In a university culture seemingly obsessed with sex, Elle Ayres talks about hitting your twenties not having played your V card.
Recently I was sitting in my kitchen having a conversation with my housemate when he said “everyone thinks everything’s about sex but really, sex is about everything”.
Mind equals blown.
I don’t know what it is about second year, maybe that there’s a tonne of stress about work, maybe that we live in houses with people we chose, but sex seems to be the covert pivot upon which life stands. Everything seems to be about sex. Everyone’s either crying over who slept with who, gossiping over who slept with who, complaining that they haven’t slept with so and so or complaining about having slept with so and so. It’s all a bit intense and I guess that’s because my housemate was right. But I wouldn’t know. Because I came to university a virgin and I’ve just turned 20: I still have my v-card very neatly tucked in my pocket. I was always the girl everyone thought would be one of the first to have sex. Sort of messed that prediction up. I’ve never really thought it was a big deal and for the whole of first year, it rarely crossed my mind. Sex is just sex, it happens a lot, just not to me. But second year? Suddenly it’s like everyone’s at a party and I can just hear the music from outside with the bouncer telling me he can’t accept my ID. It’s lonely. And I hate that I wouldn’t have been honest if I hadn’t written that down.
Everyone that knows me can vouch that I am not the type of girl who is waiting for ‘the one’. It’s not like I haven’t had opportunities to lose it, it’s not like there haven’t been opportunities to lose it, and even to someone I like. It’s just never quite worked out. I’ll admit that my self-esteem and self-confidence isn’t sky high (a tragic symptom of being a young woman, it seems) and whilst it would have been simpler to just go on a night out and lose it to a randomer, I like to think I am worth enough to lose it to someone I trust. If it could be a good experience that I can remember with some fondness, i’d like that. Not because we’re in love, but just because it was loving and safe. I’m not passing any judgement on people who have lost their virginity to someone they met at the club the same night, it’s your thang (literally). I just know that it wasn’t something I wanted for myself even though it nearly happened several times; I guess that’s how I really knew it wasn’t for me. Close encounters and all. A sense of relief the next day.
Well, until maybe now. I had a few other friends who were virgins like me, we were all pretty chilled about it. Yes you find yourselves in the minority at university but it’ll happen when it happens. But in the past week, there is only one left and it’s me. Another friend outright asked me if I had sex because they’d noticed that I never brought it up. I’m starting to feel a bit abnormal and that I’m missing out on the uni experience, the fear is creeping in. I look around a lecture and think ‘I am probably the only one in this room who is missing that bit of knowledge’ and I take philosophy so you can imagine that this is problematic on another level altogether as well. I keep telling myself ‘Taylor Swift didn’t lose it until 21 and she’s doing okay, you’re fine’. But everyone is using Tinder with the confidence of several notches on their bedpost; it seems I’ve found myself in a foreign environment in a space that should bring comfort. I’m much more a fan of meeting someone in person and hitting it off but maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. It’s easy to feel trapped within virginity, especially now I’m 20 and no one expects it anymore.
If I wasn’t a virgin, I definitely would be living single uni life to the full, the problem is, I just haven’t met anyone who I want to sleep with and who wants to sleep with me (maybe the bigger problem is that living the university life to the full seems to mainly consist in banging everyone, are we paying £9000 for a massive orgy? Maybe, kids, maybe). The kind of guy who you want to sleep with, even if they want to sleep with you, doesn’t want to take your virginity because they think you should lose it to someone who loves you. The guys who would happily take it, aren’t the kind of guys I’m into. Do you see the problem? And in among it all, you have to tell yourself it’s not you, because it isn’t. But it can feel like it is in a world that aligns sexuality and desirability so closely together.
Seriously though, that’s the crux of the matter and I’ll be honest I don’t really know where to go from here. Maybe I’ll be a virgin fo’ lyf. I bloody hope not, that wouldn’t suit me at all. I’m quite intrigued by what all the fuss is about, anyhow. It just seems a silly thing to feel like I’m being dragged down by, a series of events has meant that just as it’s so very easy to end up sleeping with someone, it’s also so very easy to not. It’s a curiosity crisis more than one of identity; when is my party invite going to arrive? This is what life is like on the other side (thanks Adele).
Follow Elle on twitter: @AyresElle