The Last Virgin

I’m going to die a virgin.

Possibly.  If I died tomorrow.  Or maybe a couple days from now.  Well, very likely if I died in the near (and seemingly distant) future, I would die a virgin.

It might not sound completely horrible, probably because you’ve already had sex and are past this awkward stage in your life.  But take it from me, it’s always the last virgin in the village who gets thrown into the volcano or is fed to the dragon to save the human race.  And honestly, being an old virgin is only funny for Steve Carell.

I can’t imagine this would be as big of an issue if I were living in a Muslim country, surrounded by other 30-something Muslim virgins, safeguarding the preciousness of their nether regions like a wholesome PBS children’s show.  We would all frolic through windswept blades of wheat as we celebrated our celibacy with a good ol’ fashioned hi-five.  Life would be sweet.

But alas, I live in the heart of Southern California, land of gorgeous bikini-clad beach goers and aspiring models/actors who ooze sex while serving me Chai teas at Starbucks.  I’m surrounded by beautiful people who flaunt their previous night’s sex-capades during coffee breaks and make elbow-nudging “that’s what she said” jokes.  And while I’ve watched enough HBO to get it, I still feel a little left out of the club.

My parents did very little to prepare me for this reality.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them for instilling strong Muslim values in me, for teaching me how to pray and read the Qur’an, for taking me to the Masjid on a weekly basis and letting me stay up late during Ramadan.  They were always supportive of me and allowed me to develop my own personality, regardless of how much they wanted to cringe at my new piercings or dyed hair, or when I decided to be in a punk band, or when I quit my stable job to become an artist.

Maybe it was the guilt of disappointing my stringently religious parents or the acute awareness of what it meant for me to be Muslim, but I was always afraid of breaking the cardinal rule to safeguard my lady parts until marriage.

It was unpopular, but still understandable in high school. It was the 90s, and while all the cool kids at school were getting it on, all the cool kids on TV were still preaching abstinence.  Thank you Donna Martin . . . although even the good Catholic girl ended up losing her virginity to David Silver by the seventh season of Beverly Hills 90210.

In college, my belief of waiting until marriage was seen as endearing, which was probably just a nice way of boys telling me they thought it was great that I was waiting, but that’s certainly not going to stop them from hooking up with sexy co-eds.

By the time I hit the professional world, it was just assumed that a girl like me would have done all types of things that “normal” American girls have done.  I avoid the uncomfortable water cooler conversations about my sex life by saying that I don’t currently (read: never) have a boyfriend.  Folks seem to be a bit more understanding, and even empathetic of my lack of a sex life when they realize my lack of a love life.  And when friends tell me I’m placing too much emphasis on sex itself and that my first time is going to be painful and horrible, so I should just get it over with – I’m not really sure if their arguments are convincing or just frightening me into waiting longer.

I haven’t had the best luck with guys.  The ones that I gravitate towards are either gay or non-Muslim; I’m probably drawn to them because part of me knows nothing can come of it.  And unfortunately, the Muslim boys in my area are . . . well, not exactly what I’m looking for.  Some are pretty hung up about marrying within their own race, and being a mutt myself, I don’t quite fit into any specific ethnic group; some immediately reject me because I don’t wear hijab; some are convinced I’m past my baby making prime; and some are just so far removed from the deen that I have a hard time finding common ground to build a meaningful relationship on.

I’m not looking for anything extraordinarily special in finding the one who will marry and deflower me – just a nice Muslim guy who prays and is creative and open-minded, someone who lives a humble, financially self-sufficient life, who shares the same political and social views as me, someone I can grow old with and never tire of.  And maybe, just maybe, someone who I’m physically attracted to.  Is that too much to ask?

I’ve recently been forced to accept that there’s a larger game plan at play here, that God and the universe have a divine design for my life.  Life is much more easier if you relinquish control to the universe and just go with the flow.  And I’m sure (or at the very least, I hope) my time will come, and when it does, expect a redeeming story from me about whether or not it was worth it to wait.

Until then, I’ll just continue to dodge the pathetic possibility of dying a virgin.

The writer is an artist living in Southern California.

8 Comments on “The Last Virgin”

  1. a says:

    thanks for your honesty. you are surely not alone. i have a BF and am in the same boat. how you treat your body is your business. do what you feel comfortable doing. you would surprised at how much the chatter about this issue is pure lies. seriously! nobody is that interesting, LOL.
    Courage, my dear!!

  2. Kambiri says:

    I am Catholic and like you I waited. It was not easy as our society sees sex as a natural part of growing up, and especially not if you were considered ‘cool.’ I was popular and dated and broke up with many boys in college because sex was not part of the deal. I am glad I managed to hold on until marriage. What you do with your body is nobody else’s business but yours and God’s. Well done on holding out

  3. bintalshamsa says:

    I was a virgin all the way through high school. By the time I graduated, there was only one other girl in my circle of friends who was also a virgin. I was pretty proud of my stance, but it was hard losing boyfriends and potential boyfriends, because I wasn’t willing to have sex. I’m glad that I had that experience. It taught me how to be happy and how to love without sex. Now that I’m married, I am really thankful for that. My husband and I are both disabled and we haven’t had sex in several years. Yet, we’re still going strong.

    Being celibate and in my 30’s is mostly difficult, not because of physical urges or anything like that, but because of the way that people react or treat me when/if they find out. I wonder if it is similar to how they treat you. If it is the same or worse, my heart really goes out to you. I don’t think you’re looking for advice or anything and I wouldn’t have any to give if you were. However, I am really thankful that you shared this perspective, because it’s one that’s not given enough consideration in this country.

  4. Knox says:

    Brilliant – loving and feeling all of this. I could actually have written it… wait a minute… oh no, I don’t live in California. The paragraph that started ‘I’ve not had the best of luck with boys.’ made me choke with laughter – or perhaps tears, I can’t tell. Please blog more here, or let us know where we can find other stuff you write.

  5. Chinyere says:

    Ding ding ding ding ding! Sis, you are singing my life with your words. I soooo identify with this. Thank you for sharing…!

  6. gracepamer12 says:

    I do hope you find what you’re looking for soon. It’s difficult to think back to the pressure related to virginity now for me. I just hope its not an impasse to hopefully finding the love of your life.

    Best wishes

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  8. Kawthar says:


    I know so many people going through the same thing (myself included..sort of). I wish I had something profound or extremely intelligent to say but all I can offer is some solidarity sis. I don’t know very much about life and its wonders but…I do have trust that in the end…Allah takes care of us all. ❤