The Dignity and Right to Decide: Why Being a Virgin is Okay

by: Emma Rose 

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In The Breakfast Club, Claire spends a lot of energy trying to evade the question of her virginity. Eventually, Allison addresses her fear saying, “Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?”

When I first watched the movie in high school, I was surprised that Claire carried so much embarrassment and shame with her VCard.  She was, after all, only 16 years old with her whole adult life ahead of her to discover her sexuality.

It’s been nine years since I first sat through John Hughes’s iconic Saturday detention. Now, I’m paying bills, pinning homemade shelving projects on Pintrest, favoriting conflict-free engagement rings on Etsy, and working a full-time job.  Although I oftentimes deny it and hide under the covers in the morning, I am officially an adult. And, I still haven’t had sex.

When I first moved out of Chicago, I met a guy who was canvasing for the Red Cross. We started talking about social justice-y things, and he asked how I got involved in the work that I do. When I told him it stemmed from my faith, he stepped back and looked surprised. Turns out, he was fairly prejudice against religious people and didn’t realize that Catholics could exert as much social concern as Secular Humanists.

Despite our disagreement on religion, I was happy to have found a person my age who shared my social interests. We exchanged phone numbers and decided to meet up just as friends.

Every time we hung out, he would ask hot-button questions about Catholicism and try to out-logic me and convince me that I was wrong. One day, we were in the midst of one of these conversations, and he said, “And, what about this whole waiting until marriage thing? You don’t honestly believe in that, do you?”

“Actually, yes I do,” I responded.

“Wait, you mean you’re a…”

“Virgin, yes.”

After an, unbelieving pause, he burst out laughing, “Oh my God, you can’t be serious. You’re a virgin? That’s just so cute.”

“What about that is cute?” He didn’t hear my full question before he started tickling me and talking to me like I was a five-year-old.

I backed away from him and repeated the question. Apparently, my decision to wait was young and naïve. I couldn’t possibly be considered an adult while still maintaining my virginity. It was sad that the Catholic Church left me so guilt-laden that I couldn’t live a full, independent life.  He refused to listen to my reasons for waiting, refused to hear me as a thinking person, refused to acknowledge that his preconceived notions about my beliefs and life decisions could be wrong. Then, he tried to take away what I had held onto so dearly.

Here’s what I have to say to you, Mr. Pompous, Closed-Minded, Dignity-Snatching, “Humanitarian” Ass Hole.

It’s OK to be a virgin.

In fact, it’s great. I love it! I wouldn’t have it any other way. You may not respect me as a well-rounded adult, but I consider my decision to wait one of the most mature choices I’ve made. Sure, Catholicism has shaped my beliefs on sex and marriage, but I’m not a virgin because my Church shamed and manipulated me into it. I am a virgin because I believe that my body is beautiful and one of the most amazing gifts I could share with a person. I am a virgin because I want my sex life to be something special I experience with my husband. I am a virgin because I believe that when I share my sexuality, I will also share my soul. I am a virgin because I am a strong, empowered woman who decides who gets to share in her body and who doesn’t. You, sir, do not have that privilege.

You don’t get to tell me that you’re more grown up than I am because you’ve lost track of how many women you’ve slept with. Your decision to split your soul into countless sexual horcruxes does not make you better than me. Nor does my decision to wait make me better than you. If I respect your ability to make adult decisions about your body, why do you get to judge me for the decisions I make with mine?

Needless to say, this friendship didn’t last. I went home that night, blocked him from facebook, and haven’t talked to him since. I still get flashbacks of a forced hand or a voice telling me to give in. Yet, part of me wishes I had the strength to send him this article.

If I ever ran into him again, I would tell him that the way he treated me was wrong. My virginity is not something that can be stolen. Nor, is it “cute.” It is the mark of a strong, confident adult woman.

I would tell him that I found a wonderful man who also wants to wait until marriage- a man who not only respects my body but also has the courage and strength to follow his own convictions. I would tell him that we are incredibly happy together and that our decision to wait has brought us life, love and joy.

I’m not trying to preach abstinence or force my beliefs on sexuality. I’m just asking for respect. I’m demanding to be viewed as a fully grown woman. Every person has the dignity and right to decide when and with whom they share their body.

I’m an adult. I’m a virgin. I’m proud of it.

Not to mention, my boyfriend thinks it’s sexy.

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2 responses to “The Dignity and Right to Decide: Why Being a Virgin is Okay

  1. Thank you for writing this, it is exactly how I feel. Many times I’ve told a guy I’m still a virgin and they started treating me like a child. It is so annoying. Next time I’ll show this to them because you’ve said it much better than I could.

  2. Damn straight! Don’t let anybody put your strength and convictions down… owning one’s sexuality with dignity, respect and maturity is the mark of an evolved and sophisticated human being! Huzzah!

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