Romancing The Bone: Does Post-College Virginity Make You A Loser?

When it comes to college graduation, there’s one thing that a great GPA does not prepare you for: losing your virginity. But as graduation gets closer, many girls are faced with a question only slightly less terrifying than how to avoid living in their parent’s basement come the end of May. Which is this: Do you qualify as a complete loser if you graduate college with your v-card intact?

As The Simpson’s Reverend Lovejoy would put it, “Short answer: yes, with an if. Long answer: no, with a but.”

Lots of girls want to wait for the perfect time/place/vampire boyfriend before DOING IT, but sometimes years go by before that happens, and suddenly you feel like a crazy cat-lady as the bone-free weekends fly by. I know this from experience.

College is filled with B.O.-packed house parties and sweaty beer kisses that are not always conducive to locating someone who could be both a buddy and a desirable lovah. For some of you, I know that entering the Real World as a virgin makes you want to lay down in the library stacks and sigh forever. To which I say, I feel you, ladies.

I myself was a big oldy olderson virgin when I graduated college. As if finishing a thesis, looking for a job and generally staring down the barrel of Adulthood wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, I was ready to put Oldest Virgin Alive on my resume (under the EXPERIENCE section). I attended a Catholic university, so I did know other virgins my age. But there’s nothing quite so demoralizing as your staunchly pious friends losing it before you even get the opportunity to (and on a related note: yes, the butt does count toward this discussion, you guys).

So I graduated college never having slept with anyone. More by accident than for any particular moral reason. And no, I didn’t sleep with someone the next week…OR EVEN THE NEXT YEAR, GIRL. Man, I basically started stocking up on hard candies and soft house slippers because I was so certain I was going to turn out to be someone’s spinster aunt. I was convinced that having missed the college deadline meant there was something actually wrong with me. I was so convinced of this that I didn’t realize my fears of why no one would sleep with me were actually making people not sleep with me.

Looking back, why exactly didn’t I have sex as an undergrad? Well, I was a late bloomer. I might have had the mind of a young adult, but I had the self-esteem of an overweight sixth-grader. On some subconscious level I was sure no one would find me attractive, and I didn’t want to risk being proven right. The fact that no guys were blatantly marching up and trying to seduce me must have proved it, right? Right?

Basically, it was many of the reasons many young girls might be stressing over the state of their hymen today. But most of all, I just didn’t know how to own my shit yet. I didn’t get that I should be proactively trying to figure out what and who I actually liked and you know, looking for that. I just thought if I hadn’t had much sex luck up until then, that I never would. Ever.

Which is insane. Let’s be real here: dating (and the sexy times that often ensue) involves taking scary personal risks, including and not limited to: deciding what you want from another person, what you think your sexuality might be, what you want in bed, what you feel about birth control and abortion. If that takes you until your 20s, jeez, if that takes you until you’re 40, no one should be at all surprised. Some people never figure that stuff out.

In the meantime, however, a lot of young women are so self-conscious of their virginal status that they convince themselves they are losers, which is completely unfair and messed up. At a certain point, you are effectively cock-blocking yourself. And that is a travesty.

HOWEVER, I will say this: college is stuffed with (fairly) attractive people in your age bracket in close physical proximity to your lady junk. That is not a present to be taken lightly. Enjoy it while you can. Once you get pushed from the warm womb of college life, bawling and covered in placenta, into the adult dating scene, you are going to have to actually put on real pants and take the subway to see people you are interested in. So take that in mind when you’re choosing or ignoring potential mates.

To my surprise I did eventually, finally get to have sex with someone other than myself. Men didn’t know or seem to realize that I was a terrible unsex grandma virgin. It was like magic! Magic I created by actually approaching guys I find attractive, asking them to hang-out, and acknowledging to myself that I maybe I had enough of my personal brand of awesome to be appealing to some I was interested in seeing naked.Just because I had missed that graduation deadline didn’t mean I was out of the running permanently. As I realize now, all of that terror was made-up in my brain.

Of course, of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin at 21, 25, or 70…if you are making the actual choice to be one. So you late bloomers, you introverts, you incidentally unlucky yearning to bone free, my long answer is: have no shame. You are your own damn woman, after all. Have sex tonight, have sex in 40 years, put on a dragon costume and have sex with someone dressed as Betsy Ross, whatever you want to do. It’s your life. But know you can and will have sex someday (unless you are asexual, in which case, enjoy all your extra spare time! Jealous!). When I eventually started having sex, all those months (okay, years) of going crazy crackers over not boning just sort of melted into the background. There are no wrong decisions when it comes to sex, if you are making them deliberately and not out of fear or, you know, paralyzing self-loathing. Because those, unfortunately, are the main impetus for some people’s decisions, but not yours, girl. So do your thing. But whatever you do, do it because you actually want to. You aren’t that PHD (Pretty Hella Desperate).

And tune in next week, when we answer that age old question: How do you tell a potential sex partner that you still have your V-card?

Romancing The Bone is a sex column written from the perspective of an awkward late-bloomer, offering advice on how to slog through the rejection and disappointment of the dating world to reveal the ultimate awesomeness therein. Do you have a sex story you’d like to share with Crushable? Send it to tips(at)crushable(dot)com with SEXY TIME in the Subject Line.

(Photo by Getty)

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    • Jenny

      Thank you for this. I was the same way, finally lost it about nine months after I graduated — in what was basically a one-night stand. I was convinced myself of a lot of things that just weren’t true (I was ugly — and worse yet, that sex equaled validation. Sex does not equal validation, but it can be a lot of fun!). Like you, Halle, I learned to talk to guys — after I finally figured out that a lot of guys were (and still are) just as afraid of me as I was of them. It’s not been smooth sailing by any means, but at least there is action! Sorry for the novel and thanks for this post!

    • sarah

      Uch. I basically raped my college boyfriend because I was scared of graduating from college a virgin. Looking back, that was a bad idea.

    • Lauren

      As a current undergrad virgin in college, this story made me feel a lot better about both having my virginity and losing it at some point in the future. There’s a lot of pressure placed on girls, not only by others, but also by themselves. Thank you so much for this article I hope it will help other girls feel better about themselves as much as it helped me.

    • Rosa

      Thank you for this! Reading your article made me feel much better about myself.
      As I wasnt born in the US, I never really felt the weight of the college deadline, but I do feel the weight of age. And as the time goes by I just feel like Im the last virgin alive!!!
      I did go to College in the US, and everyone seemed so “aggressive” and had that let’s-just-have-sex-with-random-people thing going on that in the mix of feeling like an outcast for a million of reasons and guys expecting that I would just do it because Im from South America I just didnt! And that time I had the opportunity but I had that gonna-wait-for-the-right-guy set of mind.
      I graduated a little over a year ago, and I definitely dont believe in the whole waiting for mr. perfect anymore, but at the same time I dont want to just do it with just anyone.
      But I have to admit it CANT take long for me to say goodbye to my V-card, and if it were just up to me, it WOULDN’T, because I really want to know how it feels like.

    • awilensky

      Guys have the problem also, although pop culture would have you think that we have no problems. Even men who were at ease with sex, and had a healthy history, can revert to late bloomers again after a bad divorce and being off the market for a decade. We as a society have also sold the notion, quite well I might add, that sex is the only commodity of real worth in a man’s life. MAny partners is better than spiritual or moral attainments?

      This is complex. See how it works after 50.

    • Halle K

      Aw, thanks for the great comments, guys! College is such an intense time, it can head to step back and be like, oh yeah, I’ll be doing this stuff for the rest of my life. I’m glad this was helpful to hear!

    • Tessa

      This is make me feel so much better. I’m an undergrad, approaching my 21st, virgin, and completely straightedge. And there are a lot of times when I feel like I didn’t get some sort of memo. I just don’t get how both my roommates can have casual sex but it does end up making me feel like I’m a loser.

      So, thank you.

    • Melissa

      “Does Post-College Virginity Make You a Loser?” No – it makes you the only person in your age group who doesn’t have HPV!

      • michaelpittsbabyfat

        Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

    • Papples

      Thank you for writing this! You are wonderful!

      I’m a not-so-conservative Junior at a super conservative college where opportunities for casual dating–let alone “sexy time”–are very limited. (Seriously, the only people I know in relationships are engaged. How the hell did that happen? Just see her in the cafe and pop the question? WTF?) Anyway, I’m headed off to law school soon and was convinced I would be a totally stunted misfit when I did. Glad to know there’s hope for me yet :)

      • bree

        I just started law school this year, and trust me, you won’t be the only one. Law school is full of nerdy, bookish types. And that means lots of virgins.

    • Erin

      This article was fun. I have been out of college for quite awhile and I’m a 26 going on 27 year old virgin. I think for alot of women its not a lack of confidence because I have interacted with men and been at ease. Men would never even think I was a virgin but I am. Sometimes I’m angry because society puts so much pressure on you like its the be all, end all thing and its really not. Would I like to have sex with someone I was in a commited relationship better yet marriage with? Yea but I’m not going to jump off a cliff that day never comes. Real talk ladies a woman moderately attractive even down right ugly can get sex. Hell you can probably find some dude to have sex with every night of the week. For most of us we just don’t want it to be some douchebag looking to put a notch on his headboard. It would be nice if it actually meant something. I resent the idea that society doles out like I’m nobody until a man takes my virginity. I think that’s B.S. I don’t exist or I’m less valuable if a man hasn’t “conquered” me. What a joke. So if I have sex I’m sexually empowered in charge of my sexuality but if I’m a virgin I mine as well lay down and die because that’s such a horrible existance. I’m not saying the author is saying that I’m just saying that’s what women are bombarded with and its not right. I think its just as empowering to be a virgin or celibate as it is to have sex. I’m staking claim over my body and setting boundaries for who I let be intimate with me. One day I look forward to a wonderful sex life but it will be with an equal and it will because I love him and he loves me not so I can GET IT OVER with. Sex is one of the most powerful forms of expression we have I want to honor,respect and revel in the fullness of that act when the time is right.

      • rox

        Well, personally I chose to give it up at 18.. I didnt choose to have sex at that age to validate myself, I was just (to put it bluntly) really horny all the time and looked forward to finally having someone to release that energy. I didnt want to “get anything OVER WITH”, it was actually about getting that part of my life started so I could begin enjoying my sexuality.
        I feel sorry for you that you have not had the chance to have a nice relationship yet. Not for the fact that you are a virgin, because as you stated, that can be easily remedied. (By the way, guys who want casual sex are not all douchebags, they are just men who want to have sex with you. Women who decide to have casual sex with these men and expect a relationship are the ones with the problem.)

    • Jane

      Just to let you know (I can’t believe I am actually saying this considering “hella” isn’t even a real word), you didn’t use the word “hella” correctly. Trust me, I am from California.

    • Post-Virgin

      This article is amazing. Thank you!

      When my friends started having sexy times at 13, I was still in la-la land. When my other friends started having sex throughout middle school, then high school, I started thinking about boys I might actually like. When the rest of my friends lost it during college I finally started getting worried. But between classes, a job, socializing and other hoo-ha I had made it through my senior year without having the chance to even realistically think about having sex.

      Now I’m 6 months post-grad and I’m finding it so much easier to talk to guys in the “real world.” I think when the time finally comes it will actually seem natural rather than having the inner dialogue “Oh yea, finally getting this over with,” ruminating in my head.

    • bree

      I’m almost 23, a law student, and still hold fiercely onto that v-card. And I went to a notorious party school. I’m not holding out for religious reasons or anything, I just don’t do anything until I’m ready (my 21st birthday was the first time I ever drank). Now, I’m actually proud of my virginity. And I’ve come to find that a lot of guys think it’s attractive because it’s a rarity and it shows that you’re thoughtful about your life and your actions.

    • jay

      id like to hear this from a guy’s perspective, especially one who is 25 and still desperately trying to lose his v-card and feeling super ashamed of it