While we like to talk about the abject sluttery of many young women today, and also those that aren’t really “that kind of girl” but end up going pretty far down that road during the process of “dating,” I think that there has also been a tendency for many young women, and men, to pull back and reconsider. We see the “middle of the distribution” hollowing out, replaced by a barbell distribution — too much, or too little.
For example, the “never been kissed” and “never been asked on a date” theme also seems strong among Millennials and Gen Z. These girls are not celibates in theory, only in practice.
For example, we find, in “College Virgins are a Silent Almost-Majority”:
These days, Nicole is thinking a lot about sex. Not the sex she’s having but the sex she isn’t. The sex she feels like she probably should have had already. The sex that got away. This past summer, sitting at her kitchen table, still in the clothes she’d worn that day to her internship, she got the call she’d been expecting, and sort of dreading, for a while now. “I have something to tell you,” her best friend from home exclaimed over the line. “I had sex!”
Nicole brimmed with questions: “How was it? How big was his penis? How many times did you do it?” She was thrilled for her friend but also unsettled. The two of them had grown up together in Orlando, sharing so many of the same life experiences that their childhoods seemed to meld into one. Then, a few months back, her friend had met a guy she liked, had started dating him, had fallen in love — all milestones that Nicole, now a senior at NYU, still awaited. While her friend had once been proof to her that you could be a 21-year-old virgin and still be cool, now Nicole felt left behind. “I get off the phone and I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I was like, ‘The club is dwindling.’ ”
They must be very principled.
But they both have also subscribed to the notion that their first time should be special — not necessarily with a boyfriend or someone who loves them but at least with someone they care about on some level, someone who will consider their pleasure at least as much as his own.
This, apparently, is how a semi-attractive senior at New York University, in the center of Sodom-on-the-Hudson, becomes an accidental celibate. The article says that 20% of all college students are virgins on graduation, and around 40% of all students are virgins.
Nicole’s friend and roomate Rachel, also 21, is not so picky. Rachel is definitely on the “college boyfriend” track. She just wants to get her V-card punched so she can start partying.
Rachel says she doesn’t have a problem with hookup culture; she and her friends expect random hookups to be the entrée into something more serious, even though they also expect that most hookups won’t end that way. (“It’s a game now, like you have to be the person who cares less. If you start hooking up with a guy and don’t care if he likes you, then you start dating.”) But she also feels caught in a bind: All throughout high school, she held out, stopping sexual encounters just short of intercourse, with the idea that sex in college would be better, more mature and evolved. .
Unlike Nicole, who longs for a boyfriend, Rachel wishes she were able to participate in hookup culture. “I feel like once you’ve had sex the first time, the wall breaks and it’s acceptable to have sex with more random people,” she says. “I wish I could explore all of that, but I feel like the first time has to be a certain way. If I could get that out of the way, then if I had sex another time and it was bad, I wouldn’t be like, ‘That was horrible, bad on me, wrong move.’ I would be okay. But if that was the first time, I would be like, My life sucks.”
This really is a low hurdle. You figure she could stumble over it drunk. Especially at New York University. Nevertheless: nothing.
Not that I am criticising Nicole. I have been saying that we should adopt the old principle of marrying before having sex. Normally, this means marrying young, and having a lot of sex. At age 21, a lot of married “good girls” were getting pounded four nights a week.
Recently, we have seen the deterioration of “dating,” as it existed (briefly, and transiently) in the 1920-1970 period. As “dating” disintegrates, it is replaced by “hookups” or … nothing. A lot of attention has been placed on “hookups,” but for a lot of people, they have nothing. This is largely by choice — women, and men also, could participate in hookups if they wanted to, but they don’t want to.
Wellesley is, of course, an all-women college.
Now, I know that there are a lot of girls who have “never had a boyfriend” because they are party sluts, or because they have been in side-chick rotation.
But, setting those aside, there are a fair number of women who just haven’t had anything at all. Admittedly, many are Fugly, or, maybe “invisible” 5-6s. Still…
Then there is a small group of self-described “femcels,” who seem to think that, because they are getting almost no attention, they must be horribly ugly. Actually, they are 5/6/7s, nothing special but above average. (When 40% are obese or overweight, average not-fat girls end up above average, by default.)
I think this is somewhat hopeful, because it shows that a large number of young people today are not really lost in hedonism. If you could make them a deal: “get married young, to the best guys (because the smart ones want young debt-free virgins without tattoos), skip college, career, debt, and a decade of self-destructive ‘dating,’ have children and a family, and stay at home,” a lot of young women would take it.