I’m a 22-Year-Old Virgin

Lucia Rosenast @luciaafaye

I have a weird relationship with sex, in the sense that I don’t really have one at all.

A few traumatizing years of private catholic school, cheating parents, and  premature exposure to some pretty terrifying porn gave me an aversion to sex that lasted well, until now.

When I was 16 years old I made a promise to myself and, I guess, the universe that I would lose my virginity to the hook of the Disclosure and Sam Smith song “Latch.” I’d had the whole thing planned out; the stuff of fanfiction dreams. The person would be taller than me, have a nice car, dress nicely, and the most important requirement of all: they’d be in love with me.

Six years go by and the song at the top of the charts isn’t “Latch” anymore. In fact, Disclosure announced their hiatus after I graduated high school and now here I am on a college campus… still a virgin.

Obviously people don’t know this until I tell them, but when I do, I’m naturally asked, “Why?”

When I was a teen I would answer with, “I don’t want to go to hell for premartial sex,” — but that wasn’t me speaking. It was the scary nuns that taught a bunch of kids nothing about sex ed and everything about the immaculate conception. The real answer was uncovered after a few intense therapy sessions coaxed it out of me. 

After wondering why I squirmed and grew quiet when my friends spoke of their hookups, I was discovered that among issues of body image and self confidence struggles, I held a deep-seeded fear of intimacy. I couldn’t fathom the thought that sex wasn’t always the stuff of fairytales and One Direction fanfics. It required physical and emotional connection. I feared the thought of sharing my body with another person. I’d seen, of course, historically and firsthand the power that sex had over people and the power that it did not

How you could ‘give’ away part of yourself to someone and not have it matter at all — or have it matter too much — I still can’t seem to grasp. I’m not afraid of the act, I’d gotten to the “do you want to…?” portion a handful of times, but I’ll always answer coyly or with a kiss to distract them. 

I become paralyzed when I think of the influence they might gain over me after we have sex. I’d been the background character in enough people’s love stories to know about the term “dickmatized”, and I believed it truly existed. I’d waited this long, would finally losing my virginity to someone put me in a more vulnerable position? 

“That is your anxiety talking,” my therapist would tell me. Was it? Or was it my brain picking apart my true personality?

Only recently have I grown curious about having a sexual relationship. How could I not? It was all around me. The media, group messages, private messages, finsta posts all raging about one thing: sex. Sometimes my curiosity is so severe that I think I might combust. Other times I write it off with a shrug and think to myself, What’s another 22 years?

I don’t mean it, of course, as I’m actively on dating apps and a little too quick to text back someone I’m interested in. However, I’m decidedly not in a rush to have sex for the first time, not anymore.

I’ll keep on telling my therapist about the person who kissed me three months ago and how I wish I’d thrown caution to the wind and just went for it. She’ll keep listening to and telling me why she thinks I didn’t go all the way. I’ll heed her advice as I always do, but stay content with the fact that I’m learning how to be ready. And soon, I’ll know when I am.

In the meantime, “Latch” is still an excellent song to loop. 

 

Art and photos by Lucia Rosenast