It seems like abstaining from sex is now the only thing that shocks in our sexualized culture.
Cosmopolitan magazine, best known for its "75 Ways to Drive Your Man Wild"-type articles, turned its spotlight on virgins in its July issue.
Editors splashed "Virgins in Cosmo! (We Thought This Day Would Never Come)" across the cover to advertise Molly Triffin's article about why some women in their early 20s choose to remain virgins.
Not surprisingly, none of the seven women featured in Triffin's article, "Why They're Still Virgins" cited religious reasons for abstaining from sex. Nor did they express interest in staying virgins until marriage. All of the women cited not meeting the right guy as at least one reason for waiting. Yet the majority of the woman also appeared to feel it necessary to prove they're not totally puritanical when it comes to sex.
Four of the women discussed how their virginity can make hooking up or fooling around with a guy awkward. Victoria Vikes, 23, told Triffin:
When I'm fooling around with a guy who doesn't know I'm a virgin, I keep thinking about how I'm going to put on the brakes without having to tell him why. I also end up asking myself whether I should just have sex and get it over with. With all that going on, it's hard to totally enjoy the hookup.
Kristin Castro, 21, said some guys "are taken aback, and things become awkward" when they find out she's a virgin. She said, "When I'm hooking up with someone and we're really getting into it, I start thinking, Do I want to do this? Should I tell him now or wait to see if we even get that far? And then my nerves kick in about how he's going to react."
Twenty-year-old Courtney Purtle stated, "When I'm hooking up with someone, I'm not as into it as other girls would be, but why rev up the engine if you're not gonna drive the car?"
Perhaps the larger story is, if women are not enjoying "hook ups," why are they participating in them?
Another part of the story is women who don't think highly enough of themselves to wait for the right guy, preferably from CMI's viewpoint, their husbands.
Twenty-year-old Andrea Moscoe told Triffin that her roommates tease her about her virginity and concluded, "I'm still holding out for Mr. Right, but with all the pressure my roommates place on me and the way they embarrass me, sometimes I think Mr. Okay will have to do."
Vikes had a similar outlook."Sometimes, my virginity feels like a handicap. Dating is difficult enough without that hanging over my head. I might just settle for the next semi-decent guy who comes around."
Only one woman addressed the idea that sex is more than a recreational sport. "The idea of sex is phenomenal, but I'm not into meaningless hookups," Taylor E. told Triffin. "The thought of doing it with just anyone disgusts me. Sex is an intimate thing; I don't understand how people can let so many people get that close to them."
Triffin wrote of virginity in her introduction to the article, "Holding out can put a girl in a weird gray zone, creating awkwardness when guys (and even other women) learn her status."
It's articles like Triffin's, that make it appear virgins over the age of 18 are the rarest commodity on the planet, that help create this "gray zone" and "awkwardness" around virginity.
Cosmo offers all kinds of advice on how women can get what they need/want from their man, sexually speaking and encourage woman to embrace their "fun fearless side." This same edition contains an article titled, "100 Naughty Sex Questions" and discusses all sorts of techniques women can use to enhance their bedroom skills.
Why not encourage and embrace women who choose to live their lives in a truly "fearless" way? After all, virgins do not have to fear unexpected pregnancies, nasty surprises in the form of STDs or the heartbreak that often results from meaningless hookups.