I was the first one of my friends to actually get a boyfriend. It was middle school and obviously puppy love, but I didn't know that then. Relationships back then mostly involved sitting together in class and having long conversations on the phone. That ended, though, and after that I had a couple more boyfriends in school. But nothing physical ever happened with any of them.
Then my best friend had her first kiss. I suppose that’s when it started. I was obviously the first call she made and she didn't spare any detail. She was always super-excited about this kind of stuff after that and I was always excited for her. But then she would always say, “You should just DO it, making out is so much fun! Then you’ll know what I'm talking about.”I would just shrug it off and tell her it would happen when it had to happen.I passed out of school, and that’s when I had my first kiss. It was absolutely terrible. I was drunk, the guy was drunk. And later I found out that he and his girlfriend were on a break then. Even without all of that, the kiss was quite terrible. I could tell even without having been kissed before that. Maybe that’s what made me a bit reserved about stuff. When I was in college, I kissed a lot of boys. But whenever things looked like they were heading towards sex, I would bail. I just wasn't ready. My friends in college were very open-minded about sex. Some of them had been having it for years and some had it with people I introduced them to. Some were older than me, some were younger. I was still completely okay with it, but of course it did feel a bit weird when my friend who was two years younger was also having sex - very regularly, I might add. Conversations around the topic increased, and so did my input in them. Not so much that people would notice, but still. The new people I met never questioned it - they just assumed I wasn't a virgin. I stopped bothering to correct them. It was just easier for me to let them hold on to their assumptions than having to explain my reasons to ease their curiosity.
It might sound terrible, but not having sex with the boys who really wanted me to kind of gave me a sense of power. It wasn't like I was opposed to the idea, but it felt good that things were in my hand when I knew I wasn't ready. I grew more confident, and people could call me a tease or a prude, it didn't matter. I was having fun, I was comfortable with the way I looked and how I thought about my body. I didn't care what anybody thought of that - even my friends, who would be insanely confused when I spent the night at a guy’s place but still came back home with my virginity intact. A few months ago, I met a guy. A guy I really, really liked. He was four years older than me and we just seemed to connect when we met for the first time. And it was mutual understanding that we weren't interested in being just friends. In a moment of intense blabbering, I told him that I had never had sex. And he didn't blink. Not even once. And it made me smile, a smile of genuine happiness. So, yeah, I'm in my mid-twenties and I'm a virgin. It doesn't make me a prude, and it sure as hell doesn't make me any less than you.