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Why I'm Still a Virgin
T.B.
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In junior high school, a small group of my friends started talking about girls in our class who they thought were fast.

“I can tell Melinda is a tramp,” Kevin said. “Look at the way she dresses.”

“That’s not nice,” I said. “You don’t know what she does. She could be a virgin.”

I was very interested in Kevin’s response because I was a virgin, and this conversation made me wonder if my virginity was an issue with my male friends.

“Yeah, right,” Kevin said. All my friends started to laugh.

I said, “I hang out with y’all and I’m still a virgin.”

They couldn’t believe it. They assumed that every girl in our class had already lost her virginity. It seemed to be something that everyone was doing. That day, I bet Kevin $50 that I would still be a virgin in my senior year in high school. Of course he laughed and said, “No you won’t.”

In a way, their comments felt like a challenge. They said it like I wasn’t strong enough to restrain myself from having sex, like I would soon give in to the pressure.

I told them I was too young, I was too shy, I had no time, and I wasn’t really interested. They listened to my reasons. I think they had more respect for me and even understood why I wasn’t having sex.

At the same time, I wondered if I was acting like a baby. My friends made me feel that sex was this important thing that I had to do. It was like they were suggesting I wasn’t a woman yet.

A year later, I started changing physically, yet I was still very shy and very quiet about boyfriends and relationships. I thought some guys were cute, but I didn’t have the guts to do anything about it, not even talk to them. My feelings went away quickly. Sometimes I wondered what sex was really like, and I wanted to know how it felt.

But I was too scared to even have a boyfriend. On talk shows, I saw the bad experiences that people had when they were dating. On one show a girl’s boyfriend dumped her for her best friend, and on another, a girl got pregnant and her boyfriend didn’t want to take responsibility. It made me afraid.

My mom would just tell me that I should wait until I was older. I started hearing her and my grandmother talk about sex by stressing phrases like, “I don’t want any babies I didn’t birth,” or, “Nice girls wait until they’re older.”

These two women were my role models so, obviously, I took their opinions into consideration. They were strong-willed women who waited to have sex with their husbands. To me, they had chosen the right path to living life to the fullest.

image by Stephanie Montanez

Meanwhile, kids in school were saying how sex felt good and that they were glad they were experiencing it. In a way, I wondered if I was less of a woman than the fast girls because I had not experienced sex yet, along with the fact that I didn’t have a serious boyfriend and that I wasn’t even trying to look for one. That’s what I thought being a woman meant.


When I did choose a boyfriend, I was 14 and his name was Shawn. His best quality was that he could make me laugh. We would talk about TV, music, people we didn’t like, movies, and, of course, our on and off again relationship. When I told him over the phone that I was a virgin, he said that I was the first girl he had gone out with who was still a virgin.

We went out for about a year. Now and then, he would ask if we could go further than kissing and I refused. I didn’t want people to think that I was easy. I was scared that if I did anything my parents would find out and be very upset. I liked him less and less and we kept breaking up because he was very flirtatious with other girls. I was mad at him practically every day.

Finally Shawn must have realized how serious I was about my decision. One Friday afternoon he called and said that his conscience was telling him to come clean with me about something. Then he proceeded to tell me about the numerous girls he had slept with during our relationship.

I could hardly breathe. I was getting sick to my stomach, but I tried my best not to show any emotion. His words were like knives cutting my heart in two. I cared a lot about Shawn and I wished that he could have had consideration for my feelings and not slept with all those other girls. It hurt to know that I was being faithful and he wasn’t.

I could sense that he wanted to break up, so I took the next step. I wanted him to feel as if I’d had it on my mind for a while to break up with him. Shawn and I decided that we could remain friends.

I hoped that after we broke up, he would respect me more because I didn’t sleep with him. I knew the girls that he slept with got no respect from him because he talked about them like dogs, calling them “hos” and “strawberries.” I was glad that I still had control of my reputation.

After Shawn and I broke up, I saw all my friends get into serious relationships and they seemed so loved and wanted. I was envious.

I was very insecure about myself. I was kind of chubby and I felt that no boy would like a chubby girlfriend. I’d see other girls with their boyfriends playing, hugging, kissing, and snuggling. To me they were lucky because someone besides their family members loved them. If they had a family problem, they had someone to talk to. But that wasn’t enough to change my mind. I wasn’t ready.

For a while, I stayed out of relationships altogether. When guys in school or in the street asked me my name or my phone number, I would act like I didn’t hear them or tell them that I had a boyfriend. I just tried to put distance between myself and any guy who seemed to like me.

When I was 15, I got interested in journalism and acting. To my surprise, I was winning contests and joining clubs. There were more interesting things than relationships that I wanted to enjoy. My grandmother also had said, “there’s a time for everything,” and I knew I had time in the future to have sex.

Now, I’m a senior in high school. I’m still a virgin and I’m not scared to admit it. (Kevin, if you read this, you owe me $50.) I will never be scared to tell that to a guy. Because if he doesn’t like me for who I am, then he doesn’t need to be with me. I want other virgins out there to know that they shouldn’t feel ashamed, stupid, or scared because they haven’t had sex.

I realize that it’s OK not to be ready to have sex, even though people around my block find it uncommon. Luckily, I don’t have friends who pressure me. Right now, there’s so much out there that I want to see and do. I have to be satisfied with my life in general and right now, thinking about someone else would be disastrous for me. I have to know what’s good for me first.

Today, I’m just not ready.

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