After getting sent home early spring semester, Wellesley students seemed desperate to continue to connect with each other. One way this manifested was a flurry of various Wellesley-themed Instagram accounts. From Wellesley Crushes to Letters from Wellesley College, you can find a Wellesley Instagram account for you. But one new account is not nearly as harmless as it seems.
Wellesley College Virgins is an account featuring posts like “We at WCV respect virgins of all walks of life — it’s okay to be gay — it’s never okay to engage in sexual activity” [sic] and “everyone who has sex, even after marriage, is a wh*re. Especially people who have sex after marriage. I CANNOT and WILL NOT support this devilish behavior. Virgin rights.”
Obviously, Wellesley College Virgins is making fun of a specific type of person: someone who thinks they are better than everyone else because they are a virgin, or someone who is obsessed with abstinence. But lumping that specific person in with every single virgin on campus is damaging because it ignores the fact that there are a variety of reasons that your peers may be virgins.
The most recent post, six days ago as of writing this, has an image that says, “This has been a social experiment on behalf of Wellesley College Whores. Have sex cowards.” With a caption reading, “The goal of exposing all the massive nerds on campus was successful. #virginssuck #havesexnerds.”
How about I tell you about the rock I get in the pit of my stomach when I read those posts? The actual increase in heart rate I experience due to my anger? The dread that I feel from reading the implications that I am weird or wrong or do not belong at Wellesley simply because I have never had sex?
I have no problem telling you that I am a virgin. Not because I am some big believer in abstinence or anything, but because anyone who knows me well knows that I have never so much as been on a date.
And you know what? I’m actually pretty insecure about that.
In our society, we have certain expectations about the timeline everyone experiences in dating and sex. Start dating and have sex for the first time in high school. Date lots of people and have lots of sex in college. Date around more seriously in your twenties before getting married by thirty. The thing is, these expectations are firmly rooted in heteronormative and patriarchal values of dating, with traditional straight couples expected to marry young so that women have time to have lots of babies. It is those same expectations that say that women have to get married and cannot have fulfilling lives by themselves.
The truth is, there are lots of people who are over eighteen and have never had sex. It is totally okay to be one of those people!
But between the media and your classmates, you begin to feel like an outlier for never dating. And you might even begin to feel like there is something wrong with you. You are unattractive. You are unlovable. Personally, even though I am generally happy with the way I look, I also feel that I am just not someone people are attracted to. When the societal expectations say that you should be having sex and dating, not doing those things, or not even having anyone express their interest, makes me believe that I simply am not desirable as a romantic partner.
By making fun of virgins, you are playing into society’s patriarchal norms of dating. Furthermore, you play into the heteronormative expectations of our society by ignoring those grappling with their sexuality. Being queer often leads to not dating until later in life, some because they literally do not know they are not cishet, and others because they are struggling with internalized homophobia. Not to mention it alienates everyone who identifies as asexual.
By attaching the phrase “virgins” to this account you are shaming your sibs who — for whatever reason — have chosen not to have sex. And judging someone for their choice not to have sex is just as bad as judging someone for their choice to have it.
People often seem worried that I am going to judge them for being sexually active. I never do. Meanwhile, those same people seem to have no problem judging me for choosing not to be. Somehow, we have normalized judging others’ sexual choices, when in reality, the choice to have sex is an intimate one made between those engaging in it. People can can have sex without dating! People can date without having sex! The final outcome is irrelevant. The choice whether or not to have sex is personal and private, and does not deserve judgement by anyone.
The “joke” of the Wellesley College Virgins account is supposedly targeting those who judge others’ sexual decisions, but by attaching the term “virgins” to it, it explicitly makes fun of others for their sexual decisions. It is outright hypocritical, and incredibly harmful.
And for all my other college virgins out there who are feeling insecure: I am with you. Sex does not define who you are as a person, and you should never do something you are not ready for just because you feel society says you have to. You are beautiful and you are lovable — so please do not let this account bring you down.