This post is part II of this one. Perhaps it should have been the article to post the first time around.
My name is Alice, and I have never had sex.
I guess you could say I’m one of those girls. Those girls who wanted their first time to be “special” in some way. Those girls who wanted to “wait for the right person”. Those girls who say things like, “I need to feel a connection with them”. And through a combination of growing up the tall, shy and awkward one, and not being fortunate to come across someone I really clicked with, over the years sex unintentionally passed me by. At 27, I suppose I’m a little late in entering the game. But in a recent study 1 in 8 of the 26 year olds they interviewed were still virgins. So despite living in a society where people bang on about sex all the time, it seems there are a lot of us out there not, well, banging.
I grew up on Disney movies. I loved early Taylor Swift music. Tim McGraw. Love Story. You Belong With Me. People in my university halls berated me for not pulling guys on nights out but I didn’t see the appeal. I wanted a boyfriend, love, marriage, family. But I was too tall, too skinny, too shy, too awkward to get it. Class freak in school, didn’t fit in at university, online dating never really worked for me. I’ve had one boyfriend, but he 180ed after a couple of weeks, so sex unintentionally didn’t end up happening. Aside from that, I’ve kissed a fair few men (and a few women too), I’ve been on dates, but I guess I never met the right person. I’m an “all-or-nothing” person- I tend to know quickly if I see something going somewhere, and if it’s not, I don’t see the point in dating casually to kill time. I find making out with guys in clubs boring unless there’s a genuine attraction. I find the idea of doing more odd unless there’s a deeper connection. Friend with benefits is a non-starter: I know I’d get attached, and to be honest, I don’t see the point.
People can have sex for all kinds of reasons. Some do it for love, or at least, lust. Some do it because they quite fancied each other on a night out. Some do it because they didn’t particularly fancy each other, but they were horny and the other person was there. Some do it for money. But equally, people can not have sex for all kinds of reasons. Some are waiting for marriage. Some want a connection that’s more than sex, and they haven’t found that person yet. Some just haven’t had an opportunity where they have particularly wanted to. And some people just aren’t interested. All these and more are equally valid, and to be honest, they’re none of anyone else’s business. The reasons why someone is a virgin can be as varied and complex as the reasons people choose to have sex. People are individuals and life doesn’t always fall into stereotype.
We’re told that numbers don’t matter. That we shouldn’t judge people for sleeping around. And we don’t. If you write an article on “slut-shaming”, you’re publishing opinions that you already know 90% of people are going to agree with. Yet it’s the same people sharing those articles that later comment saying they would never date someone who’s a virgin. It’s the same people who shame me for not having sex who then complain about how awful it is for women to be judged for sleeping around. Men who complain about slut-shaming judge conservative women as less sexual. Men who think its terrible for women to be judged for having sex on the first date think it’s OK to stop seeing someone for not having sex on the third. It seems like the only number you’re allowed to be judged for is 0.
They say representation is important. And I suppose it is. We all want to feel like we’re not alone in the world. As a skinny blonde girl, I see my look represented over and over on the catwalk, in the media, in other people’s blogs. But my mind and my heart, I never see in the mainstream. I see sex positive, I see liberal, I see the majority view. I read other girls’ dating blogs, I watch their YouTube videos, and they’re interesting, but they’re not relatable. I never see me. So I look to alternative media, and I see the girls that think like me, the ones that think differently. But the girls with views like mine are restricted to alternative media. Their voices aren’t allowed to be heard.
But recently, I was given an opportunity to represent those people on a bigger platform. After the results of the survey revealing how Millennials are having less sex were released, I was commissioned by The Telegraph to write an article about my thoughts and experiences, and ended up appearing on the front cover. I then appeared on 3 radio shows, in other magazines, and I was interviewed on This Morning. I had my 15 minutes of fame. My story was covered by The Daily Mail, the Independent, Unilad, and more. I had a load of people try and add me on Facebook. People tweeted me offering their congratulations. I read through the comments. Some offered me praise. One came out with the classic “get it over with!” (because I’ve NEVER EVER heard that one before!). Some said they can’t believe I’m only 27 as I look like I’m in my late thirties, and I have a face that should be hung around a witchdoctor’s neck. But it wasn’t about those people. It was about the ones who messaged me, the girls like me, who told me they loved my interview and feel more confident now they know they’re not alone. Now they know it’s OK to go against the grain.
I have never had sex. But I’m not unattractive. I’m not undateable. I’m not frigid, or prudish. I’m not disinterested in sex. I am not pure. I’m not virtuous. I’m just a twenty-something dating blogger who goes against the grain. And I refuse to be ashamed of my choice.