Virginity seemed like a really important concept for all of my teenage years and even a few years into adulthood. I grew up in church, learning that you don’t have sex until you’re married because that’s how God wants it. I never questioned it. It seemed to me that the people I knew who were having sex had made life really complicated for themselves.

Looking back, though, I have to say that the idea of virginity in my adulthood seems arbitrary, chauvinistic and heteronormative. Who decided that tab A, slot B means you are suddenly not a virgin, but, you know, fooling around totally doesn’t count? And what does it matter anyways? Dear virgins: I hate to upset you, but sex is not that big of a deal.

I mean, yeah, I guess physically connecting with someone is a big deal, but you can do that in any number of ways, not just sex. Exhibit A, contestant Carly from last season’s The Bachelor says wisely: “Her mouth is not a virgin.” I rest my case.

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I say all this somewhat in defense of my decision not to tell my “first time” story on this blog (as of yet… the decision isn’t final). It wasn’t a formative experience. At the time, I tried to make it that, but if there’s a line you cross between virgin and not-virgin, I’d already gone there, if not technically.

The formative experiences for me have been the ones that didn’t involve sex at all: a tender touch in the midst of a personal crisis, a whispered compliment that made my insides warm, a shared secret, a long hand-written letter. Sex doesn’t even rank against those things.

In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this.

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