Virginity should not be taboo in college

Holly New

There is pressure to have sex.

College students are consistently subjected to messages that push sex. From Cosmopolitan’s tips for having better intercourse to sexually suggestive songs like Flo Rida’s “Whistle” and Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake,” the implication is obvious.

Back in the day, pre-marital sex was extremely frowned upon. If you had sex before marriage, you certainly didn’t talk about it. However, I do realize it’s the 21st century. Sex doesn’t hold the stigma it used to. But even with all this sex talk, there is a group unaccounted for: the virgins.

Jenny Lugar of MacLean’s On Campus, a Canadian news site, said in a March column that “Virginity seems to be one of the only taboos left on sexually liberated university campuses.” Virgins in college seem to be exception to the norm.

As I was shuffling through funny pictures on the Internet, I happened upon a tweet from a fake Will Ferrell feed that read: “Being a virgin these days is something to be proud of, because it’s so rare. You’re like a freaking unicorn!”

Are virgins really that rare, though?

“Of those surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 percent of men and 29 percent of women ages 15 to 24 reported being virgins,” according to Elizabeth Lopatto in a March 2011 Bloomberg.com article. That’s a decent chunk of people.

Sharon Jayson of USA Today wrote in a March 2011 article that the Centers for Disease Control survey “reflects an emerging paradigm that is altering the nature of sex and relationships among young adults: fewer men than women on campuses; a more openly sexual society that often takes cues from media, and a declining desire to make relationship commitments early in life.”

So even with a considerable percent of people remaining virgins, why is there still a stigma?

It’s impossible to deny a stigma exists. Celebrities like Taylor Swift and Tim Tebow are consistently made fun of for being virgins. Virgins have to explain to others why they are still virgins, as if they have missed a rite of passage necessary for entering adulthood. Times have certainly changed.

The decision to remain a virgin can stem from various reasons, from moral beliefs to simply not finding the right person. For college students who feel the pressure to “lose it,” know there is nothing wrong with being a virgin. Actually, being a virgin comes with various perks: Not becoming pregnant, not contracting a sexually transmitted disease and not feeling regret over the first time top the list.

Sex is an important part of adulthood, and it’s important people recognize waiting isn’t shameful. I think despite all the pressures, choosing to remain a virgin takes maturity and responsibility. Sex and celibacy involve personal choice, and whichever route a person decides to take should be respected.