High Hopes column sig

High hopes and realities of a college freshman is a bi-weekly column by Ryder Noah From.

Some Christians believe that sex before marriage is a sin, while some people in college believe that premarital sex is a joy to be relished. Personally, I’m a classic hormonal male teenager that desires meaningful sex. My generation has separated itself from binaries such as gender, sexual identity and political beliefs, yet our conception of our “sex life” seems to be stuck in the dichotomy of being a complete virgin or hooking up daily.  

Nationally, according to the Kinsey Institute, a research organization merged with Indiana University, the median age of virginity loss in America is 16.9 for males and 17.4 for females. As an 18-year-old, I should be considered among the sexual minority—but a median data point doesn’t tell the whole story. How many of these people wish they had waited a bit longer for their first time? How many wish it was with a different person?

Theoretically, college virgins should make up the vast minority; however, New York Magazine partnered with SurveyMonkey to look at this more closely. They found that, among the 700 surveyed with in-depth interviews, 41 percent of women and 49 percent of men were not sexually active, and overall, and 39 percent were virgins.

Despite this, the noise heard from people more sexually active rings louder than that of virgins. Apps like Tinder, though advertised as a dating app instead of one for hookups, are rampant with people looking for one-night-stands. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to hook up, but this blurs the reality of how many people are actually looking for that.

The minority in any situation is always judged for going against the norm. Some have treated me like a naïve child for being a virgin. When I’ve told adults about my realizations that I prefer a meaningful relationship as opposed to quick sex no matter how desperate I get, I receive praise for my mature thoughts. On campus though, I can’t figure out if I feel like a loser because I desire a missing sexual and emotional bond or because college society is telling me it’s bad to be a virgin.

There seems to be an assumption that virgins lack the sexual maturity of those who have had sex, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want through the negative experiences I’ve had. It would be wrong to say that someone can’t have an opinion about marijuana if they’ve never smoked it, so saying someone can’t have opinions about sex if they’ve never had it would be a double standard.

If you’ve never had sex, you’re a conservative prude; if you have too many random hook-ups, you’re slut-shamed. It’s possible to be a virgin who wants sex but hasn’t met the right person and it’s possible to hook-up with many people but to wait for it when you meet someone special. If someone can be agnostic, non-binary or a republican who believes in gun control, then someone can be more than a virgin or non-virgin.