As women, we’re often held up to confusing standards: We’re made to believe that purity is a virtue and are slut-shamed when we sleep around, yet when we remain “pure,” we’re mocked, pitied, or looked down on. And this dilemma just deepens the older a woman gets; even when you think you’re ready to give up your virginity, you have less of a chance to do so because by then, the men you meet don’t want to be the first to go where no man has ever gone.
We spoke to four girls—all virgins in their 20s and 30s—who got real with us about what held them back from having sex, how being a virgin has made dating more complicated, and why they’re still proud of their virgin status, regardless of what anyone thinks.
Not all virgins are saving themselves for marriage.
Among the girls we talked to, only Tiara, 29 is saving herself for marriage. “For me, it would be best to give it to someone you know is yours, and you are his,” Tiara says.
Lou, 34, says that she used to want to wait ‘til marriage, but now that she’s in her 30s, she just wants to wait for the person she'll fall in love with.
While she’s a self-confessed party girl and hubadera, Cham, 23, says she’s not out banging guys each night. “I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment, and I avoid having one-night stands,” she explains. “It’s too sayang to give this up to someone I barely even know! I’ll be saving this for someone who is very special to me—not necessarily ‘The One’ who I’ll end up marrying—and I haven’t met that person yet.”
They’ve seen some action, only they stopped themselves from going any further.
All the girls we talked to have made out with guys, but in varying degrees.
Cham admits having given a blowjob and handjob to a guy with whom she almost had a one-night stand. “I did those just because I felt sorry for him; I got him turned on without offering sex,” she admits.
Eliza, 31, shares how she almost did it with a guy who invited her over to his place. “I backed out because I was really scared and I wasn’t that ready to do it that night,” she relates. “I thought I wanted to be with him for real first before we tried anything like that. To be fair, he respected that and he was really a gentleman.”
Tiara has MOMOLed with an ex-boyfriend just because curiosity hit her, but she has never gone as far as clothes-off action. “When I feel that I might give in if we don’t stop, I back out,” she reveals. “My reasons for staying a virgin sink in.”
Lou has gone the MOMOL route a number of times, but controls herself from giving in. She relates, “The first time it happened, I was with my ex on the couch in our apartment and I kept thinking, ‘What if my roommates come and see us?’ That became my driving force to stop. Another time, I pretended to be asleep while over at a guy’s place so he wouldn’t touch me further, and he was gentlemanly enough not to continue.”
Just because they’re virgins doesn’t mean they don’t get turned on.
Eliza and Lou admit that they’re not immune to steamy novels and sexy films, and that they do touch themselves.
Tiara, a Catholic, points to her religiousness as a factor behind her holding back sexually. “I easily get turned on by provocative images or scenes from a film, but I don’t indulge further,” she says.
On the other hand, Cham takes a while to warm up. “Trying to remember my failed first attempt at sex, I wasn’t turned on at all; I was laughing the entire time,” she recalls. “I have made out with a number of guys, but none of those led to sex. My friends usually tell me it starts with making out, but I don’t know; none of my makeout sessions sparked the desire in me at all.”
Being a virgin presents real challenges when dating.
Surprise, disbelief, mockery—these are common reactions the girls get when they admit that they’re a virgin. And when the person they’re spilling to is a guy they’re seeing, it gets messier.
Cham relates how it often goes for her: “During the makeout session when I’m about to refuse the offer of sex by saying I’m a virgin, the guy is like, ‘Seriously?’ It makes me feel like I’ve won and lost at the same time: winning the game of declining, but losing the chance of being with this cute guy ever again.”
Eliza admits that it gets awkward when she has to admit to a guy that she’s a virgin. “There was this one dude who was such a douche about it and even said I was so 'manang' and I was missing out on a lot of stuff. I could tell he wanted to do it with me, but his attitude really put me off so I ended our date early and never replied to any of his texts after that.”
Lou is not ashamed to tell guys that she’s a virgin. “Some of them don’t believe me and some of them are okay with it, or so they say,” she shares. “There were a couple of guys who bluntly said that if the relationship were to progress, they would want sex. Clearly, I stopped seeing those guys.”
The pressure to give it up is there, but they still choose not to give in.
Cham, Eliza, and Lou admit to feeling some pressure to give up their V card, but at the same time, they know that it's not that easy.
“I’ve felt it a lot of times but I’ve always overcome that feeling,” Cham muses. “After my failed attempt at a one-night stand, I told myself ‘See, you’re not ready after all.’”
For her part, Eliza says, “I do worry about my lack of sexual experience occasionally, but I don’t feel desperate enough to do it with just anyone.”
Meanwhile, says Lou, “To be honest, at my age, I am thinking of giving it away already, but there is still a part of me that says no.”
They want their first time to be special, which is why they’ve gone this long without giving up the cherry.
Since she’s saving herself for marriage, Tiara expects that her first time will be with her husband, but the other girls just want to do it with someone they’re in love with—married or not married.
“I still hope and believe it will be magical, though a lot of my friends told me that their first time turned out to be not a big deal at all,” Cham says. “Whatever it may be, I hope it will be with the person I share a love with. Not necessarily a boyfriend or husband, just as long as it’s not a one-night stand.”
Eliza, who is both a virgin and NBSB girl, wants to do it with a future boyfriend, someone who’s patient and mature enough to deal with the fact that she's a virgin, and "can still get real pleasure out of it after the initial awkwardness."
While she also wants to do it with someone she’s in love with, Lou has a more pragmatic view of her first time: “I should be drunk during my first time to erase all my inhibitions, and I hope I enjoy it.”
There’s no shame in being a virgin.
Cham, Tiara, and Lou are all proud that they’re virgins—no matter what people think.
“Given my party girl lifestyle, I can encounter as many guys as I can in a week if I want to,” Cham says. “But I just don’t do it. Can’t believe I’ve made it this far!”
“Temptation and peer pressure are everywhere and staying a virgin is a big challenge, but I surpassed them up to this day,” Tiara says. “I guess my ‘mind’ really is over ‘matter.’”
Eliza, meanwhile, is on the fence. “People are so into hookups these days that girls like me seem like an anomaly,” she observes. “I guess I’m proud that I have no regrets about giving it to someone who isn’t worth it, but I also regret not doing it when I had the chance with someone I really liked. I guess I’m just in the middle—I don’t wear my virginity as if it were a badge, but I also won’t lie about it.
Next time you think of judging a virgin, know that virgins come in different forms and with different reasons.
When asked what she wishes people knew about virgins, Cham said, “I wish people would ditch the stereotype of virgins as the type of girl who wears thick glasses, long skirts, braces, etc. Come on! This is 2016; virgins go out in crop tops and pekpek shorts, or corsets and bralettes in my case. And no, we still don’t want to go home with you.”
Tiara wants others to respect a virgin’s reasons for being so, and to understand that “staying a virgin is anyone’s prerogative.”
Lou wants people to know that virgins aren’t numb to temptations, and that “the struggle is real every time we have to control ourselves from giving in.”
Eliza just wishes people would stop the prude-shaming. She says, “We just really want to do it with the person that we have strong feelings for.
“He doesn’t have to be ‘The One,’ he doesn’t have to marry us, but we want it to be an experience that we won’t regret."
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