The Hook Up: Flipping the Switch
At a check up over break, my doctor asked me if I was sexually active.
I take pride in my ability to be bluntly honest about my sexuality. I’ve honestly reached the level where I can talk to my mother about getting tested for gonorrhea. So, my pause wasn’t that of a blushing high schooler. Instead, it was born out of confusion.
Losing one’s virginity (especially in the traditional penis-in-vagina sense) is often built up to a moment akin to flipping a switch from “sexually inactive/virgin” to “sexually active/open for business.” Similarly, many see having sex with someone of the same gender as the process of transforming an experimenting college kid into certified queer.
Of course, few walk out of the bedroom the next morning as completely new individuals. However, the conception remains that the first time having sex is, for some reason, the most important and serves as a gateway to all the sex you’ll be having in the future. In the doctors office, I found myself wondering that if losing one’s virginity is a switch from “off” to “on,” it’s more like one of those switches in the stacks that automatically turn off again after half an hour.
The supposed mythical journey from virgin into sexually active individual is a well-trodden path in sex education and discussion. But what about the journey back — if it exists? I don’t think the pilgrimage back to sexual inactivity is an uncommon one.
However, each dry spell is a unique little snowflake of not getting laid. The most obvious and purposeful is becoming a “born-again virgin,” a term often used in a religious context. For many, being “inactive” is less of a clean slate and more of grains of sand sifting through an hourglass. So yes, I am talking about dry spells.
At the same time, dry spells indicate a certain number of foiled attempts. Out of a relationship, and not in a hurry to be in a new one, a week without getting some can easily stretch into months. Some people want sex, but only with specific individuals who are out of reach. Sometimes priorities shift. Maybe passing classes is a greater concern than finding someone to seduce for the time being. For some, other things can always take precedence over sex, as around one out of 100 people are asexual. Priorities can shift too in style, from penetrative to oral sex, causing awkward pauses when calculating sexual activity and virginity. If I’m only hooking up with other girls and define sex as penetration with a dick, am I reclaiming my virginity? Others get jaded by the “hook-up culture” and masturbate a lot. Or, they get jaded by the “hook-up culture” and don’t masturbate at all. If someone hasn’t had sex in five months, are they still sexually active? A year? Three years?
So what’s the point? Basically, if “losing one’s virginity” is supposed to be the entrance into a new realm of sexual discovery, then “finding one’s sexual inactivity” should be as well. Neither expression encapsulates the diversity that exists in sexuality and sexual activity. However, consideration of both can inspire us to look at the choices we have made, and can remind us of what the future can hold. Those who are regularly sexing it up, however you define sex, and those who are contentedly celibate for the time being, keep in mind that you never know when you may find yourself flipping the switch in the other direction.