Meg F. Schneider, MA, LCSW-R

Am I the only virgin in college?

I often hear this question, spoken with anguish, in my office.  It’s not the real question being asked, but it’s the one that’s easy to pose.  I always say “no.”

I realize that all around you young men and women are flirting with each other feverishly.  But just because students behave in a very seductive way, doesn’t mean they have the experience to back it up.   Tight pants and low cut tops don’t indicate the state of one’s “virtue” anymore than   buttoned up shirts, and a demure affect indicates virginity.   Provocative teasing and pick-up lines also don’t mean a thing.  But none of this matters because it doesn’t address the real question, which is this:

“Is there something wrong with me?”

So, here’s the answer.   There is nothing WRONG with you anymore than there is something RIGHT about a person who is not a virgin.   Everyone anticipates his or her first sexual experience differently.  It depends, amongst lots of other things, on their personalities, particular life challenges, relationships at home, insecurities, religious or moral beliefs, and the people whom they meet.  Assuming yours is not a religious issue as you would likely be more at peace with yourself, here are some of the students I meet:

    • she is an introvert, embarrassed it hasn’t happened yet and so she unhappily tries to avoid the entire issue.
    • he is a very serious anxious person who secretly fears he “won’t be good at it.”
    • she may feel frightened of the sex act and doesn’t like her body.
    • he may be uncertain as to his sexual predilection and is afraid to make a move either way…he tried once and it didn’t go well.
    • she may feel the right guy hasn’t come along but she grew up with a domineering hurtful father.  Guys scare her.

The truth is that most of the students who have lost their virginity before arriving at school, or who quickly dump it once they find themselves in a coed dorm, have not necessarily done so for great reasons.  Many students will have had sex to get it over with — so they can hit the college ground running.  This may sound good, but for the most part kids report it doesn’t feel so great emotionally or physically.  As one student reported,  “It was a mess.  I didn’t want to hang out after.  I didn’t even want to kiss him.”  Some kids may feel a sense of triumph after their first experience but they too hardly report it in glowing terms. “We did it.  I was really excited at first.  But later I thought it was pretty anticlimactic.”

Sexual intercourse for a lot of people is too big a deal to just “do it.”  Kids may say it doesn’t matter, or that they’re happy they got “that” over with, and maybe that’s honestly the way they feel.  But there’s another perspective out there that only some students will talk about openly.  Some kids really want sex to be an act of genuine emotional and physical attraction.

It strikes me as very sad when these students show up feeling like a freak show because he or she hasn’t for whatever the reason yet climbed into bed with someone.  Some people refer to it as “making love.”  Hokey maybe?  But it’s a great goal and love is not so easy to come by.  Stands to reason there would be virgins on campus.

Virginity is not a problem.   It’s just one of many thing that you are.   It’s not a sign of being “less than.”  If you think that losing your virginity will keep you from feeling like a loser or that by having sex you will finally feel like a desirable and attractive person, forget that.  Intercourse is an act.  It’s not a magic bean.  A therapist would help more.

If you’re a virgin you might want to have a little faith that you know just what you’re doing (or not doing).  You’re not ready or you haven’t met the right person or you want to be clear with yourself about what you need before you ask for it.

You can’t take it back.  You can’t return it.  You can’t pretend it didn’t happen.  So listen to yourself, think about what kind of experience you would really like, and don’t worry how many virgins are wandering around campus.

You’ll never know.  They don’t wear signs.

Copyright © 2024  Meg F. Schneider, MA, LCSW-R. All rights reserved.