Three years ago, about twenty of my friends got together in several cars and drove five hours down the coast of New Zealand to our friend’s bach (for my non-Kiwis, this means “holiday house”). It was located on a farm with its own private beach and the closest neighbor was kilometres away. We then proceeded to spend the following few days partying like there was no tomorrow. I kept with my orange-juice-only consumption and played the role of the “house mom”.
One particular night, it felt like every single guy was hitting on me. Even some of my closest mates who had firmly been in the friend zone for years, whispered sweet things to me and would gently rub their hands across my shoulders. I, of course, loved the attention!
One guy, in particular, told me he had lost his phone somewhere in his room and desperately needed to find it because tomorrow was his grandmother’s birthday and he wanted to call her. Being the wannabe Mother Teresa, I followed him to the room to help the investigation.
Next thing I know this guy has his hand on my butt and is trying to put his tongue down my throat. I guess he found what he was searching for! Being brought up on a farm required hauling hay bales and training wild horses which in turn, helps one develop quick reflexes. So in the blink of an eye, I managed to fling this guy across the room and at high speed towards the wall. BAM, he slammed hard against the concrete! While he lay stunned on the ground, I yelled out, “Don’t forget to tell your Grandma I say Hi, dick,” and ran out of the room.
I went to the bathroom to gather myself together, quietening my repulse and calming my heartbeat. Suddenly, through the closed door, I hear two guys, whose voices I recognized.
“Dude, any luck man with Riley?”
“Nah not at all, she’s locked up like a steel safe.”
“I wonder who will win the bet. I want that $200 real bad.”
“Yeh me too. And, I bet she's a freak in the sheets. You know what they say about horse riders? They know how to ride us stallions."
No wonder I felt like all the guys wanted me … there was a $200 prize on my head for anyone who had sex with me.
I tell you this screwed up story for many reasons. Firstly, to show you that even as a virgin who has only ever kissed a guy, I can still feel objectified or hashtag ME TOO. Please know that I hold no remorse or anger towards these men. They gave me a gift; the reminder that I am the sole manager of my sex life. For these men, I was seen as a trophy-challenge to be won. They were racing against one another, only to arrive at the finishline and discover I had never handed in my application for entry.
I also tell you this story to demonstrate that this journey of virginity has not been easy. But along this wild ride, I’ve gathered nuggets of wisdom (from both my successes and mannnyyy mistakes) that I’d love to share with you.
Learn how to say NO
The ability to communicate ‘no’ truly reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. Being 24 years old and still on track to safeguarding my virginity, I may have said no a few more times (to people, parties, messages, etc) than the typical LA girl. In the words of Usher, “I’ll say no on the streets, but yes in the sheets”. Okay, I’ll admit, those aren’t exactly his words. But almost. Billionaire Warren Buffett, as the second richest person on the planet, explains "the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything”. Sounds relatable? Well, Steve Jobs, as in the guy who likes Apples, would also agree, it seems, because he once said: “I'm actually as proud of the things I haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things”.
I’m proud of all my No’s. I feel like I’ve been in a game of paintball for years and my body is colourless. I hope when I exit the field, there’s a limited amount of cleaning required to do. I've dodged a lot of potential heartbreaks, and yes I’ve also avoided potential good sex. But in return, I will get great sex with one man who loves me inside-out, not outside-in. A man who loves my character, personality and soul more than the curves of my hips or the smile that so easily break across my face. All this instead of a man who would rather touch my booty than attempt to touch my heart.
Know your boundaries
Let me get this straight; I am no saint. I’ve made so many errors on this journey. For example, the Present Riley would tell the Younger Riley not to make-out in a shower with my ex (lol!). As much as we may wrestle with the concept, boundaries are healthy and needed. Especially if you have a goal in mind like I do, such as waiting until you meet someone you love. In my past relationships, I set up healthy boundaries to help protect the sacred goal, ie not getting hot and heavy past Riley-o'clock. This time is 10 pm, it just seems that as the sun sets, the inner lioness within me likes to prowl.
I grew up on a farm, so I can easily imagine the absolute catastrophe that would have occurred if there were no fences. My favourite childhood pony, Duke, who had an obsessive need to bite anything and everything would have walked about with a poor sheep in his grips. The chickens wouldn’t know where to lay their eggs. The bulls would try to fight our pet goat (can you tell I had a fun childhood?). Point being, before you enter into relations, even before you start talking to your crush, ask yourself a question: Do I know the fence lines that shelter my sexual expression?
The tyranny of small decisions
John Maxwell once said, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you”. I don’t see myself as an extra special human, but I can see the past decisions that I am proud of. These are a few simple choices that differentiate me from many in today’s society. If you add each little choice (date Harry instead of Bob, don’t go to that party, keep clothes on, leave his house before midnight, etc) it is the cumulative sum of my big decision. Celebrate each new step in a direction towards your goals, even if it feels like a baby step.
Trust my grandmother’s advice
My 86-year-old grandmother once told me, “If you decide to wait, choose your friends wisely for you don't want to pick those that will peer pressure you to have sex. Don't have sex to try to keep a man for that is a man not worth keeping. And finally, be careful of drinking too much because you may do something you'll regret the morning after”. I couldn't have said it better, my sweet Nanna!
That night no boy won $200. I gathered myself up from the bathroom floor, lifted my head high, thrust my shoulders back and walked out of that room with a sure knowledge that I would control when and with whom I’d have sex for the first time. I proceeded to the dance floor and shook off what felt like dirt on my body knowing that I believed myself to have immeasurable worth.
On April 25, we will shift gears as I'll be journalling about the season of SINGLENESS!