"I used to have sex with almost every guy I dated just so he'd like me and ask me out again," 24 year old Karen told me, "but I was hurt so many times that I've given up sex.I'll wait for someone who loves me and consider he's the first!"
"Good for you," I told her.
I am getting more and more such calls from women and men of all ages choosing no sex!
No, sex is not dead in America. Promiscuity still prevails: statistics show the number of teen girls having sex with more than four partners more than doubled over the past two decades.
But a new wave of celibacy and virginity is increasingly in vogue!
Karen is an example of the new "second virgin":women who lost their virginity, but haven't had sex for some time (usually at least a year) and now want to consider they are a virgin again.
Second virgins can be single or married women who have no sex because they WANT to; there is no eligible or "right" man; or other circumstances, e.g. stress, overwork, illness, responsibilities with children, or problems in the relationship.Because their past experiences were painful (rejection, insecurity, fears), they want to wipe their slate clean.
There is nothing wrong with this. Virginity can be a state of mind. In fact, I always advise approaching each lovemaking experience as if it were the first time, so you are filled with trust, enthusiasm and the thrill of discovery.And when couples get bored, one "homework" is to re-enact their first seduction.
A survey of nearly 300 Japanese women in their twenties and thirties showed 46% of the single women who had sex before, had no sex in the past year -- the majority because they didn't have a man they loved.About half of these "second virgins" felt no sex wasn't a problem.
Part of the reason for second virgins is fear of AIDS.A U.S. Department of Health survey found 31% of unmarried women have made changes in their sexual behavior since hearing of AIDS, and 6% stopped having intercourse.
There is also more pressure to teach such abstinence (not just safe sex) in sex and health education classes in schools cross the country.
Another reason: women are not as desperate for a man, so they survive periods alone and are pickier about with whom and when they have sex.More girlsnow define themselves less by sex appeal than by self esteem, independence and career.
But denying sexual feelings can lead to problems:drinking alcohol, over-eating, irritability.Data from sex counselorDr. Masuda of Shinjuku Tokyo Clinic even suggests "sexually insensitive" women may have hormone imbalances and irregular menses.
Second virgins don't have be asexual;they can express sexuality in new ways:
- Exercise. Working out, playing sports and doing aerobic exercises can have similar effects as sex -- stimulating blood flow, accelerating heart rate and releasing pleasure chemicals (endorphins).As Karen said, "In exercise class, I become as aware of my body as I did during sex.And afterwards I'm as tired and satisfied as after sex."
- Creative pursuits.Passion over a new interest can be as exciting as a new lover. Take up crafts, painting, community service or a political cause.Karen had always needed to have sex to prove she was lovable.But when her last boyfriend left her, every time she yearned for him, she turned her energy to writingpages in the novel she had always wanted to write."It was not only a thrill," she said, "but better than sex because I was totally in control!"
- Get aggressive for your career.Doing something for yourself can turn you on as much as sex and also build self-esteem and security.Make a phone call to advance your career, design a new project and congratulate yourself as a lover would compliment you after sex.
- Satisfy real needs.Sometimes when you want sex, you really have another need that can be satisfied another way.If you are lonely, call a good friend. Need to be touched, hire a masseuse.Tense, take a long bath.If you need to explore your soul, write your feelings in a diary or tell your dreams to a good friend.
- Re-kindle relationships.Women inlove can neglect other people.Use second virgin time to nurture family, old or new friendships.
When you decide to break your second virginity, choose well.Make sure your partner is supportive, caring, sensitive. Develop your relationship on other dimensions besides sex, for it to be deeper and last.
A few weeks later, the "second virgin"Karen told me she'd met a new perfect guy and wanted advice on what to do.In the study of Japanese second virgins, 61% of the women felt nervous and 15% scared to resume sex.These feelings are normal until you rebuild confidence and get over fears like rejection or hurt.
I told her that like all couples today, she should share her sexual past,but add that she feels like a "mental virgin" with him as her first love. I also advised that they should do other pleasurable things together for a long time before having sex. These include:
Share activities.Things you do together that can trigger a similar "high" as orgasm can be mental "turn-ons" like planning a project, or physical ones like playing tennis.
- Get acknowledgment other than as a sexual partner.For example, Karen found extreme pleasure telling her new love about her dream to write a best-selling novel and his listening attentively and encouraging her.
- Enjoy seduction.Sometimes when a relationship is consummated too soon, the couple neglects learning about, impressing and pleasing each other in non sexual ways.Spend time exploring and surprising each other.
- Redefine sex. Change the emphasis from sex as intercourse to sensual pleasure from higher communication between two people who share souls through mental connections or non sexual touching (as in Eastern sex therapy).For example,in the "soul search," you transmit emotions by gazing into each other's eyes with unbroken connection for twenty minutes.
- Enjoy life. Lovemaking excites all the senses.But you can feel as aware other ways:smell daisies, listen to rain, see colors in the sky.The more alert you are to outer surroundings and inner feelings, the better you will feel as a second virgin without -- or with -- a man.
Article written by Dr Judy Kuriansky. Previously published in Japan.
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