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V-Card Diaries: E "As a feminist, I feel like I’m supposed to be above the concept of 'virginity.' "

Today we're highlighting E, a feminist writer in search of a tantalizing story to call her own. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Tell us about yourself:  I’m a nerdy, feminist, twenty-something, cisgender woman in the U.S.

How do you define virginity?

For me, personally, to define virginity I’d have to define sex. I consider handjobs and oral and anal play to be different types of sex, as well as p-i-v. So I would define virginity as never having consensually engaged in any of these activities with another person. I’d also define virginity as not having confidence in one’s worth as a sexual being. By these definitions, I’m a virgin.

Tell us your story

Actually, my biggest shame about being a virgin is that I have no stories—no tantalizing tales about one-night stands, no long romantic love affairs, no drama with friends with benefits, no personal narrative about discovering my sexuality with other people. These are all experiences I’d like to have. As a writer, having experiences that I can turn into stories is very important to me, and I feel inadequate having never undergone something so central to the human experience. I also feel inadequate as a feminist—I feel that by never having had sex, I’m unwillingly complicit in upholding certain oppressive, sexist, heteronormative views of women’s sexuality, like the virgin-whore complex. At the same time, however, as a feminist, I feel like I’m supposed to be above the concept of “virginity.” But because society places such importance on sexual experience or lack thereof, I feel forced into the identity of “virgin.”

I was raised in a conservative religious environment and believed in saving sex for marriage, but I started questioning my upbringing when I went to college. There I learned about other worldviews that I felt defined me better than my former religion. I also had my first and so-far only boyfriend in college. As I drifted away from religion, my boyfriend became more involved in religious groups. We broke up never having had sex. Around this time I became friends with a diverse group of people who shared many of my new-found interests such as feminism, activism, and writing. They were very sexually experienced, and after listening to their stories, I began to feel that I was somehow lacking because I’m a virgin. For a while I assumed that sex would “just happen” for me, but the guys that I was interested in having sex with didn’t reciprocate my feelings.

Now I’m dealing with the challenges that go along with graduating and a host of other personal issues, like some unexpected health problems, which have made looking for a partner a lower priority. I have no romantic ideals about my first time—I just want to get it over with. But I’m afraid I’ll be rejected because of my inexperience. I’m also afraid that if I find a partner I love, I won’t be able to please him sexually because of my lack of experience. For now, I’m trying to build my self-esteem back up, and maybe then I’ll finally be ready to shed my virginity. I just hope by then it won’t be too late!