Unrequited Sexpectations

YOLO: You only let (the internet know about your sexual history) once!


January 31, 2014 | Sweat | February 2014

I was told a lot of things growing up, by my parents, by the movies and books I consumed like oxygen. And still, I have to say I’m a bit disillusioned with my life so far. Maybe it’s because I haven’t traveled to Europe or eaten sushi or uh — had sex yet. Yes, my name is Harper Kelley, 21-year-old virgin.

Let me brief you real fast. I’ve never had a relationship or really ever dated someone for longer than a month. You’d think in college, when everyone is in and out of these tumultuous relationships you’d find yourself in one sooner or later. Nope. Not the case. When you find yourself here so late in the game, you have no choice but to address the bleak questions: is there something wrong with me? Is there in fact a reason no one seems to show interest? Is there a secret password and handshake no one taught the virgins of society? I hope I just missed a meeting.

See, I’ve thought about this a lot and the way I see it, this can go one of two ways: the Idealized Perfect (S)experience, or The Real Thing, the one I’ll actually have. In Idealized Perfect (S)experience, the chosen guy is someone who I feel comfortable enough to be naked with, someone who’s been patient but also really nervous and excited. This guy is not just in bed with me, he’s my dearest friend. And, ya know, has the face of a young Adam Brody and the ineffable charm of Greg Kinnear. Do I detect a British accent? There will be dim lighting and a non-creaky bed. Sade plays in the background, inexplicably, as a cool breeze wicks away any real sweat, and I just glisten marvelously. Afterward, we devour chocolate almond croissants and bask in the afterglow of our sexual compatibility, amazed that we had ever waited that long.

The Real Thing seems pretty bleak in comparison, or at least as I imagine it. The state of my inebriation will factor into all of these facets of my night:  I will constantly be aware of the obnoxious creaking of my mattress, as well as the profuse sweating that will invade any semblance of confidence I had going into this experience. It will hurt. I will worry so much about that fraction of a percentage that claims my birth control won’t take effect, that I’ll forget to actually enjoy what I can of the experience. Oh my god, I forgot to shave my legs. Help. As for the guy, it will most likely be someone in my friend circle — an inappropriate choice, though easily accessible and available. It will be awkward afterward because we wouldn’t address such things; he’ll leave soon after and I’ll be left in my bed wondering what the hell just happened for at least a day and a half.

Being a virgin at this stage in my life wouldn’t bother me nearly as much if I’d ever felt remotely connected with someone. There’s this enlightening Soul Pancake interview with Rainn Wilson and Olivia Wilde, wherein Wilde remarks that she doesn’t trust anybody who’s never had their heart truly broken, especially artists. This thought sparked some real concern in myself and my life choices. How can I be a writer if I know nothing of life’s perfect tragedy? How is there this plane of thought from which I’m completely exiled?  It’s this vulnerability with another being that makes sex and all that comes with it worth the hype.

Society’s pressure to “lose one’s virginity” is not the root of my distress — it’s the thought that no one has ever come close to meaning so much to me that I’d share such an intimate aspect of myself. I’m not in any rush to have my heart shattered just so I can write about life, don’t get me wrong here. I just want to know what I’m missing. Yeah, yeah, “the grass is always greener” and all that, but I feel like less of a person walking around knowing there’s a possibility for growth and understanding, but I can’t access it.  I’m not one to believe in the “ultimate” soul mate, as Plato’s famous dialogue, The Symposium,  would have you think. I believe there are multiple people who will bring out the best in you, and vice versa. Now, believing what I do, how can I concentrate on furthering myself, taking on this task of reaching adulthood and all the responsibility that comes with it, if the only growth I have to show for it is slight weight gain? There’s a party going on around me, and I’ve misplaced my invite.

I bide my time as many do, diving head-first into work, befriending all types of food delivery people, and spending much too much time watching interviews of John Krasinski on YouTube,  in the hopes that someday I can fathom a human connection as strong as my WiFi signal.

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