In the nature of revolting reality TV (Jersey Shore
, where are you!?), a new production entitled “Proof Pure,” based out of Australia, made news recently for its plans to auction off the one thing you definitely can’t get back: your virginity.
What makes this show all the more horrendous is the fact that the people auctioning off their virginity are teenagers. The Australian teens will be offering up their innocence and self-respect in Vegas brothels, where prostitution, and even prostitution involving 16 year olds, is legal.
So what does a show like this say about the society we live in? At one time or the other, sexuality was more covert than overt (well, at least on television) and virginity was something people valued rather than shunned. But with the prevalence of kooky stories about young people selling their virginity to pay for college, Disney stars turning from teenyboppers into tantalizing sex objects and teen moms (thanks a lot, Jamie Lynn Spears) and trash television programs such as “Proof Pure,” your “v-card” is worth less than a $2 bill these days. Especially in college, where it seems like most people are doing it, including your disgusting neighbor and the girl you thought was a book worm. But what if you want to maintain your virginity in college? And when is the right time to start thinking about having sex? Take some tips from these collegiate ladies who’ve done it, haven’t done it, and wish they didn’t do it, to help you understand why they chose to keep their v-card even when everyone else isn’t.
The Campus Role Model: Virgin
“I don't think a lot of the young women are ready, furthermore I feel a lot of these women haven't taken the time to learn their bodies, yet are having sex, and that's problematic,” says University of Missouri Senior Carletha Johnson. Carletha is a virgin and hopes to stay one until marriage, but because of the stereotypes about sex in college that she heard about while in high school, her abstinence is as surprising to her as it is to those who know her best.“I never thought I would actually wait until marriage,” Carletha says. I believed I would wait until I was in a "committed" relationship,” she says. “I needed to know that I lost my virginity to someone that I would be able to be very comfortable with thereafter and trust.” But that someone never showed up in Carletha’s college career, and as it comes to a close, she decided it would be better to hold on to it, until someone put a ring on it. Some of her friends are sexually active, but she says they get along well because they have different ideas and opinions on things—especially sex.“My friends that are having sex, and those that aren't, haven't really affected me,” Carletha says. “We have different opinions on intimacy and sexual relationships and that's okay.”But it’s not as though Carletha has lived like a hermit crab and never dated; it’s quite the contrary. However, the guys she dated weren’t worth squat—let alone her virginity.
“My self-restraint has been a big component,” she says. “I have been in situations where I could have lost my virginity but as clichéd as it sounds, it didn't feel right.” And she’s not the only person who feels that way.
According to the CDC, those who choose to maintain their virginity past age 18 (while 80 percent of men and 75 percent of women shed their “v-card” by then) do so because of “religious or moral qualms, fear of pregnancy, and simply because they “just haven’t found the right person.”
For Carletha, the choice to maintain her virginity after all these years has played a part in not only how she sees herself, but as a leader on campus, how others view her.
“If I was promiscuous, getting drunk every night, disrespecting myself and not handling my business then I wouldn't be looked at as a role model.”
The Focused Student: Born-Again Virgin
While some young women look as though they’re scrambling to give their virginity away in college, others wish they could get it back.
DaMonica Boone, a junior at the University of Missouri, became sexually active in high school during her first real long-term relationship. But now that she is in college, sex is the furthest thing from her mind, and she can thank her stern focus on schoolwork, and a two-year strong vow of celibacy for her way of thinking.
“When I did have sex I was too young and that definitely wasn’t the way to go,” she says. “I was 16 at the time that I had sex, but I made the decision to be celibate a couple of years ago. I made the decision right before I came to college.”
For most people enticed by hunky football players, pressured by seasonal boyfriends and the out-of-control stories of your newfound college friends, a vow of celibacy can sound easier said than done. But DaMonica decided that a man, or better yet, sex, wasn’t going to get her where she needed to be. So she chose to keep her mind on her studies and away from any thoughts of a relationship—she hasn’t had one since she started school.
“I guess it’s because I really don’t think about it and I’m not focused on it at this time,” she says about men and relationships. “I’m focused on school and I don’t feel the need to waste my time on anybody or anything at this moment.”
But DaMonica has her girlfriends. Everybody needs a few good ones. And while many of them are sexually active, she uses their setbacks in dating and issues that revolve around sex to help remind her of why it’s important to abstain from the “doing the deed.”
“I see what they’re going through and I know I don’t want to go through that so I try and play it cool,” she says. “I see daily why it’s necessary to avoid the sex route.”
But how realistic is it for a young woman to take a vow of celibacy? Once you’ve had sex, why should you turn back around and choose not to have sex again until you’re married? DaMonica says that a vow of celibacy can help you weed out the guys that are only around for that one thing that you’ve decided to give up—not literally.
“Really, most of the guys I’ve dated only want to talk about sex,” she says. “If want to find the guy who likes me for me and not just because I have a vagina, I need to avoid sex. You’ll have more respect for yourself, and once you have respect for yourself, people will have more respect for you.”
DaMonica realizes that being celibate hasn’t made her the most popular chick with the guys out there, but she realizes that if sex is all they’re looking for, than she’s not looking for them. When asked how prospective male suitors take the news that she’s celibate when asked about her sexual status, DaMonica says the response so far has been anything but understanding.
Some people have problems with it which is why I’m still single, but hey,” she says with a lackadaisical shrug. “It was just like they didn’t like it, and that’s why we didn’t go anywhere.”
The Sorority Leader: Recent Non-Virgin
Rebecca Keane, the former president of Illinois State’s chapter of Chi Omega Sorority Inc., and a soon-to-be-senior at the college, has always been a strong representative for her sorority, but she also was one for those who chose to be virgins in sororities. As TV likes to show, sororities and fraternities are usually thought to be devoid of virgins.
“There are about 100 members in my chapter, and I think I was the only one who was a virgin,” Rebecca says.
She never dated in high school, and once Rebecca got into college, she was very choosy about the men she dated. Because of her so-called “pickiness,” she was labeled by some guys at her school as “playing hard to get,” a label she actually took pride in.
“I guess I’m picky and have high expectations?” she says. “I wanted to wait for someone who was worth my time and someone who I could see myself with for a long time. I was always a long-time commitment type of girl, and when I came to college, I found out that a lot of college men didn’t want a serious girlfriend.”
So Rebecca remained the sole virgin in her sorority. However, her sorority sisters were very encouraging of her choice not to have sex, and because of that, in her first two years of college, it wasn’t very hard to stick to her guns, and wait for the right person.
And she did.
Rebecca lost her virginity right before classes ended to start the summer. But she says after waiting an entire year to engage in sexual intercourse with her boyfriend, her first boyfriend at that, she feels she did the right thing.
“I was always waiting for the right person,” Rebecca says. “I ended up finding that person my sophomore year of college and because I was a virgin, I knew I would want to wait awhile to have sex.” Rebecca wanted her relationship to be built around love, rather than sex, so that when she finally did make the decision to have sex, it wouldn’t be a decision she would regret.
“A lot of women my age don't wait at all to have sex and then they find out the guy is just in it for that. I didn’t want to be that girl, so I waited a year. I didn’t want to just give this up to anyone! But Rebecca says her boyfriend, though supportive, was not as excited about her virginity as she was.
“He definitely didn’t want to wait that long,” she says and laughs, “but while dating me he’s found out there are more important things in a relationship than just sex.”
But Rebecca says if you don’t feel like the guy you’re with is the right one, then by all means, don’t have sex with him. She believes that if it weren’t for her current boyfriend, she wouldn’t have dared to have sex. But it became important to the both of them as they started seeing themselves in each other’s future.
“I am not sure if people thought I was going to have sex in my 4 years,” Rebecca says. “My friends know I am picky and I don’t just date anyone. If I never really found someone, I would still be a virgin and probably have graduated a virgin too. But it was the perfect time I guess. It was a month before school ended, we had dated a year already and we were already planning stuff for the future, and I was very comfortable with him at that point.”
While some may question whether Rebecca was truly ready to take such a major step with her boyfriend, she stands by her choice and her morals. She didn’t let the actions of her sorority sisters move her in one direction, nor the persuasiveness of her beau take her in the other. She made the decision with her own mind, and her own heart, which is something she hopes all young women do when they decide to make sex a part of their relationships.
“I say, stay strong and don’t change your morals because someone may not like them,” she says. “You will be better off if you stick to what you believe in.”
Eventually, most people will be lucky enough to find themselves in a position where they get to decide if they want to remain virgins, or give up the goods. Many young women in college feel the pressure of those they befriend and those they date, and the double standards about sex don’t help making the decision any easier. If you don’t do it, you’re a prude, if you do, you’re nasty. Who can keep up with society’s mores?
Stereotypes and issues such as these cause many people to jump into situations they’re not ready for. The ages that people choose to have sex remain vastly different, but hopefully, whenever the choice is made, it’s done at the right time and for the right reasons: your own.
Sources: NY Post
Check out more from HerCampus.com