I lost my virginity at 24 when I moved in with my now-husband. My goal was to wait until marriage, but at that time in my life, I knew in my gut, and in my vagina, that it was right.
Let me qualify by saying: My brand of virginity had a lot of gray areas. Not Fifty Shades of Grey gray areas, per se, but more like doing “everything but” in order to stick with God’s plan. Now that I’ve questioned the strict rules of my religious upbringing, the message I will give to my children will be much different: Safe sex and consent are crucial, but besides that, it’s up to you to decide when you feel ready.
So, it’s important to say that no woman should be shamed for her sexual choices, whether she is an early or a late bloomer. But in my experience as an old virgin, it wasn’t all bad. There were a few benefits to holding off on sex:
1. Less pressure
Once I laid my V-card on the table, I normally got one of two reactions from guys: Either they conveniently lost interest, or they were cool with dating a virgin. My past boyfriends who agreed to enjoy the appetizer without the main course never pressured me for more, and for that, I will always be grateful. Erotic coach and sex educator Dawn Serra sums up, “It’s less about peer pressure and more about peer pleasure. So often, young people feel like having sex is the only way to keep a partner, to fit in or because they don’t realize they have a choice in the matter.”
2. Less shaving
Depending on which base you plan to cross at the end of the night, you may not have to shave your lady parts for a date, like, ever. That’s what I call sweet, sweet freedom.
3. Lots o’ heavy petting
Yay for copping a feel! The 1950s were onto something. Call me old fashioned, but there’s nothing like getting groped for an entire evening without having to take your clothes off.
4. No awkwardness at the end of the night
Should we bone or shouldn’t we? How do I tell him I’m just not feeling it? Once I made my “no-sexpectations” known on a date, that uncomfortable dilemma at the end of the night was eliminated.
5. No fussing with birth control
Learning how to properly use birth control at a young age is a wonderful thing — and many women who aren’t sexually active use birth control for medical reasons — but I consider my long-time virgin status to be a money-saver. Taking the pill 10 years later than most of my friends put a few hundred dollars back in my pocket. Serra adds, “Without the stress of worrying about the effectiveness of your birth control, instead you can focus entirely on enjoying yourself (and your partner).”
6. No comparisons
The common refrain I’ve heard from several girlfriends who also happened to hold on to their virginity longer than most is: Sex is great because there’s really nothing else to compare it to. Christine Baumgartner, dating and relationship coach, says that in her six years of working with clients, she’s noticed that older virgins aren’t as jaded by bad past sexual experiences.
7. Better at handling rejection
How many times have I been rejected because I wouldn’t put out? The answer is: Too many to count. Getting blown off by a guy for this reason always stung, but I soon learned to take it all in stride. It was nothing personal.
8. Better way to weed out the creeps
There are plenty of ways to weed out guys who “just want one thing” and refusing to have sex is one of them. Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, says, “When I’ve worked with women who are virgins, they tend to have so much self-induced embarrassment about their virgin status — they would rather be with anyone to get it over with. While you may think guys typically would never turn down an opportunity to have sex, the ones that only want to have hook-ups or casual relationships typically don’t want to be your first. A common fear: They don’t want to deal with any potential emotional aftermath they presume virgins experience. Here’s the upside: If the guy only wants a fling (and may be emotionally unavailable too), it could save you the possible heartache if you end up wanting more.”
9. More body confidence
Here’s another fun fact that will put some pep in your step if you are living the “YOLO Virgin” lifestyle. Baumgardner continues, “[Older virgins] generally liked their bodies. Not caring about someone else’s opinion about their naked body was helpful.” Jenny Block, author of O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm, adds, “One advantage to being an older virgin is that when you do have sex, you are — hopefully — more comfortable in your own skin. That means having body confidence and not being afraid to ask for what you want and stand up for your sexual rights and needs. Just because you are a virgin doesn’t mean you’re not an expert when it comes to your own sexuality.”
10. More sarcasm
By the tenth time you’ve tackled the “no-sex” talk on a date, you get pretty good at witty quips to diffuse the tension. April Masini of AskApril.com says that the biggest bonus of holding off on P-in-the-V sex could be the chance to practice your sarcasm, “Wait — did I miss the memo? Was I supposed to have sex?!”
11. More male friendships
What happens when a guy isn’t interested in you because you won’t have sex? To look on the bright side, you’ve just earned yourself a new male friend, and I have plenty of them. Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, says, “If you’re an old virgin, you’ve made that decision about your sexual values, and you’ve made a commitment to yourself in terms of your sexual expression. You know that you’re only going to be sexual with a partner when you feel secure enough in the emotional intimacy of your relationship.”
12. More anticipation
Think of it this way — waiting to do the deed is like waiting for Christmas morning. I’m not going to pretend like first-time sex for anyone isn’t awkward, but we old virgins do have the opportunity to fantasize and get really, really excited about the pleasure to come. Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, family and relationship psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent and co-star on Sex Box, says, “Saving up for a long time can only build on huge excitement coming. You may not have an orgasm the first time you have sex. After all, he’s going to have a task at hand. But, if you’re with the right partner and you have lots of great intimate communication and foreplay leading up to the ‘Big One,’ things should go well.”