I was twenty-nine, single again after a five-year marriage, and a virgin. When I met my now ex-husband Mike, I had just turned 21. We met at small Catholic liberal arts college, and even though I no longer believed in Jesus, the Saints, the Bible, God, really any of that. I was a virgin then, and I was a virgin when we divorced.
When I was younger, I'd wanted to stay pure, and had managed to protect my virginity despite all the high school guys I'd went out with, and the ten or so guys I'd dated in college before going out with Mike. My policy was to wear a Virgin Mary pendant on dates, just to be sure that the guy knew I was waiting. Granted, I still almost lost it in the front seat of David Horowitz's car the summer before junior year of high school. I almost gave it up for him, and I let him put his hand down my pants, but I had to draw the line. I certainly wasn't going to do it with some guy who was going away to college in a few weeks, and I wasn't going to lose it in his dad's beat up Ford Escort. That wasn't how I imagined it at all.
Every guy I went out with wanted to sleep with me by the third date, and every one of them lost interest when I wanted to wait. I just hoped to be in love first, but clearly that wasn't fast enough. Love and sex, I thought. Is that so much to ask for? Give advice: How do I tell him I'm waiting for marriage?
By the time I met Mike, I was starting to wonder if date three might be good enough, even for me. But after our third date, he told me that he wanted to wait until we got married. I couldn't have been more shocked, but as I got to know him, it made sense. Mike was good. He was Christian, I mean a real Christian: the kind that goes to mass every Sunday, the kind that fears God, the Little House on the Prairie kind. Plus, he was a supportive friend, so much kinder than anyone I'd ever known. He volunteered at homeless shelters and sang in the Church choir. He read all the right books, led several community groups and wanted to teach less fortunate children.
We got along great, but sometimes, we would be alone, and, naturally, I wanted to make out. I wanted a repeat of what happened with David Horowitz in the Ford, only I wanted it with a good guy, someone who loved me. But making out with Mike always felt so mechanical. Though I wasn't that experienced, the other guys I'd been with usually got me so excited, so lost in the moment that all that stood between me and his penis inside of me was that Virgin Mary pendant. None of that ever happened with Mike. I was always able to concentrate, think clearly and keep my cool. It was so refreshing not to be the teary, hysterical mess I was with the other guys that I thought, maybe this friendship is better than sex. And how would I know? I had never had it.
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