Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Hang Out With Virgins

It's one of those days. THOSE days, when you're either getting ready to eat, or eating, or getting ready to travel, or traveling, or getting ready for guests. Or you might be eating while getting ready for guests who are traveling.

My calves are almost cramping. I say almost, because I think at the moment putting one foot in front on the other would create an Olympic athlete-scale cramp, the kind where everybody stops and rushes out onto the football field and everyone's like "oh no, he has a broken neck" but then it turns out to be a muscle cramp but the guy's too embarrassed to admit it so he hobbles off really feebly to make the point that he's not a sissy.

I've returned to Jazzercise. When I first heard the name "Jazzercise," I seriously thought it was like some old folks' exercise routine, like "Sittercise" on PBS where you sit in your chair and do waving motions or leg lifts to Patriotic music from the 30's or 40's.

Turns out that's not what Jazzercise is at all. It's a dance exercise class. That's about it. An instructor stands up front and twenty or thirty or forty women get their heart rates up to music like Beyonce and U2 and whatnot. It's a combination of cardio, strengthening, and stretching, which is actually wise, because by the time the cardio portion is done, I'm so winded that it actually makes me look forward to doing strengthening stuff with a mat and weights, just because it means sitting on the floor.

"But Big Red Couch, why do you like paying for Jazzercise instead of driving fifteen minutes to a college gym that's free and has TVs playing ESPN all the time?"

Yeah, the answer is in the question. The driving. The oft-broken cardio machines. And especially, the ESPN. Also, there's the problem of me trying to motivate myself to push harder in my workout, as opposed to turning my mind off and letting someone else tell me to kick higher and squat lower.

And there's the music. And it's all women. And that may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Time with the sistahood, even if you don't know them all, is really valuable.

And there's the prizes. Go enough times, you get something from the prize box. It's simple, but it's like a carrot in front of a donkey. And I am that donkey.

But I digress. This is about me. Hanging out with virgins. Not in a we're all dead and this is Islamic paradise way. Just in a I-happen-to-know-a-lot-of-virgins way.

So, because you're inundated with politics, Thanksgiving stuff, and Christmas decor, Let's Talk About Virgins!

Misconceptions About Virgins:

1. Virgins are sexually repressed and uncomfortable with their own sexuality.This is an interesting one. "Repressed" and "sexually inactive" are two different things, for one thing. There are a lot of sexually inactive women who aren't repressed. But if you're repressed, then you probably are sexually inactive.

So how is a woman not repressed, but sexually inactive? I'd use the quickly-regaining-popular-use term, "celibate." This means that you know you could have sex, but you choose not to. It also implies that sex isn't unappealing to you, but that you're simply refraining from it.

I'd say both sexually repressed women and sexually inactive women have a lot of tension. The difference is whether that tension becomes a negative (the former) or if it can be a positive. Ever notice how much convents and monasteries produce? Fruitcake, candy, wine, cheese...there's a lot of pent-up energy there, folks. Service projects, outdoor activity, and creativity can abound where there's a mentally healthy, sexually inactive woman.

A lot of virgins are very aware of their sexuality. Not in the sense that a seductive woman is: she is utilizing her confidence from past experience. But virgins are quite aware of their sexuality, which is why I've heard so many virgins express...frustration, from time to time. Some friends in college always called it being "stuck in neutral": the engine is there; it's revving; but there's no place to go. I've lost count of the number of laments I've heard from friends who are white-knuckled with being "horny." They do tend to be really productive, though: remodeling kitchens, running marathons. All celibate people have these experiences, regardless of whether they're still virgins.

2. Virgins are either weirdly religious or socially awkward: otherwise they would've seen some action by now.
There are virgins who aren't religious, and who aren't socially awkward. There are religious people who aren't virgins, and socially awkward people who aren't virgins. Some virgins believe their sexuality is tied to a robust expression of their faith, and many virgins are well-adjusted, fun people.

That being said, there are some virgins who lend extremely religious interpretations to All Things Sexual, and there are some virgins who Embody Social Awkwardness. But I wouldn't say the majority of virgins fall in one or both of these two categories.

The well-adjusted values virgin knows that she isn't denying her sexuality; she's disciplined and limited her expression of it. This means you can have a Christian virgin who knows that sex is good, that women and men worship God through a marriage covenant with consummation, and that - plug your ears, you squeam-o's - and that orgasms were part of the Eden plan of happy creation. (All you married people - or least, hopefully all you married people - are nodding your heads and saying Mmmmmhmm! Preach it, sistah!)

The well-adjusted social virgin loves others, values community, serves in her local context, builds meaningful relationships with others, and carves a niche for her calling. One of my virgo-friends, "Anne," beautifully embodies this. She's always part of something intriguing and nuanced: an arts consortium, or a Bohemian church plant. She delicately savors beauty, and cultivates healthy relationships with the care of a detailed horticulturalist.

3. Two virgins will find it impossible to have good sex.
A friend posed this question the other day: " IS...IT? Has it changed? Has it gotten better?"

Because there's an underground community of virgin communication. No, it's not a different language, like Vulcan. I mean that when you have a group of friends who are virgins, as soon as the virgins begin to get married, all of the others are going to ask about it, and the now married people will give pragmatic advice. One of my friends was given a basket right before her (gorgeous) wedding, that included things like cranberry tablets, and ibuprofen.

Now, most people would think the next sentence is right out of the 19th century, and that I drive a buggy and hang out with the Amish. But I don't. They're nice people and all, I just don't know any Amish blokes. But the fact is, my husband and I were both virgos when we got married. (I know, men always roll their eyes and think a woman is naive if she believes it, but those men assume all other men are liars - which means that they probably are, too.)

All I have to say is this: virgins get a painful, uncomfortable picture of a honeymoon painted for them, with foreboding and dread. But surprisingly, the honeymoon isn't always that painful, uncomfortable, or dreadful. In fact - plug your ears, squeam-o's - I was surprised at how good it was, all things considered (all things being two virgins).

So, does it change over time? Well, it's different. But it's hard to qualify it as "better," because it's something you're both learning as you go, which by and in itself makes it quite sweet.

Here's the wrong assumption: experience makes things better.

Here's the correction: just about anything is more than a virgin's ever experienced, so because it's new, it's amazing. A roller coaster enthusiast can go on about how this one roller coaster is great, how technically superb it is. But is it any more thrilling for that person, really, than the first time someone else goes on any roller coaster?

I honestly think that fringe sex stuff is becoming more mainstream simply because there are fewer virgins. Virgins get a lot more bang for their buck, because they're more easily...well, you know. People who've had a lot of experiences need to find more and more extreme stuff because it takes more to rev their engines than it used to.

So this Thanksgiving, I raise my glass to virgins; here's to you, white-knuckled celibates. Three cheers for virgins!


Becky Carter said...

I bet I can guess what you did last night. ;-) Try having children, then rewrite this article from that perspective...ha ha! Happy Turkey Day and quit talking about sex with my brother. gross.

Bob said...

humina huminaaa...nanny nannay...(fingers in my ears) boopedoop..hummmammmahummaaa...(can't hear you)...daaadaaa dee dhaaaadaaahhhdahhh....(are you talking?)...hmmmmm hmh m hmmmmm (don't wanna hear it)hooo hmmmmhaaahmmmm

Kimberly said...

This is great stuff!!

Precision Quality Laser said...

lol....this was a great post!

But really I just came by to thank you for your comment on my post about my Dad.

Our situations are eerily similar. My parents got divorced for the same reason your's did.

Anyway, I am going to be rereading your email before I delete it :)

I am so glad that you have been able to find healing and I pray that one day I will too.


Mrs. Q