Remember Janet Jackson’s 1986 hit, “Let’s Wait Awhile”? At the time I was too young to know what she was singing about, but I was astute enough to appreciate how it sounded.

Back then, Jackson crooned about wanting to wait to get it on with her lover (and get it on she would) because she wasn’t quite ready to take their relationship to the next level. While the smooth ballad gave hope (and courage) to millions of girls everywhere who were looking for just the right words to keep their boyfriend’s hands at bay, these days, Jackson’s sentiments seem about as ancient as her teased-to-death ’80s hairdo.

Waiting to have sex has officially gone out of style. Although it was once quite common for folks to remain sexually inexperienced until they reached their 20s, today, you’re looked at like a Martian if you’ve held on to your goodies past your 19th birthday.

Recently I saw a commercial for TLC’s show “34-Year-Old Virgin.” As you might imagine, the guy on the show looks like your typical grown virgin—awkward, not conventionally attractive, and like an extra from “Revenge of the Nerds.”

Whenever grown virgins are shown onscreen more often than not they look like they are 34-year-old virgins for a reason: They aren’t attractive. But why is that? With so many religious folks in the world, and just some who want to wait to give up the goods until they meet the right partner, there must be some “normal” looking, attractive virgins out there.

Perhaps that’s why track star Lolo Jones is so important. The 29-year-old hurdler has been very open about her goal of waiting until she’s married to have sex. Unlike the socially awkward virgins we normally see, Jones is a beautiful woman who, I’m sure, has had her fair share of offers.

Although our society once valued this level of commitment, today Jones says she’s often made fun of because of her choice to save herself for her future husband.

“It was cute when I was 22, 24…. [At] 24 to 29 it’s not cute,” she told Bryant Gumble. “You get judged a lot, a lot of guys won’t return your calls after they find out.”

The other day, someone I follow on Twitter was discussing sex and asked if people were still getting into relationships with folks they’d never seen naked. While she admonished them for doing so, I wondered if our openness to quickly add physical intimacy to the getting to know you phase is partly to blame for much of our inability to connect with each other in a meaningful way.

What do you think? What happened to waiting to getting it on? Has refusing to wait been a good or a bad thing? 

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  • tee

    I agree wih onegirl. i was a virgin until age 25 and i don’t regret waiting at all but you have to be open snd approachable to the opposite sex. all of onegirl’s suggestions are great. also, have you thought about some of the good, paid dating sites like eharmony or match? i know several people on match who have gotten plenty of dates and love it.I agree wih onegirl. i was a virgin until age 25 and i don’t regret it at all but you have to be open snd approachable to the opposite sex. all of onegirl’s suggestions are great. also, have you thought about some of the good, paid dating sites like eharmony or match? i know several people on match who have gotten plenty of dates and love it.

  • You know what’s less cute than being a 29 yo virgin? Herpes.

  • I am always amazed by the lack of context that people take when they seek to address these types of issues, especially when folks attempt to arbitrate 21st century modes of behavior by ancient rules. I am certain most can understand that if your daughter is at a marriageable age by say 13 or 14 then a request that she be a virgin is not considered onerous even by today’s “liberal” standards. However since most women are not getting married when they should be in junior high then that whole virginity takes on a whole different meaning.
    As a matter of fact in biblical times, a woman in her 20’s and not married was probably considered an oddity and probably barren. Plus even if you wish to research sexuality in most recent times, your grand mothers or even great grand mothers and their mothers were getting it on long before they got married. They just did not go around letting it be known and if you were unlucky enough to get pregnant the marriage was coerced or the pregnant youngster shipped away to live with an aunt.
    All these public virgins you see now, celebrated for their “virtue” and generally attention whores. The public does not need to know if you having sex with 0 or 100 people. So I while I would not recommend young people seek to pursue a promiscuous lifestyle, I also think they should not pursue a life that holds sexual virginity as some evidence of having virtue. In our social world, sex is a currency of the dating life for the majority; if that is not you then you can opt out. Just do not go around complaining about it, make your choice and stick to it, we live on a pretty populous planet there are no doubt folks who share your POV. Once you opt out you don’t get to complain about not participating.

  • E.M.S.

    I believe we should neither discourage sex before marriage nor encourage abstinence on a wide scale because readiness and opinions vary from person to person. There is no one blanket answer. What we should be doing is offering the right kind of information for people to make their own informed decisions on when to have sex.

    It is incredibly unfair to look down on both someone who chooses to wait AND someone who chooses not to. BOTH deserve to be respected and free from judgement because quite frankly, if it’s not your body, it’s not your business. Make YOUR decision for YOUR body, and stop worrying about everybody else (unless you are a parent/guardian of someone under 18).