Thursday, May 26, 2011

In response to Danny's Corner: Are We Really That Rare?, OR, A Post On Adult Male Virginity

Apparently virgins count for less than 3% of the over-25-years-old male population of the US.  While I sometimes think about virginity and the ways it's valued and constructed in US culture, I don't typically spend a lot of time thinking about adult virgins...  unless I see posts like this one over at Danny's corner that actually address the issue.

I tend to assume that most people over the age of 25 have had sex at least once.  I assume that there's a larger proportion of virgins in different, more religious subcultures than the one I'm in.  And it seems that I'm mostly right.  I do tend to assume that people-- male and female-- who are virgins into their mid twenties are religious... which might be because the one guy I know who I know for sure is a virgin is religious.  He's of the courtship rather than dating mindset, so he's pretty extreme in his views as far as things go.  But... it's a choice.  And for another guy who I knew in college, it was also a choice.  I have no clue what his status is now, since, well, college was four years ago, but for him it was that he wanted it to be special and all that jazz.

What I'm more curious about is how many guys are virgins into their mid twenties against their choices-- either because they're in relationships with men or women who are determined to not have sex, or because they are too busy to date and against one night stands, or because they just keep. striking. out.  I know that there are definitely guys like this out there-- the whole "forever alone" concept, and sad self-posts to reddit are enough to make most people who spend too much time know that. A quick google also found me two websites focusing on involuntary celibacy, which is apparently also called Incel, though they include people who have had sex in the past, but who are long term celibate anyway.  But I'm curious about the guys who are still virgins, and why, and if it's not by choice, why it is that they've been unable to find a sex partner.  I'd guess shyness, mostly, because in the age of online dating, even if you are what the majority of society considers sexually unappealing, there are people who like all sorts of appearances, and a partner could probably be found online, even if it would take a lot of effort.  For some, I'd think it might have to do with behavior-- I can't imagine a straight man who is openly hateful and misogynistic having much success with women, for example, or someone who is so shy he doesn't actually talk to women or make clear his interest.  And for some, of course, I'd assume it's because they dated a woman who didn't want to lose her virginity for a long time, and after the relationship ended, have been unsure how to proceed.

I've noticed online that there's an idea that male virginity is a huge turn-off to women, and something most women would run from.  I actually have no clue how most of my friends feel about this, for a change, because it's just something that has not come up-- other issues get talked about, but i think meeting male virgins doesn't even cross the mind of most of my dating lady-friends.  Hell, the last virgin I encountered was in college, and he was 21.  Most guys-- 97% of them, once they hit 25-- have had some experience.  But 3% is still a really large number, when you think about.  Just look at your Facebook-- you probably have, like, 500 Facebook friends.  3% of that number is 15.  Now think about all the dudes in the US who are over the age of 25.  Statistically, its a small number, but it's also a HUGE number, so a ton of guys out there aren't having sex, either by choice or without choice.  And think how many more guys have had sex with one person who they aren't sexing anymore and who aren't having sex now.  An even huger number!  As someone who thinks that sex is an important, healthy part of being an adult (unless you're asexual) this is just... boggling and disturbing and saddening.  Though I hope most virginal guys aren't sad, I have to think a large portion of them probably are, especially because of the messages society says about guys who "can't get laid" being worth less than other men.  It's the sort of thing that also makes me annoyed that we don't have safe, legal prostitution or sex surrogates in this country (and my thoughts on sex work are enough to fill up many other posts, but in short: I think prostitution should be legal, I don't think it's any worse for most people than sleeping around with non prostitutes, but I think the ways it often happens in the US are not good situations for sex workers.  Legalize and regulate is my motto in this as in many other things).  It can't help erase frustration at not having a relationship, and it's unlikely to help a lot of guys with any underlying issues that may be keeping them celibate by choice, but it's at least something.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Moving is exhausting and apparently pisses off your cats.

JD and I are unpacking in earnest, but we won't have a regular internet connection until sometime Monday.

People down here are much more forward than they are in Boston.  I get that it's being friendly, but after living in Boston for four years, where people are perfectly friendly if not outgoing, it seems almost rude.  Small cultural differences even inside the same country.

I am fairly certain there is literally nothing within safe walking distance of the apartment (safe meaning, I am not crossing a highway on foot, thanks).

Moving is always strange to me, and I always change some as a result of my surroundings.

It'll be interesting to see what happens this time.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today being mother's day, I had different thoughts running through my head about cultural expectations of mothers, and media representations, and the work that goes into being a mom, and the role of motherhood in feminism, but...

I deleted all my thoughts on those.

Because really, I just want to say I have an awesome mom.  She is like me in many ways, and utterly unlike me in many other ways.  When I was younger, we didn't always get along so well.  Even now, we often disagree.  But she's awesome, and she was a really good mom.  

She did, and does, small little things to show me that she cares-- thoughtful things that are really sweet and unnecessary.  Like making my favorite kind of cookies, and waking me up when i visit home instead of having me set my alarm.  Going shopping with me, and letting me pick movies when we go to them together.  

Some specific things I remember from years ago-- when I was a kid, I used to have this unicorn, that rotated and played a song when you wound it up.  i knocked it off the highest dresser in my room one day, and even though my floor was carpeted, it still shattered.  My mom glued all the tiny pieces back together again.

I also had a small stuff cat that I carried literally EVERYWHERE.  To the point that the cat came off to college with me... to law school with me... and now has a place on our bookshelves.  Judge all you want, but that kitty has sentimental value.  Anyway, sewn to the cat's mouth is this small little pillow with the words "With Love" written on it.  Except... the pillow fell off.  So my mom sewed it back on.  And it fell off again.  and she sewed it on again.  All the way up until I was old enough that I sometimes left if in my room and it wasn't treated quite as harshly.  Granted, the pillow was probably only falling off all the time for a year of so, because time feels longer when you're a kid, but my mom rescuing and fixing White Kitten (creative naming, huh?  There was also a Grey Kitten that wasn't nearly as soft or cute, and which was discarded.) every single time meant a LOT to me as a kid.  And hell, it means a lot to me now.  She didn't have to do it, but she did, repeatedly.

And she still does awesome stuff now, but now it's generally more in the talking and being supportive realm, since I can sew and cook and fix things if I break them... and since she lives in another state, we're mostly limited to talking.  But my parents did send JD and me an Easter basket of delicious candy this year, so some small and awesome things are still done even from out of state!  :-)

And, in a coincidence of good timing, I get to see both my parents on Tuesday :-)