What it's like to be a virgin in your twenties

Sex is not a topic I shy away from talking about. It's a completely natural part of life, and it shouldn't have to be whispered about in dark corners. A long time ago, virginity was the norm, and those who were deemed to be "promiscuous" were the outcasts. However, somewhere along the way it flipped.

I'm twenty-three. I'm still a virgin. No, I'm not weird, and it's not for a religious reason. I can say with 100% honesty that it just happened. I am an accidental virgin.

When I was sixteen, I was approached by a guy, who was an acquaintance, on AIM (YES, I'M OLD), and I still remember his exact words: "Not to be presumptuous, but would you maybe want to have sex?" I entertained the idea for a bit, and then decided against it. I'd had a crush on him previously, and him asking me that only gave confirmation that I was good enough to sleep with, but not good enough to date. I would NOT stand for that. Being shy around guys, I mostly had unrequited crushes until graduation. Once college started, I decided to switch my focus from boys to academics and was too busy to date. Sometimes guys would talk to me but it would die out after a week or two.

From 2011-2013 I was in a relationship with a much older man, who was very, very bad for me. I was 19. He was 35. He traveled a lot and it was very rare for us to be together face-to-face. I had many an opportunity to sleep with him, but I listened to my gut, which told me he was terrible for me, and I was right.

In mid-2014 I met a guy online who I immediately had a connection with. We weren't technically "dating" each other, but we didn't date other people either. He quickly became one of my best friends, but a few months ago we stopped speaking because we were both falling in love, but we knew we couldn't be together because we live in different states. *We've since started speaking again, and it's only on a BFF basis, which I'm thankful for.

I was on Tinder for a while, which was terrible, needless to say. You can read about my first (and last) Tinder date here.

So, that's how I ended up a 23V, but here's what it's actually like:

People can always tell (and they will ALWAYS ask.) I don't know how, but it's like I wear some neon sign. I was hanging out with a guy from high school a few weeks ago, and he asked me "Emily, are you a virgin?" I was taken aback that he could tell... Do I give off some scent that only virgins have?! Even more so, however, was that he asked about. You would never ask someone, "So, are you NOT a virgin?"

Telling the guys you date is awkward. Because it is so rare in our culture, especially the older you get, I like to tell guys in the beginning. If I think there's a possibility for something more, I'll tell them. If it freaks them out, better to know in the beginning than down the road while they're unsuccessfully trying to unhook my bra.

They'll have one of four reactions:

1) Creepy guy who may have been cool and laid back before, but whose only go as of now is to get you into bed because you being a virgin is a turn on for him.

2) You'll never hear from him again because even though he put on a great facade of being okay with it, he (not so) secretly only wanted to sleep with you in the first place, and decides you're not worth the effort since, ya know, twenty-something virgins aren't really famous for being easy.

3) They won't believe you. I don't know why, but there are women who lie about being virgins. This is nothing more than a cross to bear at this age, so I don't get their logic. This is bad for me, because there are guys with whom "I'm a virgin," translates to "I'm really easy, but I want you to think otherwise." These are easily the worst ones.

4) He'll be fine with it. This is actually usually the case, if he's a quality guy. It doesn't matter to them nearly as much as we think it does.

I get called a unicorn. A lot. I love unicorns. I'd actually say it borders on obsession, but that's for another article. There's nothing inherently bad about being called a unicorn. It just happens.

People automatically assume you know nothing about sex. I mainly have guy friends, which is where this is easy for me. Guys, in my experience, do talk about their conquests over beer and Xbox (sorry for stereotyping, fellas), but will never ask their female friends about their sex lives out of respect. So, when one of my guy friends is talking about a girl he went home with over the weekend, I never feel the pressure to respond with an equally raunchy story, because they'd actually prefer not to hear about it. With female friends, however, there is that pressure. So, just telling them up front is easier, but they'll never take you seriously when it comes to sex, and they'll never ask you for dating advice, which is actually kind of a blessing in and of itself.

No pregnancy scares. Can you say yay? Yay! When I was in high school, my friend thought she was pregnant. I was seventeen at the time, she was sixteen. All the way to Target, she kept rambling about how her parents were going to kill her. She bought a 2-pack of pregnancy tests and we went into the bathroom and each took one. Her logic behind this was that if mine came up positive, she'd know they were from a bad batch and that she wasn't actually pregnant. They were both negative, thankfully.

No STDs. Double yay! Because I fucking hate needles.