I read this piece on the 35-year-old virgin with some bemusement. I then read (some of) the comments with amusement.
As for many readers, the column was a time machine back to my teenage self, when my friends and I would gossip about who had and who had not “done it.” When virginity seemed like not just a dividing line but a chasm, when we envisioned that the world was split between those with a scarlet A and an equally lurid V.
I haven’t thought about that for years, not just because most everyone I know has “done it” at some point, but because I grew up. Maturing meant that I came to put sex in perspective: It’s a precious thing, to be sure, but not the ne plus ultra. I’ve had sex with people I cared about, slept with people I’d be fine with never seeing again, never consummated deep, passionate connections. As one commenter noted, I’ve come to realise that “great relationships don’t always guarantee great sex, and great sex doesn’t always guarantee great relationships.” I’ve never left someone because of bad sex, but never stayed for good sex, either. I’ve been with Cassanovas with many-notched headboards and guys who’d only been with one or two women, and I feel comfortable in saying that chemistry and care trump experience. And I can’t remember the last time anyone asked me to tally up past partners.
The only person who sees the author as carrying around that scarlet V, I imagine, is her.