I am a virgin. It feels good to finally say it. Not only am I a virgin, but I’ve never had a girlfriend and my first kiss was at Full Moon on the Quad.
I have also lied about being a virgin for much of my post-pubescent life.
Lying is wrong and rarely justifiable. I’ve lied about my virginity to close friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. It was wrong of me and I apologize. I could continue to self-flagellate but rest assured that lying puts me through a particular mental anguish all on its own.
What you must understand is that my entire pre-Stanford sexual education came from octogenarian nuns and the creators of South Park. I never got a birds-and-the-bees talk from my parents. Instead, I was given a pamphlet in the fourth grade that only confused the entire process for me. The sex ed class in my high school told us about STDs, but never covered biology, mechanics, orientations or consent. We received a healthy fear of God and T-shirts extolling the virtues of abstinence. From that confusion only one message got through to me: I want to wait for a girl with whom I’m madly in love and have been dating for some time. The former has happened, but not the latter. Please note that I do not heap scorn on people whose proclivities or predilections differ from mine. I do, as we all should, respect every expression of sexuality within the confines of consent.
Still, it should also be noted that I’m not a virgin due to lack of opportunity. As unbelievable as it sounds, I was the object of a few crushes in high school. I’ve also been to parties and have imbibed my fair share of spirits. I have even blatantly shut down another person’s attempt at romantic intimacy and left the room. Suffice to say, mine is a volitional virginity.
The problem is that a tall, athletic, talented, blue-eyed, white, heterosexual male isn’t supposed to be a long-term virgin. And if he is, he should resent it. Like many of my friends and peers I was supposed to punch that card in high school, at the first opportunity. That is the heterosexual male culture that I, and many others, inhabit. Girls are often ostracized for having too much sex, while boys are often harassed for having too little. That is what I grew up seeing. That harassment is what I lied to avoid.
As I said before, I take full responsibility for my dishonesty. But sometimes the temptation for social acceptance is overwhelming. I’m not simply mad at myself for lying, but I’m mad that I felt compelled to lie. I let some boy’s drunken boasts about sexual exploits affect how I want to live my life. I let a roommate’s claim that he’s had the most sex of anyone in the dorm lead me to fabricate a history. I let some little imp compel me to dishonesty with jokes about my orientation, penis size, suavity, etc. There is nothing wrong with jokes so long as we subsequently validate a person’s perfectly valid stances. To be the butt of a joke and have no one say “I accept you” is truly jading.
That’s where closets come from. It’s not just the fire-and-brimstone evangelical who oppresses the LGBTQ community: It’s the taxing day-to-day invalidation by a society that vociferously accepts the “normal” while tacitly condemning the rest. The different standards we have for different groups ultimately leads to stigma.
We should strive to watch our words and actions, recognizing how they affect people. I’m as guilty and foul-mouthed as anyone, but I’ve been nothing but open and accepting in my caring for other people. Listening to other people’s lives has become such a joy for me, because I can learn their stories and become more understanding. We should strive for a society that validates all benign behaviors by actively accepting those different from us. Let’s create a culture that promotes open acceptance as the norm.
So to those I’ve lied to, I am sorry that I made such a bad decision. But it serves as a good lesson. Our actions, however small, can have lasting and adverse effects on people. Therefore, we should strive to know, comfort and accept those around us.
Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.