Ever since middle school I always thought high school would include having a boyfriend, losing my virginity to him, and a bunch of other great things. Once freshman year began, I started hanging out with the ‘hot’ girls of our grade. We went to upperclassmen parties and many of my friends, as time went on, hooked up with guys. Boys became an integral part of our conversations; we talked about who hooked up with whom at what parties and how it was.
This did not bother me until the spring of sophomore year when most of my friends had lost their virginities. I felt like there was something wrong with me. I hadn’t even really made out with a boy. Other girls hadn’t lost theirs, but I felt left out of the conversations with my friends because I felt I had nothing to add. At the same time, I began to form closer relationships with the boys in my grade. This, in some ways, validated me because even though I was not in a romantic relationship with any of them, I felt special because none of the other girls were close with these guys.
This all came to a climax at a birthday dinner for one of my friends in the winter of junior year. As we sat around drinking and talking, one of the girls proposed that we play ‘never have I ever.’ A game I truly hate. The game entails people going around in a circle, saying something that they have never done, and then those who have done it, must drink. This not only puts everyone’s private life on full display, it alienates those who have not done the activities in question. They went around saying things like “never have I ever liked the taste of cum” and “never have I ever 69ed.” Not only was I incredibly uncomfortable, I felt extremely inadequate and upset. When it got to me, I said I didn’t want to play. After they made me participate, I said I had never hooked up with anyone that went to our high school. Everyone drank. I felt excluded and embarrassed. I got up and went to the bathroom and texted my other friends to ask if I could hangout with them. When I returned to the ‘never have I ever’ game, it had changed. My friends were going around telling stories of losing their virginities. At this moment, I got up with tears in my eyes and left.
In the spring of my junior year, I started hooking up with one of my guy friends. Even though I wasn’t that into it, I was glad for the experience and to have someone to talk about with my friends. I felt validated by the fact that someone wanted to make out with me at parties and that everyone knew. Even though I was slightly obsessed with the idea of sex and losing my virginity, I knew deep down that I did not want to lose my virginity to him. I felt uncomfortable in my body in every way and could not imagine being fully naked and vulnerable like that with someone. I didn’t feel connected to him sexually, we were just really good friends who made out when we were drunk, and because I knew that, I was too afraid and uncomfortable to have sex with him.
By March of my senior year, I conclude that I will never have sex with anyone and that my entire high school career was invalid. I started to think that if I could just lose my virginity to anyone, I’d be happy. I ended up having sex with this boy that I had a massive crush on for the entirety of high school. He was one of my closest guy friends. The sex itself was weird and uncomfortable, but because it was someone I knew really well and someone I cared about deeply, I didn’t even care. We ended up hooking up for many months afterwards and eventually started dating. Looking back, I am sad that I cared so much about having sex. It felt like everyone was having sex and that I was missing out and not experiencing high school. I thought that having sex would change me in the sense that all of my insecurities would just go away, but it really didn’t do that. I thought I would feel like a different person, but I was exactly the same. What I realized is that sex doesn’t define you. Sex doesn’t define your attractiveness. Just because you are not having sex, doesn’t mean that you are less attractive than those who are. What matters is that you are happy with your choice and don’t let other people’s actions affect your own. Everyone is different and just because you are not having sex, doesn’t mean that people don’t care about you or value you.