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I know what you must think of me, like I’m some kind of sorry freak who can’t get laid, and I can’t really blame you.

It’s both a feat of self-restraint and a matter of circumstance that I have come this far without losing my virginity. I congratulate myself on having avoided a compromising situation, but at the same time consider myself unlucky that I still haven’t.

There are different factors at play here. One is I’m torpe, and it doesn’t help that I’ve been plagued by confidence issues, which is why I haven’t had much luck with the ladies. I’ve dated, but I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve yet to get past first base with any woman. And no, paying for sex is not an option for me.

Another reason I’m not jumping into bed to lose it with the first girl who’ll have me is because I value sex too much. To me, it is the highest expression of love with your partner. Being a Catholic has really given me a deeper appreciation of love, sex, and the institution of marriage.

'I’m not jumping into bed to lose it with the first girl who’ll have me is because I value sex too much. To me, it is the highest expression of love with your partner'

Yet another reason is I’m just careful. Mass media makes sex look like a fun, intimate form of communication—you express love with touch and the consequent sharing of bodily fluids—but economic realities leave me wary. The objective of sex is to bring another life into the world, and raising a family is a very costly enterprise, one that I am not yet prepared to take on until I’ve built my career and finances.

Sure, I could use contraceptives, but I don’t see myself using one unless my partner and I really are that horny. And they’re not failsafe; a condom offers only a 91 percent effectivity rate—what about the other 9 percent? You also have sexually transmitted infections to contend with, and even when you use condoms to prevent them, sexual impropriety can bring other complications to your life if you do it with the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time—the media alone is replete with articles, shows, and movies about all the horrors that can happen when you let your horniness rule. Other men don’t let these things stop them from getting into a woman’s pants, but I’m not here to just fuck around—literally and figuratively.

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My choice to stay away from sex is essentially an exercise in risk reduction. I want to do it, but only with someone I love, and only when I am financially stable enough to start a family with her. She doesn’t have to be a virgin herself, as long as she is careful about her health and open enough about her relationship history.

I’m not an asexual person, if my confessions thus far have made you think such. I am a red-blooded Pinoy male; I surf porn, get turned on, and play with myself from time to time. I’ve even had sex over the Messenger app. But despite my non-existent sex life, I am not like Josh Hartnett’s character in 40 Days and 40 Nights, either, he who could barely restrain his lust at the tail-end of his vow of celibacy, which lasted a mere Lenten season. I haven’t gone mad from over three decades of sexual repression and am not trying to hump everything in sight; there are ways to channel all that sexual energy, such as through exercise. Or housework.

I am proud of myself for holding on to my virginity for this long, but it’s obviously not something I list down on my resume. I know that I’m the exception to the rule, and the exception always makes people uncomfortable because of its strangeness, so I don’t openly volunteer the status of my sex life to people and only answer when asked.

When they do hear the truth, they always get that weird look on their faces. The next thing you know, they’re offering to save me from my decades-long drought by bringing me to a seedy bar or massage parlor or by hiring the services of a sex worker. And I don’t like being forced into it until I’m ready. If I did give in even before I was ready, I just know my first time won’t result in earth-shattering fireworks, but in a sorry, whimpering sputter.

'I am proud of myself for holding on to my virginity for this long, but it’s obviously not something I list down on my resume'

Clearly, pressure to lose my virginity is coming from all quarters. However, I do not follow the logic that goes, “Everybody’s doing it, so why don’t you?” Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I have decided to stick to my guns. You may not like my decision, but at least respect it.

I used to want to keep my virginity strictly until marriage, but I eased up about five years ago when a coworker softened my views on sex and relationships. I now consider having sex outside the confines of marriage, as long as it is with someone I love.

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Right now, I am in an online relationship with someone from outside Metro Manila. We are both virgins. We both understand how awkward our plight is and are trying to find a way past that. Honestly, it feels like the blind leading the blind. However, it’s also sexually exciting because of the thrill of stepping into the unknown, best illustrated by the fantasy of two blindfolded lovers feeling their way around each other’s bodies as foreplay. I only hope we can summon the strength to meet up and be a real couple someday.

I do look forward to the day I finally have sex, which I know will be with someone I love and hope to spend the rest of my life with. However, I don’t expect it to be a nuclear explosion of ecstasy or a show of sexual acrobatics that will put the best works of hentai to shame. It will be my first time, after all. I’m pretty sure yours wasn’t that great, either. I’m just getting to mine about 20 years later than you have.

* Name has been changed

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