Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Lies of The 40 Year Old Virgin

Don't get me wrong. I love "The 40 Year Old Virgin," because I'm a sap. For those of you who don't know, the movie is about a man who is, well, a 40 year old virgin, and his dating escapades. He soon starts dating a woman in her forties. He doesn't tell the whole truth about his sexual history, initially, for fear of losing her, etc, though they agree to no sex anyway for 30 dates. Once he finally reveals his virginity, she is totally okay with it. No surprise, no shock, no running for the hills.

That's precious, gives me warm fuzzies and fills me with hope, briefly. The hope is brief because upon googling, "Would you date a virgin," the discussions by real people are discouraging to a 20-something virgin. At least here, here and here, a good number of people say "No." Often, the people who say "yes" are either under 23 years old or say "yes" because they want the glory of deflowering someone, like it's a sex merit badge. So the idea that a non-virgin (with kids) in her forties would be totally cool with dating a virgin seems unrealistic when a great deal of nonvirgins in their twenties and thirties wouldn't even bother.

One "no" answer that particularly struck me was when a man said he wouldn't want to be the one to take that woman's "innocence." It reminded me of the "Myths: Dreams, Fears and Idols" chapter of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. In that chapter, she discusses the myths men have created about women, how they make us seem like some otherworldly, incomprehensible beings. She goes on to discuss how these ideas about women have helped men keep us in a subordinate, "other" position. So on that forum, here was a man putting some lofty idea on a virgin's sexuality: "taking her innocence." By that statement, he made the virgin woman untouchable, too pure to be defiled, childish (and you know you can't have sex with children!)

True, we virgins might have strong convictions about maintaining virginity until marriage/a committed relationship, but we aren't goddesses! We're people, we're flawed. We also have a sexuality. Virgin does not necessarily equal "innocent." Sex is everywhere. We know about sex. We've taken sex ed.

I never required any man I date to be a virgin, but sometimes it looks like my chances of having a relationship with a nonvirgin are nonexistent. Sometimes I think I might as well make that a requirement.

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