Who's Afraid of Virgins?

MissPenName passed along this article, titled “The 30-year-old virgins,” to see what I’d make of it.

Well, let’s start with the subtitle: “It was once a badge of honor. But to the surprising number of adult women today who have not had sex, virginity is nothing but a curse.” Just ugh. But not even as ugh-ly as the image accompanying the article.

Take my cherry…please.

The “surprising number of adult women” who haven’t had sex turns out to be a decidedly unsurprising “7 percent of unmarried women between ages 25 and 29 … 5 percent between 30 and 34 and 4.3 percent between 35 and 39.” I’m not sure what number I would find “surprising,” but considering I don’t sit around contemplating the numbers of my fellow women who have or have not delicately held out their cherries for consumption in their fragile, cupped hands, I’m not sure that any number would surprise me, shy of, say, a majority. And since I also don’t contemplate the vast and myriad reasons that women decide to have or not have sex, 7% doesn’t seem unreasonable to me as the possible number of women who simply, consciously, choose to be celibate for whatever reason.

But lest my lack of imagination not run hogwild, the author assures me it’s nothing so dull. “Involuntary virginity” is, in fact, a terrible scourge, and the women who remain virgins later in life are neurotic and self-loathing—as well they should be, because men want nothing to do with mature virgins. It’s still fun, you see, to deflower an 18-year-old, because with “a young, nubile girl the fantasy is still out there. But can you imagine a 30-year-old virgin as the star of Internet-porn spam?” Huh? But from a 37-year-old man who refused to sleep with a 28-year-old virgin, we get the real reason mature virgins are undesirable: “I knew she already had a little crush on me, and if that happened, she'd have an unmanageable crush on me that would be difficult for both of us and end in tears for her.” And, from a writer at AskMen.com: “An obese thirty-something career woman virgin, for example, is not on the same level as a naäve [sic] 18-year-old virgin with a strict background who has never dated before.” Young, nubile hearts (in thin bodies?) are easier to use and abuse guilt-free.

What’s missing from this article are women who were not left feeling freakish by their later virginal status, men who don’t regard them as freaks, and any notion whatsoever that the real issues of later virginity are not female-specific. In a rare glimpses of non-hyperbolic reason in the article, a study by two Georgia State University associate professors of sociology is cited, which found that “a big part of sexual development comes from dating as a teenager and that involuntary virginity is a combination of shyness, body-image issues and getting a late start”—a conclusion, by the by, which was drawn after interviews with “34 male and female involuntary virgins.” Yet immediately thereafter, the article goes on: “A woman who has never had sex can start to feel alienated, like a social pariah, and the last virgin on earth (at least among her peers). This feeling can turn into a barrier to meeting a lover, and the chance that she'll ever have an intimate relationship starts to fade away.” Not a person. A woman. Because this article is all about the tragedy of women who aren’t getting any in an age when “women are supposed to give good head, be on top, take it from behind, experience orgasm for an hour; they're even supposed to experiment with other women.”


This could have been a good article; it could have been an interesting critique of a hypersexualized culture that has made a certain level of extroversion a prerequisite for an intimate act, which tends to disfavor the shy and socially reserved. But instead it’s just another crap piece about yet another problem plaguing women in “surprising” numbers.

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