The Goddess Speaks

By Dawn Sagario

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

A pure and simple
fact of life

SOMETIMES I feel like a four-eyed monster that's emerged from the woodwork when I tell people that at 22, I have yet to be "intimate" with someone else.

Immediate physical responses include eyes rolling toward the ceiling, smirks forming at the corners of mouths and heads slowly bobbing in patronizing fashion. Verbal reactions range from praise for "upholding such moralistic values," to exclamations of disbelief.

The latter disturbs me. I think I would remember if I had had sex with someone. Yet individuals will insist, upon discovering my virginal status, that I'm the hugest liar in the world. "You???!!" they yelp. "Right, Dawn, and I'm one too," they say with a wink.

In the realm of collegiate society, there is an unwritten list of taboos that a senior such as myself is assumed to have broken as a rite of passage into adulthood. By now, I apparently am supposed to have made a fool out of myself while drunk, experimented with some type of illicit drug and prayed to the porcelain god after a night of partying. By the ripe old age of 18, it's almost a given that one has already had sexual intercourse. More often than not, the activity falls into the high school, "Top 10 Been-There-Done-Thats."

REMARKABLY, a question as personal as that of virginity does come up in general conversation. When it does, some will look strangely at me -- as if I had a pimple on my nose -- when I tell them I am "one of those." Inevitably they ask, "Why?"

People want to know if I had a traumatic sexual experience as a child, while others will wonder if I'm a religious fanatic who believes that sleeping with someone before I marry will grant me eternal damnation in a fiery hell.

Several of my peers simply believe it is physically impossible to have been around for so long without getting it on. I remember telling one guy I had never "been with someone," and for the rest of our conversation he just looked at me as if I were a creature he had never seen before. At that point, I truly felt like a freak.

My choice to remain a virgin does not have to do with an obscure childhood experience or extreme dogmatic belief. Rather, I've heard too many tales from friends of pregnancy scares, possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases and just plain old heartache, to want to risk physical involvement with someone. Honestly, I don't think my conscience would let me get away with it either.

Having sex is easy enough, people tell me. It's not hard to find someone who wants to do it. But I believe (and you can call me a hopeless romantic or an impractical, idiotic fool -- I don't care) that waiting for that right person and getting married before having sex makes all the sense in the world.

It's not just about gratifying a physical need. It's about the love behind the act and taking on all of the stuff that comes with it (good and bad). Traditionalist, old-fashioned or archaic, call it what you want and pin the label on me.

Young people so often forget that with the act comes consequences. Being a busy college student on the cusp of graduation and anxious of what awaits me in the "real world" is stressful enough. The last thing I need is to be worrying about whether or not that little pregnancy test strip is going to come out with a plus or a minus.

What's the rush anyway? I've waited this long, why break the streak?

Dawn Sagario is an intern at the Star-Bulletin.

The Goddess Speaks runs every Tuesday
and is a column by and about women, our strengths, weaknesses,
quirks and quandaries. If you have something to say, write it and
send it to: The Goddess Speaks, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O.
Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802, or send e-mail

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