. I was making a decision about something fairly important at a time when no one really let me make a lot of decisions about my life, and it felt good. I was culturally coached to think of virginity as some sort of anchor for girls, something holding me back from being a fully formed human being. Everything I’d read about sex to that point (mostly in YM or Seventeen) was always about “the guy”: what is he going to feel like if you do or don’t have sex with him, is he going to freak out if you say no, or, if you were reading Cosmo, 800 ways to make him feel awesome. No one seemed to be interested in my feelings about sex, or whether or not I felt good about it. I decided that my strength would be rooted in figuring this sex thing out on my own terms.

I moved to California when I was 19, got pretty serious with the first guy I dated, and we were together for three years without having official sexual intercourse. This never stopped being weird for our mutual friends, who I assume, based on their reactions to my prolonged virginity, were swinging naked from the ceilings now that their parents weren’t around. We did pretty much everything else, but I just never wanted to go “all the way,” and he was cool with it. It was pretty perfect, because I’d had time to learn a lot about myself, namely that I was a totally different person inside of a relationship than I was outside of one. For example, I didn’t know that I could be super-jealous about other girls even LOOKING at my boyfriend, and I hated that aspect of my personality. Or that I’d been fairly independent for most of my life up to that point, and had no idea how to include someone else in my life in a real way. I had some major things to fix before I could consider myself a fully functioning person, and I didn’t think sex would make it any easier. I also couldn’t get used to the idea that someone actually WANTED to date me, having been so completely off the radar growing up. In retrospect, I guess I didn’t escape the drama my friends in high school had lived through; I just prolonged it a little. I knew from watching them that I really didn’t want to throw sex into the emotionally volatile mix I was working through, and that I owed it to myself to figure it out. I realized that my main problem was that I didn’t really have a lot of confidence; it was easy for me to feel overwhelmed by typical relationship stuff like tiny disagreements or general personality differences, all of which made me feel like a terrible girlfriend. Even though he was an incredibly nice guy, I broke up with my boyfriend and I started paying a little more attention to myself in an attempt to figure out why it was so weird for me to be in a relationship. As it turns out, not being in a relationship for a while was the key.

I did have sex eventually, with the next guy I dated. I had met him at work, and he was funny and quite nice. Though we never formally dated, we used to make out in his truck in the parking lot at lunch, which, at the time, so overcome with lust, I didn’t realize was in full view of the office windows, so really everyone in our office was watching this unfold. He was hot, and I couldn’t keep my hands off of him. When the time rolled around, sex wasn’t even a decision so much as a physical response to his hotness. That sounds really shallow, but strong physical attraction turned out to be exactly the push I needed to cast off my prudish shackles. Quite suddenly, I really wanted to have sex, with THIS GUY, specifically. We were fooling around at my house, and then all of a sudden we weren’t fooling around—we were having sex. It was actually him who stopped and said it. “Um, I think we’re having sex now.” I looked into his face and said, “Uh, uh, well, get a condom but, uh, DON’T STOP?” It wasn’t a Victorian romance, but it was fun and easy, which is exactly what I wanted my sex life to be.

Even though sometimes my relationships were still not 100% awesome, I think I sidestepped a lot of guilt and regret by waiting to have sex. If I had had sex before I figured out some things about myself and how I operate in and out of relationships, it would have amped up my anxiety and my supreme talent for self-loathing; there’s no doubt that no matter how serious or lighthearted the approach, sex is some next-level stuff where emotions are concerned. I didn’t have sex with everyone I ended up dating, but I also didn’t put a premium on being in a long-term relationship as a gateway to having sex. I learned how to trust my instincts, to be vocal about how far I was willing to go, or to just plain say no when I just wanted to go out and have fun with someone. There is always so much conversation for girls about having their virginity “taken” that it starts to feel like sex isn’t actually your choice when, in reality, it TOTALLY is your choice. It was my choice to decide when, where, with whom, or if ever. There was something cool about being able to set boundaries and vocalize what sorts of experience I wanted to have once I started having sex. When no one validates your choices, it’s OK to validate your own. ♦

73 Comments

  • KinuKinu May 7th, 2012 7:11 PM

    this was awesome…..really super duper awesome *awesome*

  • Cruicked May 7th, 2012 7:14 PM

    Oh my god, I must be the worst kind of nerd, too.

  • Quincy May 7th, 2012 7:20 PM

    Man, this is me! Thank you for putting into words something which I find so hard to explain! x

  • Moxx May 7th, 2012 7:35 PM

    Honestly, this.
    And maybe if sex wasn’t made into such an enormous deal on so many crazy levels, people would have a better, non-tinged/afraid/guilty attitude towards it, would handle it better, and there would just be less problems linked to it.
    Imagine a world where sex is a normal, natural, non-taboo part of any person’s life (or not- choice!), no one thinks it’s any of their business if, how, or with who you do it, and it is treated with the care that any other thing with potential unwanted consequences is (without the forbidden and terrible aspect).
    Sadly, this is a fantasy world.

    • CarolineCouture May 7th, 2012 7:44 PM

      Exactly!
      I have been pretty religious since…well ever, and have always thought that sex was to wait after marriage.

      But it felt so restricting and also ridiculous since it seemed everyone was doing it. Even though I haven’t, I think the perspective to “wait until you’re ready” is the best, not just following some indoctrinated rule, religion, or taboo view in society. (Nobody ever tells you that stuff!)

      Cheers!

  • kittiehole97 May 7th, 2012 7:38 PM

    thanks….this article helped me alot, i thought everyone loses their v card before the age of 18 haha..most of my friends allready did and im glad im not alone, i wanted to wait until older and im glad you told me about your experience. i feel better about my decision now…..this is why i love rookie! i always feel at home.

  • CarolineCouture May 7th, 2012 7:41 PM

    This was awesome, I totally agree with just wanting to have fun, but yes, having the power to say no to everything. I was pressured into kissing a guy who I had feelings for like a week only because he kept nagging me to hang out with him and…yeah. (wow that went no where and haha kissing totally doesn’t sound as big as a deal, but to me it is, especially when you don’t really like a person enough/don’t feel comfortable with them.)

    Is it weird that I might want something at one time, like a total makeout session but then feel guilty and kind of regretful later? Does anyone else feel that way sometimes?

    • eliza dolittle May 8th, 2012 11:07 AM

      Dood, YES. I don’t want to rant at you haha, but I completely get where you’re coming from so please don’t feel like a contradictory freak.

      I’ve found that in the moment you’ll be completely certain that you want to make out or have sex or whatever, because you desire it on a purely physical and present level, but that means you end up ignoring the mental and emotional impact without even realising you are (it might even be a random hook up where no one else could be hurt, but you might find you value emotional connection to highly or were just willing to give in without a strong desire yourself), and for so many reasons you end up feeling guilty and regretting it.

      Personally it comes down to the fact that respecting yourself fully is shittier and much more difficult than anyone tells you, because sometimes you’ll have to actively deny yourself what you desire to make you happier with yourself in the long run. Which doesn’t have to suck! It just sometimes does haha.

  • rainingmay May 7th, 2012 7:53 PM

    ROOKIE. you never fail to be amazing. you summarized my thoughts in words that I could never come up with. High school is so much easier with this website.

  • Abby May 7th, 2012 7:58 PM

    This was awesome… Thank you. I’m seventeen and the only virgin of my close friends. Most of them think it’s weird that I want to wait for someone I actually care about. That may or may not be my husband. It might be in college. I won’t know until it happens. And I’m okay with that :).

  • AllisonWonderland May 7th, 2012 7:59 PM

    I lost my virginity a year and a half ago when I was 16 and don’t regret a thing about it. The guy wasn’t my boyfriend, and I’ve actually never had a boyfriend because I’m not interested in relationships at the current point in my life. Some people may judge this kind of sexual behavior, but I appreciate Rookie for creating an environment when people can feel how they feel and not judge each other. Like how Danielle felt powerful keeping her virginity, I feel powerful like this and to me it’s not about really about how “the guy” would feel if I didn’t, it’s because I want to. And I trust myself that this is true since I refuse to touch things like Cosmo, Seventeen, or anything as awful.

    • bibliovore May 7th, 2012 8:19 PM

      I agree. For me, having sex feels powerful and fun: it’s something I would not deny myself simply because of outside judgments I may encounter. My personal opinion is that sex is just not that big of a deal. But I respect anyone, regardless of their sexuality activity, which is none of my business anyways.

    • danielleh May 8th, 2012 2:41 AM

      Yes! That is the overall point – no matter how, when or with whom, as long as you feel good or powerful about it that’s what matters.

  • Shan in Austin May 7th, 2012 8:57 PM

    I didn’t lose my virginity until I was married (just before my 21st birthday). Both my husband and I were virgins on our wedding night (yeah, it was a bit awkward for few minutes). Honestly, I’m happy that I waited. Many of my high school friends gave their virginity away in back bedrooms at parties, after Prom, etc. Sure, I was curious about sex, but I wanted to wait for the right person. It must’ve worked because my husband and I just celebrated our 22nd anniversary. I say do what is right for YOU. Don’t let the world push you into something you aren’t ready for. Sex isn’t just physical. A lot of emotion goes along with it. Just my .02.

  • sparrow May 7th, 2012 9:07 PM

    This is why I love ROOKIE. I lost my virginity last year at 22, and at the time I felt like I was some weird aberration for having waited so long – so much so that I didn’t tell the guy I was with at the time anything about it. Instead I wore my inexperience around my neck like an albatross, letting it make me awkward and self-conscious about the whole thing. Thanks for making me feel a lot more positive about waiting as long as I did!

  • starbarf May 7th, 2012 9:13 PM

    First off, I just want to say that I love Rookie (is 22 too old for this??) and I love articles like this that emphasize how OKAY it is to be different and not like everyone else etc etc etc HOWEVER. Here’s the beef. I kind of feel like all the articles about sex, love, high school, etc are all kind of one-sided. Yeah, I don’t think anyone should feel like they HAVE to have sex with anyone, or feel like they HAVE to have boyfriends, but in a way I, a girl that had many boyfriends and high school and slept with a lot of them, maybe too many, kind of feel like my (and many other girls) stories are left out. I am totally okay with the choices that I made in high school (to an extent..) but reading so many stories like this begins to make me feel guilty for both wanting to be so sexual that young and, in some cases, falling prey to a lot of that sexual pressure you guys talk about. So, pretty much, just wanted to say: let’s talk about that.

    • Anaheed May 7th, 2012 9:23 PM

      I feel like most of our sex articles are about feeling OK about having as much sex as you want; it’s the minority of them that are about abstaining, but it’s an important choice to affirm, too!

      • starbarf May 7th, 2012 9:29 PM

        I totally agree! I think your sex articles do a lot to make girls feel okay and powerful about their decisions, but maybe I’m just looking for a discussion of those times when it’s really unclear whether you acted powerfully or not, whether you actually wanted something or just thought you did, or knew you didn’t actually at all but did it anyway.

        • Anaheed May 7th, 2012 9:32 PM

          Ah! I get you now. Yes, I think this is a good idea and we should do something on it. Thank you!

    • acatfollowedmehome May 7th, 2012 11:10 PM

      I agree completely. I think it’s really amazing that you guys are putting this info out there, that it’s OK to be a girl who’s taking charge and NOT having sex, but I feel a little alienated sometimes as someone who has sex. I think that it would just be nice to have a few more articles from the points of view of people who have had sex/lost their virginity early.

      • cherrycola27 May 8th, 2012 12:28 AM

        I totally understand what you’re saying, but if you look at other Rookie articles like “Losing it” or “Absolute Beginners” I feel like those are about people who have sex early and sexual experiences and stuff.
        Overall, I think Rookie does a pretty good job of talking about sexual experience and non. I might even say there is more about having sex and what to expect and things like that than there are about waiting or not having sex.

    • poppunkgurrrlx May 8th, 2012 12:28 AM

      i agree! i looove that rookie is so nonjudgmental <3 but i feel as if there are so many articles of rookies that never had boyfriends in high school or had sex. don't get me wrong, it is great that those articles exist because young women should know that it is completely okay to be a virgin at any age! it would just be nice to get a different perspective :)

  • republicstars May 7th, 2012 9:37 PM

    This is really neat (!!) but I don’t really agree with the idea of ‘releasing your prudish shackles.’ Isn’t that quite a sex-negative way of looking at it? It isn’t prudish at all, to not have sex.
    This is just something that irked me.

    • anonymouse May 7th, 2012 10:39 PM

      That kind of jumped at me too. Like the opposite of slut-shaming. We can either be sexual beings and be perceived as harlots or abstain(for any number of reasons) and be called prudes…

    • cherrycola27 May 8th, 2012 12:23 AM

      Yes, I thought the same thing upon reading that. Here is a great article about waiting and saying “no” and yet, this seems to be saying that you were only waiting because you were too prude.

    • danielleh May 8th, 2012 2:38 AM

      Oh! Well, even though I’m now 35 and married, I’m still totally a prude. It’s not meant to be sex negative or pejorative; I just mostly don’t want to talk about or hear about sex, even though I have it all the time. Don’t worry, I’m in therapy. :)

    • Runaway May 8th, 2012 1:40 PM

      I thought just the same. However, I don’t think she really thinks that way (she wouldn’t have written this article if that were the case). It’s more like she internalized what society or people around her told her for not having sex: that she was a prude, weird, whatever. I’m saying this because it’s exactly what happens to me: I KNOW that waiting to have sex has been the right thing for me to do, but sometimes I just can’t avoid FEELING like I’m weird for that. I know; it sounds like schizophrenia. LOL

  • firstcomestherain May 7th, 2012 9:40 PM

    my life

  • Kenz May 7th, 2012 9:47 PM

    It is so refreshing to have a website like this! This article is amazing and so is everything else!

  • SweetThangVintage May 7th, 2012 9:54 PM

    We say who! We say When! We say how much! haha sorry couldn’t resist.

    I know what you mean about the feeling of power though! I’m turning 18 on Thursday and I haven’t kissed, or had a boy friend, or did thethingthattwopeopledowhentheyloveeachotherverymuchandthetimeisrightfobabymakinsss, and I feel so good about it! Possibly too good about it. haha :p

  • Lorelei May 7th, 2012 10:20 PM

    Holy whoa. You guys always come out with an article like THE EXACT MOMENT that something EXACTLY THE SAME is happening to me. Are you wizards?!

  • FossilisedUnicorn May 8th, 2012 2:06 AM

    I wish I could feel better about my total lack of sexuality! But the truth is it doesn’t really feel like a choice to me, but more like I’m trapped in a body incapable of making the right chemicals or something

  • TessAnnesley May 8th, 2012 2:16 AM

    This article is GREAT
    My feelings however are that I DO want to have sex. A lot. Like right now. Extreme frustration. There doesn’t seem to be any boy on Planet Earth who is interested in doing it with me. I obviously wouldn’t just do that with anyone (I think I’d have to like them at least a bit) but there just isn’t even anyone for me to consider. People joke about teenage sexual frustration all the time, but it’s becoming a pretty serious problem for me. I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it.

    • ali May 8th, 2012 10:46 PM

      me too! you know how everyone jokes that teenaged boys think about sex every 3 seconds or whatever? i think most teenagers do, not just boys.

    • vanguardinspace May 8th, 2012 11:04 PM

      Unfortunately I have to say me too, too!

      I have absolutely no idea what to do about this. None of the guys I know interest me in the least (pretty sure I don’t interest them either) personality-wise or physically to want to go there, but I still want to go there, but I also feel like you shouldn’t have sex just for the sake of having it but because you want to do it with a particular person, so what gives?

  • mozzer May 8th, 2012 2:22 AM

    How is Rookie always on par with every aspect of my life? It’s freaky, but in the best way.

  • Jenny May 8th, 2012 3:56 AM

    This is wonderful!

  • prouddaydreamer May 8th, 2012 6:02 AM

    I registered just so I could leave a comment with a huge THANK YOU! I’m 20, still a virgin, but totally fine with it. But sometimes you can feel so weird and left out by it. I’m not even really interested in it and much rather just focus on my family and school. Knowing that there are more people out there ‘like me’ makes me feel so much better :)

  • Caden May 8th, 2012 6:40 AM

    Everyone just needs to do what’s right for them. Wait if you want, don’t wait if you want. As long as you’re happy, safe and feel respected :).

    Caden x
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pinkpoppies1991

  • chasen May 8th, 2012 6:47 AM

    This article is fantastic. I’d like to pick up on the point made at the end that it’s your choice “when, where, with whom, OR EVER.”

    I spent a lot of my teenage years with the gnawing feeling that there was something wrong with me because I just wasn’t interested in sex, didn’t experience sexual attraction, didn’t get crushes on people, just didn’t get ANY of it. I kept thinking it would be something I’d grow into and that eventually I’d be where “everyone” else was, but about eighteen months ago I realised that actually no, I’m asexual. It took a lot of angst and I’ve only ever told two people face-to-face about it, but after 21 years I finally feel like I have a label for my sexuality or lack thereof. Point being, there is nothing wrong with being at the point where you’re not so much waiting for the right time as you are just not sexually attracted to anyone. You are definitely not alone, and I’d recommend looking at the asexual spectrum to see if there’s any clarity to be gained there.

  • Alienor May 8th, 2012 7:01 AM

    wow this is me

  • deborahdeborah May 8th, 2012 7:16 AM

    I really enjoyed this article and even though I don’t think it was pushing the idea that sexual abstinence is the best thing for everyone, I would really like to see an article about conflicting feelings in sexuality (being sexual). I’m at a point in my life at the moment where I don’t want a relationship, but I want to hook up with people and do sexual things, and although my group of friends respects this, only one other person feels the same way. In addition to that, my parents would be shocked and disappointed if they knew the kind of things that I got up to, and I feel like I still have to live up to (to some degree) society’s ridiculous double standards where women are seen as ‘sluts’ (although I support the ‘slut-positive’ movement I don’t feel quite ready to embrace the term) if they have more than one sexual partner/have sex outside of a relationship. So I’m torn, in more ways than one.

  • ediesgarden May 8th, 2012 7:21 AM

    I was 22 when I first had sex and I never told anyone it was that late because I thought I was weird for not being ready, so this makes me feel much better! I had been with my boyfriend for four years by that point and he’d always been great about it – not pushing it, but making it clear he did want to do it. I do think I waited longer than I should have, because I think I was worrying too much about what would happen to our relationship after, instead of just following my own desires; but when we did eventually have sex it was great, as we knew each other so well in every way. It happened completely naturally and if waiting was why, then I’m in no way sorry about that.

    I think everyone knows when they’re ready physically, it’s just the emotional side that can be harder to deal with.

  • SparklyVulcan May 8th, 2012 10:00 AM

    I love how Rookie balances the ‘it’s okay to have sex’ stance with the ‘it’s okay not to have sex’ stance perfectly. Every time I read an article, I agree with it completely wholeheartedly!! I’ve never had sex, but I’m not ruling it out as an option, so I understand everything you say. :)

  • wandergirl May 8th, 2012 11:16 AM

    Awesome! I have friends who haven’t “done it” yet and we are 24/25 and no one thinks that’s weird (in our group, I’m sure people outside think we’re a bunch of prudish freaks), for various reasons, but mostly because they haven’t found anyone worth having sex with.

    I met the “right person” when I was pretty young (though apparently it’s the national average for girls), but in some ways I still wish we had waited. It’s not that I wasn’t emotionally ready, but it was physically TERRIBLE for quite some time, though we got the hang of it now! My friends who had their first times later on in life had better (physically, anyway) experiences, though I will always remember fondly the numerous failures and injuries (yes, injuries. We totally sucked) my partner and I suffered together. Haha.

    So even if it’s not a “moral” decision, waiting to be someone who feels more in control of her body (and for someone who respects that) is just going to make the whole thing feel better.

  • sockdrawerconfusion May 8th, 2012 11:19 AM

    honestly, i am 25, almost 26 years old and never had sex. that is also possible to happen. sometimes, i get scared that i will never find the right guy, sometimes i think, why the pressure? it is no race.

  • acupoftea May 8th, 2012 11:35 AM

    I love this. I think you’re in great company, and calling it empowering is spot on. There were certainly guys I dreamed of having sex with when I was younger, and I wasn’t religious or anything, but it seemed like it was the type of thing that I had to be 100% in charge of, and I really wanted it to be a decision I made carefully and with the right amount of maturity. I thought maybe I was a total outlier by waiting longer than the rest. But then…

    Not long ago, I was at a bachelorette weekend with a bunch of twenty/thirty-somethings, and in true mature lady slumber party style, we decided to play a game of “I never.” At one point I threw out “I never had sex in high school.” In a room full of a dozen amazing, funny, and confident women, not one woman lifted her glass to indicate that she had. It made me feel happy and warm and empowered to be in a room full of the women you write about here. It wouldn’t have mattered if someone had raised her glass, but to know that there are so many of us, and that we all turned out pretty great — well, that’s pretty great, too.

    • Mayabett May 8th, 2012 8:36 PM

      Same with that classic high school and camp game “Never Have I Ever”
      It’s fun to know about other people, and it’s hard not to get sucked into it, but it’s really such an awful game because it encourages doing more. Because everyone wants to get out, not be the last person still in who hasn’t done anything.
      It just adds so much unnecessary pressure to do “stuff” when people should just do things when they’re ready…not give into societal pressure.
      That’s fantastic that you were surrounded by women who were fine with waiting.

  • elizabethmarley May 8th, 2012 1:04 PM

    I love this. I want to print it out and hand it to every 15 year old girl in the world.

    If anyone ever tries to make you feel bad for not having sex, stop knowing that person immediately.

  • stellar May 8th, 2012 8:13 PM

    awesome!
    great to read from others who managed to make it a choice instead of a compulsion to please or avoid being shamed (which, ironically can happen after ‘just doing it’).
    only a guy who respects your “not now” or “no” is worth it, because that means they can handle your needs in other areas!
    almost felt i ‘had to’ after calling a guy i just wanted to get in touch with for friendship reasons (we grew up together), but a creepy feeling about his reasons helped me say “no”, and i don’t regret that. felt ‘guilty’ later tho when saying “no” to similar situations; felt smarter when realizing i had the strength to resist that and avoid problems down the line!!

  • stellar May 8th, 2012 8:15 PM

    (also discovered most guys who want it don’t know how to do it–and then blame you to distract you from that discovery!)

  • Mayabett May 8th, 2012 8:33 PM

    This is a fantastic article.
    I think it’s also worth mentioning that guys feel pretty pressured too. Especially because they don’t feel like they have the freedom to talk about stuff like this.

    I’m sure guys are the same way about sex: they feel pressured to lose it, but in a slightly different way than girls are pressured. But since guys are often so much more aware about their sexuality at a younger age (aka teenage boys…you know how it is) and it’s such a dominating part of them, it’s probably harder for them to hold back even when they want to.

    That’s why us girls need to know when to say no…we are in control of our bodies and we have to become self-aware so that we KNOW when we are ready and when we are not.
    We can’t let guys push us into doing things we don’t want to do. Because they may think it is ok but it is NOT.

    • vanguardinspace May 8th, 2012 11:06 PM

      Amen! I am not a guy, but I have a lot qualms with how our culture defines “masculinity.” I kind of feel like guys aren’t really allowed to have real feelings either, they need a Rookie too.

  • Hope May 8th, 2012 9:40 PM

    I’m really glad that there are articles like this. It makes me feel a bit less awkward about being the way I am. :)

    I’m 17 and still a virgin, but this school year (my junior year) has been the first time I’ve actually had to address my boundaries and actually consider that I’d lose my virginity at all, and that I wanted it to happen with the person I was with. This past summer, I got my first kiss, so I guess I was a late bloomer… but I also came out as lesbian a few months prior, so that makes a little more sense.

    Honestly, now I’m at the point where I’ll just let whatever happens, happen. I know that for myself, I need to be in a committed relationship and I want to be able to tell the person I love you and mean it. My main concern is that I don’t want to regret it, and that means waiting until I’m ready.

  • Mags May 8th, 2012 11:17 PM

    I was a virgin until 21 and I never felt ashamed at all. On the contrary it made me feel awesome because I waited until I was ready and, like you, I did it with someone I was truly attracted to. NO REGRETS. Sometimes I will proudly proclaim that I was a virgin until 21. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel happy and, also like you said, powerful. It probably doesn’t make any sense but waiting until you are completely ready to do something and knowing that it is 100% your decision is incredibly empowering.

  • stellar May 8th, 2012 11:35 PM

    and if it’s not mutually enjoyable, it won’t work.

  • saz May 9th, 2012 7:11 AM

    Such a good article!I’m 21 and still a virgin, and it’s not something I like to talk about with people because I think they do negatively judge it/me. Something I wanted to talk about though is the fact that for me (and I don’t know if its something anyone else feels or if its purely my own weirdness), my ‘big fear’ is to do with revealing my body. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m ready to have sex but I just am not in any way happy or confident enough to have my gross body shown to anyone! It upsets me sometimes because I worry that I’ll always feel this way and then I’ll never get to do it!

  • the I is omitted May 9th, 2012 6:16 PM

    “There seems to be an expectation that girls who don’t have sex are damaged or weird, but it made me feel sort of powerful. I was making a decision about something fairly important at a time when no one really let me make a lot of decisions about my life, and it felt good.”

    Love this part!! Finding your power as a young person is so hard and so important. For me it was just the opposite. I felt empowered by being able to choose to have sex. Like my body was mine to choose to share with other people. I think that what’s really powerful about sex and sexuality is the choice.

  • Nikilodeon May 10th, 2012 2:12 AM

    This article has definitely given me a lot of insight, and it’s comforting to know that some people out there actually think that there’s a self-assuring power behind not having sex right away. Rookie, your articles about sex are very enlightening. Thank you for a different perspective. :) I am just curious, though, what’s your take on girls who choose to abstain until marriage?

  • Jocasta May 10th, 2012 2:55 PM

    I just wanted to say that being in high-school and being a virgin, I’m not alien to these emotions. I feel like people think that all virgins do is sit on top of a shelf and feel sexually frustrated. Wrong. It might not be a choice that I’m not in a relationship right now, but it is a choice that I’m not having sex. Sure, it’s ever so easy these days to just get it on with a guy. But I don’t crave that.
    I got told by this girl the other day that I should not be offering my pal boyfriend advice, because I’ve probably never had sex, and -hey- what do I know about life since I’ve never had sex. Some of the most immature behaviour I’ve seen on the issue was from girls themselves, shockingly.

  • Hedwig May 10th, 2012 11:03 PM

    “entertained fantasies about merely existing in his beautiful orbit” oh god I know that feeling too well

    Thank you! Consoling and inspiring stuff.

  • geronimo. May 11th, 2012 9:48 AM

    I really loved reading this article! (Can’t believe I just found out about this site). It’s really inspiring to hear everyone’s different opinions about this issue and the power they feel they have. I’m deciding to wait and i feel powerful and confident in my decision :)

  • Cherries May 12th, 2012 7:45 PM

    High five to Danielle! I felt alot like this- i didnt hate people at school, i like them enough but preferred the nice ones- well, the nice ones who were funny because they were funny and liked good comedy, not the ones who were found funny because they chanted rubbish songs or because they were cheekily insulting to a good teacher. adversely, i was also quite introvert, so i had the people i needed but after that, who would I date? surely not the people in my group of friends because when i need alone time, it would more upset a boyfriend than a friend to say “can i just lock myself away for a few days and not tell you why? i dont know why myself”

    and you’re right about getting to sex. i don’t have a flippant or crass attitude toward it, i enjoy it muchly, and i ‘have’ to be with someone to have sex, but if we ‘need’ each other it’s likely to happen better rather, say, “we’re together, this is inevitable” even though i know we’ll enjoy it either way.

  • Cherries May 12th, 2012 7:46 PM

    basically? i agree, but i’ve never put it in to words and still cant put it in to words nearly as good as you do!

  • trudy May 15th, 2012 1:39 PM

    It’s interesting that the author defines herself as a virgin until age 22 when she had intercourse, even though she says she did “everything else” sexual with her boyfriend, starting at age 19, for three years. Of course, the way she thinks about her virginity is totally up to her. At the same time, I think can be emotionally problematic for girls to think of only intercourse as “real” sex, and not to define other things as real sex, like oral sex, etc. To explain why she wanted to delay sex, the author talks about how she didn’t want to throw the emotional complexity that comes with sex into her already complicated life. While she acknowledges that her 3-year relationship DID bring this complexity into her life, despite never having “official” sex, I think she could have made this clearer in her article, especially for the benefit of younger teenage girls reading it. Being in a sexually intimate relationship adds emotional complexity, no matter what KIND of sex you are having. And I think it’s important to note that this open-minded way of thinking about sex is inclusive of women in relationships with other women, who don’t have heterosexual intercourse but still face the emotional joys and challenges of sexual intimacy.

  • meep June 16th, 2012 8:28 AM

    It has nothing to do with the point of this article, but this bit sort of irked me:

    “Or that I’d been fairly independent for most of my life up to that point, and had no idea how to include someone else in my life in a real way. I had some major things to fix before I could consider myself a fully functioning person”

    I’m a fairly independent person myself & the thought of a relationship where I have to take someone into account all the time for a prolonged period of time is completely unappealing to me.

    What do you mean when you say ‘in a real way’? Is having friends or relationships where two people are still independent individuals not real?

    That last sentence hit me the hardest. While I completely identify with (the old) you, I never felt that I’m not a fully functioning person. Why should you change yourself to feel comfortable in a relationship that’s considered the norm by society? My independence has always led to me feeling suffocated in a ‘normal’ relationship’. But I’ve always thought that this just means I have different needs & wishes compared to people that don’t feel this way.

    Who can actually define what a fully-functioning human being is? In my eyes, we’re all fully functioning, but we all function differently.

    I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your words, but reading this on here just disappointed me.

  • Maradoll Mynx June 26th, 2012 2:45 AM

    Just get to the sex part!!!! ROFL. Seriously this was the boringmost sex scandal imaginable but somehow it made me feel way closer to you :) Although I fell in love at 16, sex was amazing, etc., LONG STORY. Haha. Thanks though for sharing that and baring that…P.S. I hope you’ll write a book and pick up where this leaves off b/c I want to know more about this fabulous person :)

  • marcgirl July 4th, 2012 3:56 AM

    This is just awesome! I’ve never read anything that talked about sex that I could relate to so well…just one reason Rookie rocks!

  • Gorda July 24th, 2012 8:18 PM

    Right on

  • BristolianBetty August 3rd, 2012 6:06 PM

    This article sums up the way I think SO MUCH. I’ve always been sexually shy when I’ve had strong personal feelings towards a guy, which makes me over-think everything and always leads to me running a mile pretty early on. I want my sex life to be ‘fun and easy’ to, and to be casually confident. A friend of mine is more than happy to ‘show me the ropes’ as it were. I worried that t was ‘slutty’ to have sex for the first time this way, but now I feel like it will be very eye opening and exciting, and I can’t wait to just have some fun. Thanks!!!

  • banana12 August 13th, 2012 10:23 PM

    I wish I would have read this article a long time ago, it would have said me a lot of problems and stress.

    I gave my virginity to a boy, who gave me the willies. However, if I never would of had sex with him, I would have never found out what creep he was.

    This is just fabulous and just what I needed to hear.

  • lovelyhippo September 3rd, 2012 5:30 PM

    This article gives me more power and more happiness to stay a virgin until i decide the time is right.