The waiting game

The waiting game

By Danielle Capalbo

Yaritza Betancourt is an academically determined, socially bold and self assured woman, especially when confronting what she considers to be a serious contemporary “misconception”: that being sexy means having sex.

Her grounds for disagreement?

“I think I’m damn sexy,” said the middler theatre major. And she’s a virgin.

Maintaining one’s virginity over three years of college might seem an unappealing prospect for some. For others, it simply might not seem “possible,” Betancourt said. However she proves it is, and not for lack of opportunities.

“[They] present themselves all the time, even if you’re not looking,” Betancourt said.

Betancourt isn’t secluded or naive – she is a virgin because she wants to be.

Unashamed of her virginity, Betancourt publicized it by establishing Facebook group, “Still a Virgin … ‘ So Wat!!!”

Betancourt created the group in her sophomore year. During this time many of her roommates’ conversations revolved around sex, she said. While the constant sex talk did give Betancourt a lot to think about, she said it didn’t shake the foundations of her beliefs.

“I was questioning myself a lot,” Betancourt said. But she decided “being a virgin is not a burden.” Rather, it emerged in her life anew as a conviction to be embraced.

Motivated by her self-questioning and the realization that other virgins would likely experience similar self-doubt, Betancourt created “Still a Virgin.” She also declared its two requirements, “you have to be a virgin and not afraid to say it.”

Given Betancourt’s approach to virginity – unapologetic and confident – it’s easy to forget why anyone would be scared to admit their virginity. But Vinny Tejada, a junior accounting major, has an idea: the overwhelming tendency of media to glorify sex as the ultimate social achievement.

“With movies such as American Pie it makes it hard to be a virgin and cool,” said Tejada, a member of “Still a Virgin.”

The media is not alone in anti-virgin sentiment, either. Friends and family also create pressure to “get some,” said Tejada, who hears the phrase with disarming frequency. It “is way too common” in his life, he said.

Dayna King, a sophomore physical therapy major, is another virgin familiar with external pressures that portray abstinence as an unacceptable option.

“Sex is everywhere … the media exposes more than an intense desire to have sex, but it almost portrays it as necessary,” King said.

And as for pressure from peers?

“Girl talk no longer revolves around … should I do it, should I wait,” King said. “It is a given; everybody’s doing it.”

Everyone is doing it except, of course, the members of “Still a Virgin,” a handful of students who have eluded the act of sex and who also elude most stereotypes assigned to those who are happy to wait.

Three of the group’s five members are male, Tejada said he feels his peers are struck with particular disbelief regarding his virginity, because he is male.

“The fact that I am a virgin is especially odd or unbelievable to others,” Tejada said.

Juan Garcia, a freshman undecided major, said he feels his virginity is also unbelievable to others. Peers who aren’t virgins are “shocked when they find out.”

Another misconception about “college-aged virgins is that they are goodie-two-shoes,” said Betancourt, who disagrees with this generalization. “Some girls and guys that are still virgins are really outgoing.”

And virgins aren’t necessarily strangers to the hook-up Betancourt said. There are “people … that have random make-out sessions, but they don’t go all the way.” They honor their decisions to stay abstinent even in the context of scandalous and tempting situations, she said.

Betancourt said religious beliefs are also often assumed to be at the center of the decision to remain a virgin, but “a lot of virgins are not religious at all, they are just waiting for that special person.”

That’s Betancourt’s reasoning, though being raised Catholic did instill in her the initial desire to save herself until marriage.

“I would love to wait till marriage, having that first magical honeymoon night,” she said. “But if I find that special person, I will definitely think twice about losing my virginity.”

A combination of religious and personal values are at the root of Tejada’s decision as well, he said.

“For a long time, my reason to maintain my virginity was based on religion,” he said. “I am Roman Catholic.”

But as Tejada got older, his outlook on sex transformed, he said. Rather than veering from premarital sex to avoid sin, now he is just “trying to find the right person.”

Garcia said he isn’t holding out for the perfect partner, nor is he hung up on religious traditions.

“I have just never been that completely comfortable with my sexuality,” Garcia said, who recently made his homosexuality public. “I have not completely accepted my sexuality to the point where I am able to be intimate with another guy.”

While some consider sex to be an act of intense intimacy – an exercise in trust, confidence and openness – for others, it’s an experience they’re saving for the right moment. Others might be content to entrust their sexual fate in whatever, or they might just feel ready. And the virgins are passing judgment, Betancourt said.

“We don’t look down upon people that aren’t [virgins],” she said. “They’ve had the experience and I haven’t. That’s all there is to it.”

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