[Two Pronged] Virginity and uncertainty
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
When I first read your letter, I was sad that I still did not know whether I was still a virgin or not.
But I knew what to look for. I have to find out what really happened that night, whether Jamey put his thing in me or not. But he said he would respect me. So I don’t think he did.
I hope I can find out sometime, so I will know what to tell my husband when he asks me.
But Sir, Ma’m, in the comment section when you answered my letter, Sir JP Briones said: “Of course you are! To know more about my opinion, you can send me a message."
Do you think he has another way to know if I am a virgin or not? I want to text him. What do you think po?
Thank you for your follow up email to our column, which can be found here.
It is understandable that you want clarity about what happened, or didn't happen, that night but some things are destined to remain unknown - and this looks like being one of them. So instead of torturing yourself over the issue, perhaps you should concentrate on analyzing why you are so anxious about telling your future, as yet unidentified, husband (let's call him Mr X).
For example, ask yourself first if you would be as worried about the missing hours if your virginity were not involved? If the answer is yes, then you have at least learned one lesson at a relatively early age – alcohol and a clear recollection of events do not always go hand and hand – and this can inform your future behavior. If the answer is no, then you need to analyze why you are so concerned over what to tell Mr X and decide if that concern is truly justified and if so, what you can do about it.
Last week we discussed some of the different reasons for our cultural interest in virginity and I suggested that in the absence of some religious belief the only rational concern must relate to the possibility of impregnation. I discard the purity or used goods explanation because a woman can be a virgin despite extensive experience of say oral or anal intercourse. Attaching virginity solely to the one sexual act that can result in pregnancy says it all.
So what to tell Mr X? Why not the truth? If you are to have a really good relationship with your future spouse, then one would hope that it includes honesty and not keeping secrets from each other. However, different couples do adopt different attitudes to past deeds and misdeeds e.g. some are keen to know 'everything' about their partner, others simply view the past as water under the bridge and no longer germane to their joint present and future.
I would suggest that you tell any prospective candidate to be Mr X what you know and don't know about that night since it, and of course many other aspects of your life, are what make you the person you are. If for some reason they are unhappy with this, you at least have a chance to consider whether their reservations have any validity before you actually begin to think that they might possibly be potential husband material. Call it a pre-qualification test! After all, who would want to marry someone who couldn't come to terms with part of who you are, something immutable?
As for contacting JP Briones, I think that you are making some risky assumptions here. Firstly, you think it is a man. Secondly, you think his motives are pure. Thirdly, 'his' opinion' could make a real difference. I can only think of three circumstances in which that could be the case: Briones is actually your school friend Jamey, Briones was also in the room that night or Briones has received some sort of divine revelation. Just remember that the first two circumstances would still not guarantee that you would find out the truth and that divine revelation is in short supply.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your email. I agree with everything Mr Baer wrote above except for one statement: “Attaching virginity solely to the one sexual act that can result in pregnancy says it all.” This is his excuse to “discard the purity or used goods explanation because a woman can be a virgin despite extensive experience of say oral or anal intercourse.”
I shall discuss this issue and Mr Baer’s faulty logic in a CN column because, while such discussion of the reasons, nuances, implications ofstatements about virginity is important – if only, in my opinion, to show why it is such a useless reality to base anything on – this column is meant to solely answer your concerns, which, admittedly, we sometimes presume are implicit ones suggested by your letter.
There are other people who like to bandy about statements like: “Virginity is a state of mind” or “Every time should be the first time.”
While I appreciate (and even agree with) the poetry behind such statements, I feel it would be patronizing to use figuratively poetic answers like the ones immediately above to your very earnest question about whether you are still a virgin or not.
This question is important to you, hence it is important FOR us to answer it as directly (and literally) as possible.
After that, I felt it would help to put into context the reasons most people – especially a man like your husband-to-be – attach to its significance and whether such reasons make sense or not. This I tried to do in our column last week.
Since Mr Baer has answered your concerns about Mr Briones, the last thing which might be considered important is the possibility you were sexually assaulted.
Since you do not remember what happened that night and it seems like Jamey will not tell you (since he refuses to even communicate with you at all) there is no real way of knowing whether you were sexually assaulted. There are no accompanying videos, no semen inside you or along your inner thigh etc etc. There is no way you can haul him off to court, for example, and get an accusation of sexual assault to prosper.
However, with your permission, I would like to be less literal and talk about assault in general, whether sexual, physical, or emotional.
In my opinion, what Jamey did was to assault you, whether he had sex with you or not. He assaulted your person by feigning friendship and good will. He assaulted your trust in him and your belief that he was an exception to your mother’s warning to the effect that “all men want just one thing and leave you once they get it.” He assaulted your sense of well-being.
Now is not the time to explore how big a contribution your behavior made to these assaults – or, indeed, if your behavior contributed at all. However if you are interested, please write to us again. We will be very happy to swim along with you in the oftentimes confusing and – sadly – sometimes treacherous waters of life, men and relationships.
All the best,
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.