Being a late bloomer is seen as a negative thing. Branded with the big old stamp of “Inexperienced,” I walk the imaginary catwalk into most bars with the fear that I will, yet again, have to tell a man I have not had sex. I usually get one of two reactions; they perk up with wide eyes like a mystical creature has stepped before them or they recoil in instantaneous fear that I will stalk them for the next two years if they fuck me for my first time. Both reactions are ridiculous, and both make my skin crawl right off of my body. My favorite reaction was when someone laughed straight in my face before accusing me of being a liar. “There was no way”, he exclaimed, I was “too pretty to be so inexperienced at twenty-one”. To him, my physical appearance is equal to that of my sexual experience . This man would then continue to try to finger me in public, as if his accusations of calling me a liar had somehow been forgotten or at least excused. There is nothing better than a man making you feel ashamed because you’ve never been fucked and then, in the same breath, try to convince you his dick is going to change your world.
I was not concerned about the state of my virginity in high school, where most kids probably have sex for the first time. I was too anxious for my own good, did not understand basic social graces, and was convinced I was ugly enough to be in a side show at the local fair. I had messy hair, never wore makeup, and the mere sight of seeing an attractive guy filled me with such terror that I lost my ability to speak. Furthermore, after trying to deal with my own attempted sexual assault, I had no desire to be touched. I had no desire for a man to look at me with sexual desire. (The looming cloud of adolescence dating weighed on me more than I would like to admit.) I was more concerned with other things like school, college applications, and my artwork. I never beamed with such pride as when I learned I would have art up in a New York State building. And although I knew about sex, I could hardly fathom the idea of a man crawling on top of me. The thought of being intimate made my stomach turn so badly, I actually questioned my sexuality. Alas, I was only ever attracted to the opposite sex.
One after the other, my girlfriends came to me with their exciting “first time” stories. I wasn’t even dating. Something was different about me. I could not even muster the courage to ask a boy to hang out.
Somewhere between being eighteen and twenty, I felt something change in me that I had never anticipated. Even now, at twenty-two, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the sudden switch that occurred, or why it happened. For the first time I felt sexually curious. I felt something new in my gut towards men. I found myself saying jokes about how I would sleep with them. I really wanted something, though I wasn’t entirely sure of what.
Little by little, I found myself opening up to sexual things. I met different men along the way who somehow broke a little piece of my shell off, which would eventually lead to some sort of bizarre sexual awakening. Little by little, I allowed myself to be more open and realized there is no harm in being kind to strangers. It’s not surprising that first time I saw a penis, I had just turned nineteen. In that summer, I made out with someone for the first time. I was curious, and I wanted to try things. I wanted experience. Still, I was not having sex because I did not want to go all the way. I thought the other stuff was more fun.
And that’s okay.
Nowhere is there a rule book that says, “By age X, you should be [very] sexually active,”. This does not matter, nor does IT define you as a person. For a while, I thought I was a freak – a socially awkward “penguin,” if you will, who went through the motions like she thought she was supposed to; like she was told was acceptable. I’m sure high-school-me could care less that I have yet to be fucked, but I know she would be mad someone said, “I don’t know, man, fucking a virgin means you’ll have someone following you around for a year.”
I’m neither a commodity nor a freak. I’m not a prize to be won and please stop calling me a unicorn. My virginity is not something you wrap in a box, with pretty foiled paper like a Christmas present. Your dick is not my saving grace from a life of sexual repression, nor is it a key to a life filled with wonders I have yet to know, as much as you’ll try to sell it to me with uncomfortable one-liners like, “My pants are totally not stuffed in that picture.” I’m sexually capable, I’m sexually open, but maybe I just don’t want your dick, dude. Maybe I just do not want your dick.