Editor’s Note: Sex columnist Jenni Perez sat down with three virgins to discuss their sex-free lives. Below is what transcribed. Their names have been changed to protect their privacy.
ON MAKING THE CHOICE
Adam – UCSB alumnus: The primary reason for this decision came from my faith and core values. I [am] a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). My faith stresses the importance of family and promotes abstaining from sex before marriage. Contrary to what some may believe, the LDS church is actually “pro-sex” and recognizes that sex and intimacy are a critical part of a marital relationship, and that sex is not just for creating children. The LDS church does not prohibit artificial birth control.
Angela, fourth-year student at UCSB: At first it was my aunt telling me that if I were to wait till marriage, the man would have more respect for me. As that faded in my mind, it was my group of friends. We were all kinda anti-sex – it was probably to keep people from seeing us as sluts since we partied A LOT in high school.
Alexis, third-year student at UCSB: Being a virgin isn’t a choice for some people. It is something we do out of necessity because we have yet to meet the small percentage of the population who would be willing to sleep with us. Are you there, weirdos with low standards? It’s me, Other Girl. There were people my freshman year who tried to convince me to just get someone drunk or find someone ugly (and drunk) and do it, or it would never happen. Thank you, but no.
ON CHOOSING UCSB
Adam: It would have been easy to go to a school that was more conservative or where the majority had the same belief, but that never interested me. I love being around all kinds of people — liberal, conservative, gay, straight, different ethnicities, etc. I also recognize that I may be one of the few Mormons that someone may come in contact with and I also enjoy dispelling preconceived ideas/stereotypes about my faith.
Angela: I was told the rumor, “There’s this one street (DP) where everyone has an STD.” I’ve noticed that in this hookup culture, virgins sometimes are seen as just a tougher challenge. I do pretty much everything these people who are having sex do… minus the intercourse. Whether they believe me or not, I feel fine with myself for telling [guys] that if it’s sex they want, better to look elsewhere.
Alexis: When I came to orientation there was this anti-rape presentation and this girl said, “You don’t need to rape anyone. There are 20,000 people at this school. Odds are ONE of them will sleep with you.” That statement bolstered my confidence about coming to UCSB — but UCSB, so wonderful in so many other ways, has failed me there. Not that I’m saying I’m this ignored/undiscovered beauty, [or] the school should GIVE me sex. I’m trying to say that [the] place I originally expected to be a place of acceptance and experimentation has turned out to only be so for people who are conventionally “good looking.”
ON RELATING TO SEXUALLY ACTIVE PEERS
Adam: People understood my point of view and were generally supportive. I had many friends who were sexually active, but I also recognized that they were being true to their core values.
Angela: I admit it pridefully if I’m asked, but I don’t wear a sign on my forehead that says “virgin.” When I do tell people, they give me either the “I just saw a ghost” or the “you’re fucking full of shit” look. In other words, “You look very experienced/I didn’t know 21-year-old virgins still existed.”
Alexis: I think that I am more stand-offish about sex and discussions of sexual exploits. I tend to disengage myself, or I make vague jokes (that hopefully don’t scream “I’VENEVERHADSEXCANYOUTELL?!”). If I don’t mention it, I avoid the possibility of ever being mocked or shunned for it. Preventative medicine, people. It saves lives.
ON BEING HAPPY
Adam: Sex is part of human nature and whether it is sex, hunger or studying for a class when you would rather hang out with friends, it is often hard to delay gratification. However, if I had dismissed my core beliefs, it is possible that my now-wife would have decided to move on to someone who would have more personal integrity. It was absolutely worth it.
Angela: I’m glad to know that as of now, I could still wear a white dress to my wedding and have it actually mean something. I’m not saying I’m waiting for marriage, but being a virgin has definitely worked for me. As long as there are guys that continue to pleasure me, and don’t expect me to have sex with them or return the oral favor (which I have never done, as shocking as that sounds), then I don’t see any reason to lose my virginity.
Alexis: I’m not glad that I’m missing out on something that could potentially be enriching my life. There have been many times that I have made an effort and gotten less than spectacular results, when I have been given excuses or just laughed at. So whether it was my decision or the decision of others, I guess you could say that I’m not happy about it. [But] I am glad I’m not pregnant, I’m STD-free,[and that] I’ve never regretted a hookup.