Sunday, May 19Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Defined by the act of choice, not by the act itself.

… Shouldn’t it rather be something that I give, not something taken from me?

Last year, I wrote an article about the term ‘virgin’ being used as a slur against individuals who have not had sex. As a virgin myself, I was frustrated by the openness that some people took upon themselves to discuss another’s lack of sex, whether by choice or not. My aim was to explain how virginity is something that should only concern the individual themselves and not a crowd of people saying the why’s and should’s about virginity. So, with SHAG Week fresh in our memories, I felt like it was perhaps time to provide a more positive spin on my previous article on virginity, rather than condemn those who use it negatively against people.

The day that I do lost my virginity, whether that is tomorrow or in a year, I know I won’t regret it as it was my choice to do so and not with the thoughts of ‘finally!’ banging away at the back of my mind.

Yes, well, that happened. Funnily enough, there wasn’t any fireworks, I didn’t scream in pain and neither did I magically fall in love with my partner in crime. In fact, I didn’t feel any of what friends and family had told me I would experience, but what I have noticed is a change in my attitude since then. I have more confidence in myself and I feel happier to put myself out there for opportunities that I wouldn’t have normally undertaken.

I am not saying that I now define myself by the having of sex, but by the fact that I chose how, when and who with. It was empowering, to say the least. I was lucky enough to be allowed to have this choice without the feeling of pressure from external sources about who it was with and the fact that it didn’t end in a further relationship. I feel no guilt and I have no shame.

Since then, I have had more confidence about the exploration of my own interests, both academically, socially and sexually. I feel happier in my own skin, so much so that I found myself taking part in the RAG Naked Calendar for the first time, which only added to my own feeling of empowerment. I was surprisingly comfortable being naked in front of people who I did and did not know, an idea that would have made cringe in fear only 6 months ago.

Hopefully, reading this will encourage virgins everywhere to know that it is okay to wait, however long that may be. It is also okay to want it over and done with, as long as you believe that you ready for it. It is okay to be in a relationship for your first time, but it is also perfectly fine not to be. It is your body and so, it can only be your choice to know when is right.