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Thursday, November 20, 2008

like a virgin

I think it's commendable to wait until marriage to have sex but is there a point when the waiting is more harmful than helpful? Let me explain.

Exhibit A: I have a friend who is waiting until she's married to have sex. And when I first met her I applauded her efforts. But then as I got to know her, I began to wonder if not gettin' it in was good for her health. See, homegirl has never had a boyfriend. Never ever ever. She's gone on a literal handful of dates in her 27 years and a few of those have been group hangs during high school and college. She's been kissed a few times but other than that she's pure as the driven snow.

Exhibit B: pretty much the same thing as Exhibit A.

Putting to the side that I tend to attract some strange birds, I'm really concerned for these women. They are knocking on 30's door, desire to be married and yet have not had a meaningful relationship with a man. Of course this could be the case even if they were having sex, but I think that their status definitely adds to their isolation. You see, while they are smart, attractive accomplished, church goin women, they both share a fatal flaw. They lack that crucial ability to engage in normal male-female interactions which I believe has been heightened by the "virgin" chips on their shoulders, so to speak.

It's like they missed a critical stage of adolescent/young adult developmental: how to interact with the opposite sex. There is a natural process of male-female socialization that should take place as you grow up. The primary way girls learn to feel comfortable around boys is through family interactions with brothers, male cousins and male friends of family members who you play tag with at the family reunion or the weekend backyard barbecues. But say you grow up without a brother and such. Then the next step is the little boys in your grade school and middle school classroom. Maybe Johnny has a little crush on Jill, they pass notes talkin bout "can I have the go?" Push each other on the swing set for a week or two and then break up because he got on her nerves.

But let's say you make it through all that without friends who are boys cause your head was in the books, you were super shy or your mama didn't play that. College should be your break out, finding your way in the world time of life. I'm not say they don't have male friends, but from my observations they seem to have a hard time getting past the friend level with guys. They are both socially awkward amongst men. The mutual male friends we have in common often find them annoying and overbearing. If you, as a grown ass woman, away from your parents, with no social barriers in your way, make it through college with nary a boyfriend and you don't learn how to interact with men, then it's a wrap.

I'm truly perplexed! Heck, I was shy back in the day yet I still managed to turn out all right. Is it because I developed those male-female interaction skills or because I had sex? Are they too far gone or are they on the right track? Has their virginity + lack of relationships left them ill-equipped to enter into a relationship with a guy or perfectly untainted and jade-free?

what say ya'll?


cinco said...

There's no bonus in waiting past the age of legal adulthood. (18)

I think you can practice safe sex, maturity and obtain happiness as well in the end.

mari said...

oh wow...i (almost) thought you were talking about me! well, i'm 19 going on 20, haven't really been in a relationship yet, and i've always felt that i should wait until i get married to have sex. Though lately, i've been thinking that that's not such a good idea. i felt that way for about 10 years, when i never trusted men. i'm in college now, i'm having better relationships with guys and i realize that it would be ok to have sex, just as long as i was careful and took care of myself and made sure my partner took care of himself. i still want to wait and do it with someone i love and who loves me though...:-) i think you did well because you had past interactions with men. i have 3 sisters, 2 nieces and then my dad, bro, bro in law, and nephew. our family is DOMINATED by women, and they sort of taught me not to trust men. i'm doing my best to unlearn that, but yes, i do feel like it's had a great affect on the way i dealt with men until recently.

mari said...

oops, i forgot to mention my mom, who is the ROCK of the family

Tela said...

You just echoed what my Mama has been saying for about 20 years. "Get a man in college or your chances of getting one afterward are slim." I think college is the optimal place to test out your guy-girl relationship skills/sexplotiations (Lord forgive me) even if you didn't have one in high school. Because after that all the responsibilites, logistics and bullsukey of adult life get in the way of trying to figure the whole relationship guy-girl thing out later.

Rum Punch said...

I don't think that lack of sexual activity necessarily determines your lack of social ease around men. I do think though if you're not sexually active that may be a sort of "added" pressure when you do go out because maybe you don't put yourself out there as much (no pun intended) for fear of what could go DOWN. And so now these women probably put up walls so they never have to go past the friend level. I think it's like a chicken and egg kinda thing.

I know a black female psychologist who works on a majority campus who told me, "you don't know how many black women who come to my office and tell me they've never been on a date." That is sadness for so many reasons. And it can cripple women and make them naive when selecting men. Women need to go out, hang out with, date, be friends with a variety of men so that they know what kind of boyfriend/husband they want/don't want, what kind of relationship they want, need, deserve, etc.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello there!

This is an interesting topic.

Certainly being sexually-active does NOT prepare a woman to engage with the opposite sex platonically. I think that women who have not had sex and are virgins MAY feel a bit intimidated by the overtly sexual manner in which many man interact with women.

Many men have sexual comments sprinkled in their conversations and they have found that it is acceptable to mention sex around women who are HAVING sex.

Some virgins have not matured emotionally in the same way that non-virgins have but again, THIS IS NOT due to the abstinence of sexual activity but due to the lack of exposure in social settings where they will be maturing emotionally through different types of relationships. Those relationships NEED NOT be sexual ones either!

I have known SOME virgins who felt that they had to announce their virgin status to everyone...which I don't feel is necessary. I don't feel it is necessary to even mention it to men who express an interest in dating.

I don't believe that it is a disadvantage for a woman to REMAIN a virgin until marriage. I believe that she should actively place herself in settings in which she is engaging with all types of people and having different types of friendships so that she is not sheltered and close-minded.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

mint julep said...

@cinco, i agree completely.

@mari, i'm glad you realize now is the time to be open to meeting new (male) people and to trust men. you can be smart but also allow people into your life as friends. good luck!

@Tela, yea like i said college is the time when you can figure things out and it becomes increasingly harder post-college b/c you're expected to have things figured out.

@Rum Punch, wow that's deep. i think my friends' situations are a lot more common.

@Lisa, preach!

mari said...

thanks mint julep! yeah, i've realized that i can't go around lamenting about my single status when i don't even talk to guys, lol.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am in the same boat as Mari.

My family is comprised mainly of women. All of whom have had negative relationships with men. When I was younger, I witnessed one of my cousins being physically abused by her then boyfriend. That image has stayed in my mind. Until reading this post, I never really thought about the implications it has had on me.

I am 20 and am also in college. I have never had a serious relationship and am celibate. I can honestly say that I do not trust men. I always think, now matter how small the act of kindness, that there maybe some hidden agenda. I am often uncomfortable talking one on one with men, whether they be my peers or professors, boss, ect. I didn't even realize how much this subjected resonated with me until I came across this post. I am not sure what to do from here, but thanks for helping me to being to ponder about this.