Reality Check: Not Having Sex (And Why That’s Okay)
As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safe, respectful, equitable behaviour in kink, in relationships, and in the world generally.
You don’t have to have sex.
And no one’s entitled to judge you if you don’t.
I don’t mean in the sense of “you don’t have to consent to sex” – although you absolutely don’t, and I’ve written about that before.
And I’m not talking about chastity – the pressure to *not* have sex is just as toxic as the pressure to screw for the sake of screwing.
I mean you don’t have to *have* sex. Ever.
Haven’t had sex by the time you’re 20? That’s fine.
Haven’t had sex by the time you’re 30? That’s fine.
Live a rich, full life and die at the age of 130, never having had sex? That’s fine.
You want to have sex, but you haven’t yet?
That sucks, and I’ll get round to talking about how to deal with that in a future post, but it doesn’t reflect on *you*. You don’t need to feel embarrassed about that. There’s no “right time” beyond whenever you happen to have the opportunity with a safe, consenting, positive person and feel like it’s something you very much want to do.
Real talk – a lot of people who have sex at young ages wish they hadn’t. That’s for a range of reasons, including that sex with someone underage is illegal and very likely to be abusive. Minors can’t consent. If you’re thinking that there’s an exception here, or a situation where it shouldn’t have happened but it worked out okay, I have a full essay for you in the future about why you’re wrong. Don’t flirt with minors, don’t do kink with minors, don’t groom minors, don’t invite minors into sexualised spaces, don’t fuck minors. They’re 100% entitled to make their own decisions about their sexuality, and as an adult you’re 100% obliged to say, “Okay, but not with me.”
Do NOT feel pressured to have sex just because “it’s time”. Do NOT feel like there’s an obligation to “lose your virginity”, ever. Do NOT feel like you’re less of a complete human, or naive or uninformed, just because you haven’t had sex. (Okay, you might be uninformed about what having sex is like, but hey, I’m uninformed about quantum physics or what working as a professional long-haul truck driver is like, and I’m not losing sleep over it. I don’t express opinions on those topics, and I don’t expect anyone to give me shit about not being an expert.)
You are not less of a man / less of a woman / less of a human because you haven’t had sex. Your gender and your role in society are not dependent upon having screwed someone.
Sex when you’re not into it is shitty sex.
Sex that you’re obligated to have is shitty sex.
Sex that you’re doing as a favour to someone is (usually) shitty sex, unless you’re under literally zero obligation to do so and you really enjoy giving them pleasure.
Sex where you don’t feel in control is shitty sex (yes, yes, I know that’s a lot of people’s kink, but it’s better if you’ve made the enthusiastic positive choice to give up that control).
No one needs to have shitty sex. Do it when you’re ready and when you want to, and there’s no time limit on when that needs to be. And if the opportunity doesn’t happen to even give you that choice in the first place – hey, that sucks, but it doesn’t reflect on you.
You’re not sure you actually want sex, at all?
Or at least not the way people assume?
That’s fine. That’s a thing. It’s maybe more of a thing than you think.
You may have heard the terms “asexual” and “aromantic”, meaning, respectively:
- a person who is simply not interested in sex (but who may want romance, intimacy and/or cuddles; and
- a person who may absolutely want sexual contact, but is uninterested in emotional intimacy or romantic relationships.
But what doesn’t get talked about so much is that those are convenient labels for some points on a pretty diverse spectrum.
Here are some other things that are real things, that are valid and okay:
- I fantasise about sex, but I don’t want to actually do it.
- I masturbate, but don’t want sex with other people.
- I want kinky sex play or D/s, but I don’t want my genitals involved.
- I get off from pain and sensation, but not from intercourse.
- I want to talk about sex with people, but not do it.
- I want to watch, but not take part.
- I have times when I want sex, and other times when i don’t.
- The only kinds of sex that turn me on are physically impossible and/or illegal and unethical, so I guess I won’t have sex.
- I don’t want sex with the same person I have romance and emotional intimacy with.
- I previously felt like I had a certain identity around sexuality, and expressed that to people, but now I feel like I want something different.
Do not let anyone else tell you what you must want or not want around sex. Don’t feel the need to fit into a box, or feel like you need to have some interests or behaviours just because of your gender or other aspects of your sexuality. Labels are handy to help similar people find each other, but they’re not supposed to trap you into a role that you don’t really identify with.
And while we’re here, YES, you can absolutely be hetero, gay, lesbian, bi or anything else – and KNOW that you are – without ever having actually had sex, or for that matter even wanting to have physical sex. You don’t have to “give it a try” or “sample what’s on offer”. You fantasise about what you fantasise about, and you don’t need to second-guess that for anyone.
And on the idea of “virginity”…
I sometimes use the idea of virginity in my stories, because we have a LOT of cultural baggage around it, and cultural baggage is inevitably where kink grows from. The idea of the sudden irreversible transition from “pure, untainted idol” into “forever sullied whore” is powerful – and often, in fantasies, sexy.
But look, it’s bullshit, okay?
First of all, there’s no magical line between “virgin” and “non-virgin”. When is the point where we cross that line? The first time we have vaginal intercourse? How does that make sense?
Girls have often had a lot of things in their vagina long before they first have sex – fingers, speculums, assorted household objects while experimenting with their sexuality. (Yes, girls, a lot of women – most? – have shoved something weird up their pussies when they were young, maybe many things, many times. It’s a natural part of experimenting with your body, it doesn’t make you dirty or disgusting, and the appropriate response to telling that story to somebody would be to have a shared, positive laugh about how weird humans are. Tell anyone who shames you to get fucked.)
Hymens break from all kinds of things – horse riding, bicycle riding, gymnastics, medical procedures, the aforementioned experimentation. The only magic in an intact hymen is a certain bafflement that it didn’t get busted long ago from the realities of daily life.
As for guys – again, long before sex, most guys have masturbated, orgasmed, ejaculated. We’ve tried sticking our cocks in things – the urge to see what it feels like to *fuck* something is strong.
And we’ve all seen pornography – increasingly girls as well as boys these days. (I mean, if you’re reading this, I *know* you’ve seen pornography, but if you somehow hadn’t, that’s not anything to be embarrassed about either.)
Do you lose your virginity the first time you see another person naked? When you touch them? Make out with them? Masturbate them? From oral sex? From anal sex? What if you don’t cum? What if you do something kink but there’s no genitals involved?
Virginity is a bullshit concept, and I urge you to not buy into it except to the extent that it’s hot for you in erotica or roleplay. You don’t have it to start with, you don’t need to lose it, you’re not dirty when you do, and your worth as a human and as a sexual or romantic partner is not increased or decreased by reference to whether you’ve had sex before.
Keep enjoying erotica responsibly!
Our kinks should not be our politics, and what happens in fantasies isn’t a guide to how to behave in real life.
If you have questions, or topics you’d like me to address in a future Reality Check, please don’t hesitate to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– All These Roadworks