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Monday, April 28 2008

Secondary Virginity

There are some “take-back-the-hymen” and “my-erection-meant-something-then-but-nothing-now” type virginity folk who are willing to believe that their sexual experiences weren’t worth the load and now won’t shoot their load, or have a load shot in them, until they’re really ready. These people place a hunk of value on the act of sex (and yes, I believe all sex should be valued, which is different than placing a heap of value on all sex), and what it must mean and what it must do to/for/in them. They want to reclaim their sexual celibacy. Reclaiming their sexual celibacy, they hope, will lead to a more meaningful connection as they ease-on down the road.

I am not one of those people, but the reclaiming part fascinates me.

Even now, as the BBC reports that no-sex programs are not working, and as our government continues to wake up and smell the sex (it is, after all, happening in high schools all around them) women and men contemplate how to infuse meaning into all of their sexual relationships, even if they were never taught how to deal with sex growing up. Yes, the wheels are turning - can you hear them squeak? - as the United States contemplates what to do about what we teach when it comes to sex ed. And as we contemplate the struggle that always evolves, and revolves, around sex - people, both young and old, who want their virginity back are reclaiming the born-again status. Again and again.

Looking for an out? Call it secondary virginity. And here are five ways to do it (from Love Matters.com):

  1. Make a firm commitment to save yourself for marriage from now on, and believe you can do it. (Because you can!)
  2. Get away from people, places, things and situations that weaken your self-control. Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do is avoid people who tempt us.
  3. Avoid intense hugging, passionate kissing and anything else that leads to lustful thoughts and behavior. Anything beyond a brief, simple kiss can quickly become dangerous.
  4. Find non-physical ways to show your love and appreciation.
  5. Remember that anyone can start over. Including you! When you focus on commitment and self-discipline, you can control your impulses.

Save. Weaken. Avoid. Dangerous.

All bad words (used above) that make people feel badly. Instead why can’t we just agree, if you want to wait to have sex (again) with someone because you want to guarantee more than a loin-based connection - wait. Don’t make a big deal about it. Just do it. That’s all I’m asking.

Planned Parenthood estimates that two thirds of teenagers will have experienced sexual intercourse by the time they leave school. On top of that, America has one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world (750,000 teenage pregnancies a year). I remember a statistic from when I was in my masters program, one that said that the US was the second most sexually repressed Western country, behind Ireland.

I bring this all up because I think we place too much emphasis on the guilt and bad-feelings we get from being, on average, a sex-negative culture. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of sex-positive people putting out sex-positive vibes, but there is still too much guilt and shame and bad juju being built up around sexual activity, whether or not it was with the “one.” Have you ever noticed that there are so many ones out there? How can there be just one one?

Sex is an experience. Whether you do it with someone you love or someone you just like enough to see how it feels because you want to feel sex, it doesn’t matter. Why and how you do it are up to you, and even choosing not to is a decision I understand. But if that decision means trying to say that none of it mattered, good or bad, and erasing it from your life (which secondary virginity doesn’t have to mean) then it’s a decision I don’t understand.

That which does not kill us only proves to make us stronger. Right Nietzsche, right?

Life is like a book. Each experience, each relationship, each lesson, long or short, is a chapter in that book. So even if you choose secondary virginity, but hopefully not with such extreme hatred of your first experiences, know that you are who you are because of it all. That what has happened is part of who you are. That this is just another chapter.

And turn the page.

Tell Me You Love Me


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