Tonight I was walking home from work, texting my friend Lisa,* and I realized I didn’t know whether or not she was a virgin. Until about 3 years ago, I had tabs on all my friends’ sexual activity – I knew that Kate had been only ever had sex with her boyfriend, that Caroline lost her virginity at sixteen, but hadn’t slept with anyone in a while, and that Rebecca liked sleeping with anyone who made her feel special. I kept tabs because I truly thought it mattered. Somehow, virginity and sexual experience seemed to define people. Which meant that I was naive, inexperienced, and unknowledgeable.
What I realized today was that none of it matters. I don’t know whether Lisa is still a virgin or not, and I don’t care. She might be, she might not be, but who gives a damn? Virginity does not define you – it doesn’t make you a good or bad person, it doesn’t make you smart or stupid, it doesn’t make you beautiful or ugly. Your participation in a specific sexual encounter says nothing about who you are. Nothing.
For a long time I thought losing my virginity would be a big deal – that it would somehow change me. News flash: it didn’t. I woke up the next day feeling exactly the same as I had the day before (maybe just a tiny bit more sore). The world didn’t stop spinning, I didn’t get invited to join some special club, and I didn’t feel “mature” all of a sudden. Want to know why? Because I was already the person that I am, with or without the intangible concept of “virginity.” Sex is a big step for a couple and you need to trust, respect, and be comfortable with the people you sleep with – but sex doesn’t need to be a big deal. It’s just another step in a sexual relationship. And it doesn’t need to involve anyone outside of the people who are participating in it. Because honestly? It’s just sex.
*All names have been changed.