Throughout the next few months, HuffPost Teen is highlighting the way teens think and feel about sex through anecdotes written for our series, "Teen Sex: It's Complicated." All of the authors are teenagers who have agreed to be published anonymously. If you want to share your thoughts, join the conversation here.
By Alexandra, 17
A few weeks back, two friends, and I sat huddled on a bench discussing every girl’s favorite topic: Boys. Sarah was telling us in depth about her romantic history starting from middle school while Ellen chimed in here and there, for the most part staying quiet.
As the stories drew to an end, Ellen looked at me with her blissful innocence and asked if I was a virgin. On cue, my heart skipped a beat and my head swam for half a second, and then my frequently sought out lie slipped out as a small shake of my head. We didn’t elaborate on the topic. That night as I lay in bed, I felt small. I texted Ellen admitting to her the truth: I am a virgin. Something about her kind-hearted nature compelled me to let her in.
For too long now, I have been wrapped up in a lie surrounding everyone around me. Of course I know that I am still a virgin, yet everyone around me does not. I’m embarrassed to admit, that even some of my closest friends know me as someone I am not. In that moment, Sarah and Ellen thought my head-shake was in fact the truth because why would I lie about that?
From afar, people look at me and assume things. Perhaps it is the nature of society today, to assume without knowing. While I try to stay cognizant of it, I too find myself guilty of this everyday battle. My peers see me as physically attractive, intelligent, kind, sensitive, and dare I say it? NORMAL. Thus without a second thought, they assume that my sexual and romantic pasts reflect that of most other college seniors when in fact, I am quite the opposite. At 17 years old, I have never been in love, never had a serious relationship, never experienced heartbreak, never had sex.
To be truthful, Ellen (and my mother) are now the only two people who know of my innocence. So why do I lie about my virginity? I myself question this so frequently. I am by no means ashamed to have not experienced this sense of intimacy, but while I generally consider myself a confident young woman, I find myself becoming painfully aware of my lack of experience when surrounded by my peers.
So what really does this say about our culture? Why am I SO afraid of society's disapproval? It seems that our wariness about fitting in has transformed into a skepticism that critiques every individual. When it comes to the behavior of being “prude," girls (and guys) will do almost anything to contradict that label. This stigma angers me because our generation prides itself on being open-minded and changing stereotypes when really, it is a battle of hypocrisy.
For example, I feel proud that a gay couple can be openly together at a party and no one bats an eye. Society has overcome incredible barriers that have allowed a once narrow-minded attitude evolve into revolutionary changes. At the same time, if I were to make known my virginity amongst the same group of people, I would be judged and labeled as a prude. It does not seem fair that one minority in a group can be wholly accepted while I am marginalized. Should I be looked down on for not wanting to jump into bed with a guy after a couple of drunken makeouts? Because it also seems I would be looked down on if I did. It is not my plan to save myself for marriage. In fact, I would really like to have sex!
However, it is my plan to have my first time be with someone whom I love and who loves me back with equal respect. In this light, others could perhaps better understand it. A girl wants to be in love to have sex for the first time. Considering this girl has yet to be in a serious relationship, the likelihood of her experiencing love is probably going to be considerably less than if she were to have been in serious relationships. From this standpoint, I’d like to think it doesn’t seem so ridiculous.
I respect myself for standing by my beliefs, but I also hate myself for lying. Every time I verbalize that little lie, I feel as if I have fallen prey to the social standards anyway. But I am not a liar. At least, I do not want to be, yet it seems that I am more frozen by the fear of my peers’ disapproval, than admitting a truth that in reality is nobody’s business.
As Ellen once said, “I am tired of explaining my abstinence to my perplexed peers” (regarding her decision not to drink). I shouldn’t feel the need to lie, but I also shouldn’t have to explain my reasoning to anybody other than whom I choose to. However, when the truth slips out, so does the judgment and so do the questions. Hence, I lie to escape the inexplicable harshness of my peers. I don’t enjoy this, but now it seems that it is too late to change.
---Read more from "Teen Sex: It's Complicated":
- "I Became Hell-Bent On Losing My Virginity"
- "I Had A Baby At 14, And Here's What I Now Know About Sex"
- "Why I Now Feel Confident, Not Terrified, About Losing My Virginity"
- "I'm Gay, But I Don't Regret Having Sex With My High School Girlfriend"
- "I'm Demisexual -- Here's What That Means"
- "What Losing My Virginity Made Me Realize"
- "My 'First Time' Was Really Embarrassing"
- "I Wanted To Wait For Marriage -- Then I Changed My Mind"
- "Sex Was Mysterious, Intriguing And Terrifying"
- "I Expected A Monumental Change In Myself After Sex"
- "Immediately After Sex, He Stopped Talking To Me"
- "The Act Of Sex Scares Me"
- "I Slept Around Because Sex Didn't Feel Like A Big Deal"
- "Being A Virgin Sucks, But I'm Still Waiting"
- "There's No One I Can Talk To About Sex"
- "In Eighth Grade, I Signed A Celibacy Contract"
- "I Feel Like I'm The Only One Who Doesn't Regret Having Sex"
- "I Thought I Was Ready To Lose My Virginity"
- "Sex Is A Symbol Of Popularity At My School"
- "It Seemed Like Sex Was Some Kind Of Boulder Hanging Over Us"
- "I Argue With Myself Every Day About Losing My Virginity"
- "I'm Staying A Virgin So I Don't Disappoint My Family"
- "Sex Was Nothing To Me"
- "Sometimes, I Don't Know What To Believe When It Comes To Sex"