Picture this.

The woman who is a career junky that spends her days obsessing over her job then drives to her one-bedroom apartment and reads a book accompanied by her 17 cats, wishing she could meet a man. Or the awkward and nervous woman who prefers to stay in and binge-watch Netflix series instead of going to the bars. Those are the women that are imagined to be the virgins in their 20's. Or, they must be in some sort of religious cult, spending every minute of the day singing church songs and hearing from the pastor that they will burn in eternal hell if they give it up before marriage. But why does there have to be some kind of explanation to be a virgin that's older than 18? Why must there be a reasoning so that people can understand that you have just decided to walk a different path than most? 

I'm a 23-year-old bar hopping, adventuring, and boy loving woman who is still a virgin. It wasn't a decision that I made. It wasn't a vow I made to myself that I would hold out. It's just the way that my cards have been dealt. I don't think I've ever been in love, and I didn't feel like I wanted to give it to a man that I didn't have real feelings for. If you're anything like me, you're tired of feeling like you must give an explanation.

Being unlike most women at my age, when it comes to sexual relationships, I admit that I'm not super vocal when it comes to the conversation of hook-ups and one night stands with the hot guy from the bar. But let's be clear, if I didn’t tell anyone that I was a virgin, most would have no idea. When I do someone the response is always a wide-eyed and open-mouthed gasped along with, “Are you serious? I would have never thought you were a virgin.” I and other virgins my age have men that we could take to our rooms whenever we wanted. We’re not struggling to find men that are interested in us, it's just not for the reasons that we are looking for, and the waiting hasn’t been so much as a choice, but a wait for the right guy.  

Growing up, I was the ugly duckling, or so I thought. I let my insecurities stop me from pursuing a lot of great guys because I couldn't believe that they were interested in me, so I pushed them away. So I graduated high school a virgin. Not too bad though, there were many in my shoes then.

Then I went to college. At that point I was older, I was growing into my face and body and felt better about myself, and men took notice of my newfound confidence. Many were interested in me, made comments, shot their shot, but college is where everyone wants a short term relationship "with benefits"- without the commitment. Being inexperienced and wanting more than a hook-up, I was scared; to give it to someone who just wanted sex but not me? And I felt too old to still have my v-card, deterring me to tell any guy I was talking to of my status. I only let my relationships progress to a certain point before shewing them away. Either way, I still never fell for anyone and went to another graduation remaining a virgin.

I went through the crisis of, "What's wrong with me?" "Why hasn't it happened for me yet and what am I doing wrong?" I'm 23 and I'm still in the same position. But, I’ve always been laser focused on being a successful woman and have made most of my worries about my passions and not a guy. I graduated a student-athlete with a Bachelor in Communications and now I'm pursuing my master’s degree in journalism. I’ve invested time in myself, how I want to make an impact in this life and enjoying the moments with friends. I don’t regret the choices I’ve made, and though I can feel alone at times, I know that eventually, my time will come. And so will yours.

There are still many women with a similar story to mine that are just keeping quiet, afraid of what people may think or assume about them, and feel like a social leper for being an older virgin. But, I'm hoping that reading this will help any woman like myself that may feel embarrassed or ashamed to embrace the title of the grown and sexy virgin. I'm here to tell you (and myself) to own it girl! You are on a different path, and that's okay. It will happen when the time is right, and as long as we go through this life with an open heart, an open mind, and a happiness within ourselves, love will come and you can give it to someone without regret.