I remember about an eternity ago, when Britney Spears was a virgin, and Justin Timberlake hadn’t yet exposed somebody’s boob at the Super Bowl, and they were going out, post-Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. They were cute as a button, those two, but all the focus was on something they said they weren’t: sexually active. They claimed they were virgins, even though they had been seen all over each other for the entire time of their relationship. No one I knew believed it for a second. They all felt it was just a media stunt, so that they could sell more magazines, get more press, the whole nine yards.
When they first started dating, I was going through my own virginal issues.
You see, I grew up in a household where we were told that “sex was worth waiting for,” that it was something you saved until marriage. I guess I believed it up until there was a girl I knew I wanted in the sexual way. You know that way, the way that makes you sit up a little straighter, but you have to stay sitting because if you stand everyone else will know how you feel too. And I didn’t know what to do with all the charged energy, probably because it had been latent so long, or because no one had ever told me anything REAL about sex. It was like a fairy tale. There were other people, in a land far away, once upon a time, who had done it. The deed. The nasty. The bump in the night. But they were so far removed from me and my life, and that was how my parents wanted it to be for me. I think they did me a great disservice there.
Because, when it came down to it, all that talk about waiting went right out the window when I met THAT girl, who was also a virgin, and who had also vowed not to cross that line until marriage. And she was just as clueless as I was. In fact, we spent so much time early in our relationship trying to decide where we should draw that line, what was acceptable, what wasn’t, and what would actually constitute sexual intercourse (and therefore what we should avoid). What we weren’t told, though, is that when those hormones get started, and when you start giving in to them, it is damn hard to stop them. Nearly impossible, even. All those feelings precluded thoughts. No rational thought passed through my head when we were kissing, and touching, and when clothes started falling off in waves.
What’s even funnier is that my dad is a minister, and there was a Bible on the nightstand in her dorm room, where most of our physical action took place. So all of those religious thoughts were just at the edge of things, but not really there. And all the biblical caveats to having sex too early were gone. I mean, she was HOT, and she wanted ME. Why would I ever want to stop things? So I asked her to marry me (yeah, smart move), thinking if we had that kind of a commitment we could go ahead and go all the way (we had done everything but) without any reservations, and we almost did. But that’s when we finally learned what it would mean if we had sex (the Bill Clinton definition anyway). That’s when we finally did our research, research that honestly wouldn’t have been done if I was in charge of things, but my lady friend insisted on it one night when we were going at it hot and heavy.
“We should really stop,” she said, all breathless and half-dressed. I said nothing because my mouth was otherwise occupied, but she pressed slightly down on my shoulders.
“Seriously, we need to stop,” she said again, even quieter, and I did. “We’ve come awful close, and I know we’re going to get married, but it still doesn’t feel right.”
That was it, the kiss of death, the words that ended that aspect of our relationship. We did the research, separately, and we found out the same information. And it had absolutely nothing to do with not being married. It had to do with pregnancy, something we hadn’t even remotely thought about before. There was no way we could get pregnant, not then. It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Our fate was sealed when we read the part that said the worst form of birth control was abstinence. I had to read that one several times before it sunk in. We could say we weren’t going to have sex, but if we were doing the things that led to sex, all that foreplay, it was only a matter of time before it happened. We had to do more than abstain. We had to avoid physical intimacy altogether, or it would be a slippery slope.
Damn. That’s when I learned several other phrases, like “blue balls,” and “tease.” She was just as HOT as always, and we were just as close as always, but when we began missing that element, it became something between us, like a wall, especially when we were alone. And it made me wish we had never done any of that stuff before, because then I knew what it felt like, and I knew how much I was missing. You see, all that time before, when I had blindly said “no sex until marriage,” it was easy to say it and believe it. But once it was a possibility and it was taken away from me, I saw just how hard it could be (no pun intended, but pun appreciated just the same).
And that wasn’t the worst of it either. I began to blame her. It was all her, and resentment began to grow cold and hard in my soul. I know, I know. It wasn’t her fault any more than it was my fault. We just knew what we wanted, and we had to make the tough decision, but I blamed her because she said “stop” that one time, and she insisted we do the research. It didn’t seem to matter that we both found the information, and we were both scared by it, if it came down to it and even after the fact she said she would do it, I was all in. And when that relationship broke up, I knew deep down in my heart that some part of it (maybe a major part) was that the frustration just builds. And that majorly sucks. Because she might have been the one.
And yeah, Britney was no virgin.
[Contributed by Sam McManus]