32-year old virgin

As an Australian living in the Middle East, I am often curious and taken back by some customs and beliefs of people from a different culture and background. I would like to think that I am very respectful of people, but I can’t help asking questions in order for me to understand a little better (I blame it on my journalist lecturer at university).

I am very open-minded and do not think my way of upbringing is the ‘right’ way, so I think that people feel safe opening up to me and telling me their views on life. But, I had to keep my face in check when my colleague, who I shall call Anisha, advised me at age 32 she was still a virgin!

In western society, you would most probably be mocked for not partaking in this particular activity prior to age 20. In fact, children in Australia are known to loose their virginity at about age 12 onwards. While they are encouraged to wait a little longer than 12 years of age, most mothers would not be surprised to hear that their offspring has partaken in sexual activity by the age of 15 or 16.

So for Anisha to wait double the time that the average Austalian would before offering herself to a male, made me very curious. What particular reason was behind this. Was she scared, was it her values, religion? I had many questions to ask. Thankfully, my colleague was very happy to provide answers to my questions and I ending up having a lot more respect for her than previously.

My colleague is the youngest daughter of five girls born in Pune, India. Her father left the family when she was quite young and her mother never remarried. As a result, her maternal grandparents assisted in raising the five girls. Anisha’s upbringing included Islamic guidance and Anisha is a strong believer in Allah, however she is not a strict follower of this religion. Anisha watched some of her sisters be married off through arranged marriages and was determined that this would never happen to her. At the age of 13, her family and friends were already discussing a suitable suitor for her, but she was determined to fall in love with the man she would marry. Whether it was because she was scarred by her father leaving the family it is difficult to say, however I feel sure that this seperation played a part in Anisha being so picky with men.

Anisha had her fair share of attention from the male population growing up, which fueled her ego. She is a very attractive woman and with her wicked sense of humor and steely determination, I am sure she would be a great catch. That determination saw Anisha study a Masters Degree in Business Administration before starting a successful career in Human Resources.

In her middle 20’s Anisha made the brave move of following her mother and one of her sisters move to Dubai. This move gave Anisha a more liberal view of the world, albeit in a Muslim country. Anisha was courted by many men and eventually she agreed to a date. This suitor was smitten, but Anisha made it very clear, that there was to be no ‘hanky-panky’ even after going out a number of times. As a result, Anisha had many male friends, but not a ‘boyfriend’. She grew curious however. Many of her friends had partaken in sexual activity and she wanted to know what it was all about. Eventually she allowed a man that she was fond of to hold her hand and to kiss her passionately. That male broke up with Anisha the next day, making Anisha feel very dirty and cheap. If you ask her now, Anisha firmly believes that this particular male set out to be the first man to ‘french’ kiss Anisha and when he got his way, he no longer had any reason to hang around.

No man was ever going to make Anisha feel cheap again. In fact, in the traditional manner, a man sought permission from Anisha’s mother to marry her without ever going on a ‘date’ to which Anisha made her mother say no. Anisha’s mother relented and for at least a year or so, there was concerns that they had made the wrong decision. Anisha watched with joy as her close friends married and wondered when she would find her man. It wasn’t too long. In fact, it was at her best friends’ wedding that Anisha caught they eye of a handsome lawyer who lived in England. A month later he flew to Dubai to spend some time with her and her family. Anisha then flew to England to meet his family and after a few more dates, the proposal came. Anisha and her mother sat down and agreed that this man would be a suitable husband. Anisha’s mother accepted the proposal and plans were made for the wedding.

Not surprisingly, a few days after this proposal, another proposal for Anisha’s hand came forward from a friend that Anisha had known for many years. Unfortunately, this suitor was unaware that he had been piped at the post by a number of days. If you ask Anisha whether she would have been interested in this second proposal had the first not have happened, her answer is yes. I could not help but think that this was a “sliding door” kind of moment. Life could have taken a completely different path for these three people. But it was not meant to be. Anisha’s hand had been taken.

As the wedding date drew closer, Anisha eventually opened up to her fiancee to tell him that she was a virgin. He was completely surprised. Being an outgoing, attractive woman, he did not think that he would be the first man that she would be initimate with. He was very proud of her however, and promised to treat her well. Anisha is also proud of who she is. She is proud that she saved herself for her husband and didn’t allow anyone else to take this away.

For the first time, Anisha had to think of contraception. Her first thought was the latex sheath, however her fiancee and her talked about making her very first time special. To be able to properly enjoy the moment, without a barrier preventing this from occuring. Anisha then made a plan to go onto the pill. The is completely against her upbringing, but she agreed with her fiancee. After two weeks of going on to the pill, Anisha had many medical problems, including 10 days of bleeding. She therefore decided to return to her first thought, whereby condoms would be the preferred contraception, but not beforeher wedding night.

On her wedding night and for three consecutive nights after, Anisha got to enjoy the experience of sexual intercourse without barriers. And….. she fell in love. Talking honestly of her feelings, Anisha states that the sex has brought her closer to her husband. As Anisha has not had sexual intercourse with anyone else, she has nothing to compare the experience to and therefore in her eyes, her husband is doing everything right. She is head over heels in love with her husband and in some small way, I am envious. Not because love is absent in my marriage, but because I didn’t get to share this very intimate moment with just him.