Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing wrong with saving yourself for marriage.

The fact that I am a virgin does not make me a “loser” or a “weirdo;” it just one of the many decisions I have made throughout my life. As college students, we make choices on a daily basis – and this is no different than any other.

In fact, I’m not alone on this. According to a recent USA Today article, collegiate virgins are on the rise – 12 percent of women and 13 percent of men are virgins, an increase from 2002.

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Sometimes the stereotype of virgins is that we are all “holier-than-thou” sticklers who wouldn’t know a fun time even if it hit them in the face.

I am not a “religious freak,” and I also can have a fun time. Although attending Catholic school for 13 years has very much influenced my decision, and I do believe this is what God has chosen for me, throw religion out of this.

It’s also a matter of self-respect. I respect myself enough to know that I don’t need to have sex to find/keep a boyfriend or to improve my self-esteem. If someone can’t respect that in a relationship, then that relationship is obviously not a good fit for me.

Although I sound all confident about being able to ditch boys who don’t respect me, it’s a lot harder than it seems. Things can be going well – or so I think – and then before I know it, they’re gone because they have realized they aren’t “getting any” from me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be able to figure this out early on, but sometimes it gets downright annoying. I get that humans are driven by sex and yadda yadda yadda, but what about finding connections? Having an emotional relationship instead of just a physical one?

Sometimes I think people our age neglect to engage with each other on an emotional level and can’t think past the physical part. It’s a real shame, but something that isn’t going to change anytime soon – but the stereotype of being a virgin isn’t going to either.

I am in no way shape or form judging those of you who have chosen to have sex – that’s your choice and I respect your decision. We – the few collegiate virgins – also deserve the same respect.

So, the next time you hear someone say he or she is a virgin, please contain that confused look and rude statement you want to make, and try to think outside the box. It will be much appreciated.

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