'I'm a 23-year-old virgin. Here are 5 things I want you to know.'

Like many Millennials and Gen Zs in lockdown, I am savouring the sugary nostalgia hit that is the Gossip Girl reboot

Amidst a series of concerning questions I have had while watching the hyperreal teen series, I had one pressing qualm.

Just how do these 17-year-olds get down and dirty faster than one of the casting directors can find a realistic-looking teenager? 

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I grew up with the Pussycat Dolls, Angelina and Brad frolicking about in Mr & Mrs Smith, and the toned and tanned Home and Away stars jumping from fling to fling. 

Suffice to say, my perception of sex is warped. 

Somewhere between thinking I needed a six-pack and the biggest junk in the trunk to be good in bed, I decided not to participate in the discussion about sex. As the Boomers would say, I closed my legs.

I prioritised my career. 

I chose to spend my time with my friends and family. 

While recovering from an eating disorder, I set time aside to love myself. I missed the memo about becoming sexually active and have become extremely picky about the suitors I engage with. 

So what does this all mean? Yes, at the age of 23, I am a virgin. 

While (successfully, it seems) campaigning for a “single bubble” for us lonely hearts in the NSW lockdown journalist Melanie Tait said that being starved of human contact is “switching off an energy source we all need to survive”.

Listen to Mamamia's podcast, Sealed Section, where host Chantelle Otten answers all the questions you're too afraid. Post continues below.


As someone that has been both single and sexually inactive for my entire life, it now seems like those who get or have gotten some are being given a taste of what us virgins have been feeling all along. 

A twisted concoction of loneliness and subdued fear when seeking out would-be partners.

Does my virginity make me a freak? I choose to think not. 

While no doubt wildly out of date, The Australian Study of Health and Relationships 2004 study found that the median age for first vaginal intercourse was 17. 

Maybe Gossip Girl isn’t as outlandish as I thought! 

But what say me, a sterile outlier on behalf of the other outliers out there? While we might not be the norm of teen and twenties hook ups and escapades, we are in fact everyday Janes and Joes living amongst you. 

Here’s what we want you to know. 

Let’s talk about it

I am the first to admit that I have lied about one-night stands and going all the way. 

I have lied to boost my ego, to ensure that a story reaches its climax (intended pun) and to make me seem more relatable.

I regret not owning my story. But we have to look at why people like me tell the porkies.

In Australia and the West we fetishise sex. We want to know about the finer details of getting it on.

So what can we do? We can normalise not doing it. We can get talking and recognise that not everyone has a linear sexual experience. Heck, some people even have god awful ones. 

We aren’t all waiting for 'The One'

As a bisexual man living in Sydney, my life isn’t exactly the plumest picking for a religious denomination.

Like me there are many virgins who don’t subscribe to a religion that requires devotees to wait for 'The One' to jump in the sack. Some of us don’t need the help of a historic text telling us what to do. 

We don’t want to hear that it 'isn’t that great'

The one thing that a virgin doesn’t want to hear from a friend is that sex, well, just isn’t that great. 

Some friends go as far as condemning sex with their virgin mates. 

We can see through the lie. It’s kind of like a British Royal telling someone living paycheck to paycheck to practice gratitude and savour a diet of tuna and rice. 


The longer the clock ticks, the more monumental the occasion seems. So dismissing our nerves and angst as all for nothing can be a bit of a slap in the face. 

We can be sexually active

I have my moments of prudishness. 

My parents used to say that I was a 70-year-old before I was 13. 

Not actively seeking out sex, doesn’t mean that I am walking around with my nose turned up at those who find themselves in sexual situations often. 

Like you, I have desires about sex. And just like you, I can be sexually active in other ways. It isn’t new news that you don't need a partner to get down to business.  

We aren’t all sad and lonely

Telling people that I am, as of writing this, a virgin is met with a cavalcade of responses. 

Shock (not that I am tooting my own horn), humour and in the worst cases, pity. 

Worse than being seen as an alien, is being perceived as a sad and lonely alien. Yet from my experience, sex is in no way a Golden Ticket to the theme park of happiness. While we may lack the sex tool in our happiness toolkit, we can make up for it in other ways. I choose to believe that sex is as much of a virtue as good food, daily exercise and friendship. 

Is my virginity still a pressure point for my feelings of self worth? Indeed, it is. For me desperation has led from anxiety to self-pity and moments of self-hatred. Maybe I am not the right man for anyone? Maybe I will never be loved? As more friends pair off, marry and ponder their partnered futures, society tells me I should fear that I am condemning myself to a life as sexless, hapless and single.

Will I lose my virginity? I have no doubt that one day I will. Am I in a rush? I can, finally, say no. 

While the horny teens in Gossip Girl are caught in a 100m sprint to go all the way, I choose to turn to the wiser words of the ladies of Manhattan for my virgin wisdom. 

In spite of the premise, Sex and The City remind us that while sex MIGHT be a key to happiness, it can also be as underwhelming as an average Cosmo at a sleazy bar. 

Carrie and co remind us that while sex can be the dopamine hit we need, relationships and self-love are a marathon. 

Maybe you don’t need to have it all by 17?

Feature Image: Supplied.