31 May 2010

Day 65: Juliet

Juliet by Anne Fortier.  ISBN: 9780345516107 (advanced reader copy, publishes August 17, 2010).

There's an interesting theme of virginity that runs through this book.  The modern day Juliet, who I'll refer to as Julie Jacobs for the rest of the blogging to avoid confusion, is a 25-year-old virgin.  On her prom night, her twin sister told her it was her last chance to "pop the cherry" before she became a prude, and nobody likes prudes.

Why is it sooooo important for women to lose their virginity at just the right time?  It seems if you have sex too soon you're a slut and if you lose it too late you're uptight and think you're "better than everyone else."  You would think we'd be over the whole medieval concept of virginity, but what do you think of someone who lost her virginity at 13?  How about a woman who's 30 and still a virgin?

While men may have some of the same issues, it's different.  Men who lose their virginity when they're boys are seen as studs or super suave.  They can also lose their virginity much later and with less consequence.  In fact, they don't even have to let anyone know they're virgins.  I imagine women don't actually have to tell their partners that they're virgins ... but it's awfully difficult to trust that someone will take appropriate measures regarding your body when they don't have the necessary information.

Oh, and women seem to have this overwhelming need to find "the right one" to have sex with for the first time.  If a man loses his virginity to a random stranger, no big deal.  When a woman does it, it's like she's given up something extremely special without a fight, like she's somehow made her first time tawdry and dirty.  Sex is kind of a dirty and tawdry thing to begin with when you get down to the biology of it.  It is a physical need and it really shouldn't matter how we choose to fill that need, virgins or not.  There shouldn't be any pressure for anyone to keep or lose his or her virginity.  I think it's probably a little wiser to wait until you're ready, but ready is a different time for everyone.

I chose to wait until I was 18.  I don't know that I ever thought that my ex was "the one," although I probably fooled myself into thinking he was.  I do know that I don't regret having sex with him.  He taught me a lot about what I wanted from a relationship, and also a lot about what I didn't want from a relationship.  Strangely there are other instances of intercourse I've had that I'm much more ashamed about.  Some of them occurred with strangers and others occurred with people I've known for years.  I'm happy that most of my sexual experiences have been positive and fulfilling, but the amount of time I've known the person doesn't seem to have anything to do with how satisfying they were.

If you want to wait: wait.  If you're ready now, okay.  If you never, ever want to have sex, that's okay too.  I may not be able to comprehend that decision, but really it's between you and your partner.

This was terribly hetero-normative, I don't mean to ignore issues of homosexual virginity, but I'm not personally familiar with the issues that entails.

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