1. No one will believe you if you tell them that it isn’t for religious reasons. (Even though it’s fine if it is for religious reasons.) This generation is not capable of understanding, despite what they say, that “just not wanting to have sex until marriage” is an option for otherwise not-particularly-religious people.
2. Often, it’s the people who talk the most about how they are “sex positive” who will give you the most crap for choosing to be a virgin, because they think it means there’s something wrong and non-modern about you. They think that you should be “liberated,” even if you already are.
3. Dating is not as hard as you would expect, but you have to be up-front about it from the beginning. Sometimes you meet someone you really like, and you’re so worried about scaring them off that you try to put off saying something, but you have to just get it out of the way. The sooner you find out if they’re compatible, the better.
4. Yes, everyone will try to “convert” you.
5. A lot of people have a hard time understanding that you don’t necessarily need someone who is also a virgin, as long as they’ve been tested. People like to assume that personal journeys need to involve someone else.
6. People will ask you if you’re asexual, or if you don’t like being physical with someone else, because they think that a woman who isn’t religious must be repulsed by sex to not want it before marriage.
7. No one believes that you watch porn.
8. Everyone will ask you really invasive questions about the other things you do that basically sound like you’re trying to trick God that you didn’t have “real” sex when you actually did.
9. A lot of guys will ask you if the butt counts.
10. (Yes, the butt counts.)
11. When you talk to people about the reasons you’re actually doing it — for your health and protection, because you want to connect to your partner in other ways, because you want to save it for one person, because you think the world is sex-obsessed enough as it is — none of your answers will be sufficient.
12. A lot of people you date won’t consider it a “real” relationship until you have sex, and even if they pretend to be okay with at first, they’ll eventually start pressuring you into “going all the way” because they don’t know how to accept a relationship that doesn’t have it.
13. Even if you are 100 percent cool about other people having sex, they will always think that you’re judging them.
14. A lot of self-defined feminists will get really in your face about this decision, because on some level they feel like you’re setting women back, or not using the gifts that the women’s movement won for us to have sex when and where we feel like it. They feel like you’re choosing to bow to the patriarchy because you don’t want to do one specific thing with your body.
15. They don’t see this as ironic or backwards.
16. Sometimes, in this world where everything is turned into something sexual and casual hookups have replaced a lot of real relationships, the most shocking thing you can do is not have sex. People are desensitized by nudity, and sex, and violence, and any combination of the three, but abstinence is something we don’t know how to deal with anymore.