20-something. I'm a virgin. I'm gay. Each
descriptor by itself is nothing unusual, but being
20-something, a virgin, and gay can certainly feel
like an anomaly.
My decision to
remain a virgin was not something forced on me by my
family but something shaped by my experiences. In my high
school (a small private academy in Santa Monica,
Calif.), one by one my 14-year-old friends lost their
virginity. At first I felt envy and wondered if I
would also soon discard my v card.
My initial desire
to lose my virginity was ultimately driven by an even
greater desire to prove I wasn't gay. Once I accepted
who I was and grew comfortable with my sexuality, my
perception of sex evolved.
During the first
two years of high school, I witnessed the lives of my
post-virgin friends grow complicated. There were pregnancy
scares, a roller coaster of emotions, dependency
issues, and most pervasive of all, gossip. On top of
all the other nonsexual drama of high school, every day
was like an Afterschool Special.
By the end of
sophomore year, I determined I would remain a virgin until
I was in a committed relationship. That meant I
wouldn't partake in anything requiring a
condom. Being gay, I never pictured myself saving it
for marriage, but I did know that I wanted to have sex with
the person with whom I was going to spend my life.
That meant not giving it up to fit in or because it
was some sort of rite of passage.
I began to value
my virginity. I stopped worrying if I would ever lose it
and started to wonder why I ever wanted to get rid of it. My
virginity was not hurting or inhibiting my life. It
did result in some uneasy conversations when my
straight girlfriends would ask about gay sex, or when
a guy would try to take it too far, but those awkward
moments have been worth the choice.
I now attend a
small private university in San Diego where few students
are openly gay, though there's plenty of gay sex. The
environment is so repressive and conservative that
many people feel the need to hide their sexual
orientation, something I didn't think still happened
at college campuses in Southern California. As a
result, every so often I receive a sexually explicit
e-mail, IM, or Facebook message from some guy who wants
to continue playing it straight while hooking up with a guy
on the side. Unfortunately for them, my vision of
romance doesn't include a text message with a
Being in this
environment -- where gay sex is treated as something dark,
dirty, and unnatural -- has only made me value sex and my
virginity more. I do not want to be a hookup or a
one-night stand -- I want feelings deeper than the
actually become easier to wait; I like defying the
stereotype of young + gay = promiscuous, and my
virginity has become a valuable part of my identity.
There are plenty
of other things to do that don't result in a blood
exam. I go on dates, and I find myself in and out of
relationships. I go to clubs and parties like anyone
else -- I just never take anyone home with me. I live
a very fulfilling life even without sex. I do look forward
to that day when I am in a serious committed
relationship, and hopefully that will include
whether at home in Los Angeles or at school in San Diego, I
wonder if I am the only gay virgin in California; it can
certainly feel that way. But I never let it bother me.
Life is about the choices you make, and I made this
one for no one but myself.