Being a virgin at a college with such an intense hook-up culture is a little intimidating. There, I said it, it’s out of the way. Yes, I am a virgin. No, there’s not some elaborate reason behind it. It’s not necessarily a religious thing (although if it is for you, I admire that), it’s a personal preference thing. Sure, I’ve had my fair share ofmake-outsat The Boot(who hasn’t?),I just haven’t quite felt readyto take that step yet. I grew up in a moderately religious household,so it was always an unspoken assumption that I’d be waiting until marriage. That’s not quite my sentiment anymore.See, I’m not exactly opposed to losing my virginity, but I’m also not actively trying to do so. I’m the type of person who gets attached fairly easily, and the dating world already stresses me out enough without adding sex in.So, I’m waiting until it feels right—whatever that means.

Coming to college has brought this decision into hyper-focus for me. Lately,it’s felt like everyone around me is having sex with someone. And that’s great! As long as it’s consensual, I’m all for it. It’s just frustrating when it feels like you’re the only one that’s not doing it (heh, literally). But, upon a little further investigation, I’ve realized that this is so not the case. I’ve found that so many of my friends are in the same boat as me, though their reasons vary a bit. Despite what it may seem, not everyone is having sex, and being a virgin is not something to be ashamed of.

It’s easy to assume that everyone is having sex because we all mean different things when we say “hooking up.”See, in my hometown, if you said you hooked up with someone, that 100 percent meant you had sex, but I’ve found that a lot of people here at Tulane simply mean they’ve made out, or something along those lines. So that weeds out a lot of the sex that I thought people were having.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that people tend to play up the amount of sex they’re having (I’m looking at you, frat boys). Kidding! But really, I think most people feel this pressure to live up to the expectation that they’re having tons of sex in college, which is really unnecessary. Sure, there are instances where you’ll tell a guy that you don’t want to have sex, and that’ll be the end of things (speaking from personal experience here), but really, if a guy(or girl, for that matter)can’t respect your decision, they aren’t the right one for you anyway.Hook-up culture is so prevalent here, so it’s easy to feel like you should be having sex, but that’s a personal decision that you have to make for yourself.

Basically, if no one has told you, I want to be the first to say that, yes, consensual sex is a great thing, but it’s okay if you don’t want to have sex. You can be a virgin in college, even if we have this intense hook-up culture. If the people around you try to tell you otherwise, run. Run far away. Find new people to surround yourself with, people who support your decisions. If the people around you try to tell you otherwise, we’ve got much bigger problems.

COVER PHOTO: Heathline

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