Stay Out My Pants: A Lesson in Socio-sexual Progression

The night started off like so many others. A group of twenty-something year old black people sat lounging in a living room, accepting the silent consensus to skip the club scene. Instead one of the women in the group shared the treasure that was her iTunes collection as we sat reminiscing to the music. As any black person will tell you, music has the power to unite people and during that September evening in Brooklyn that’s exactly what it was doing.

My cousin and I had just moved to New York from Indianapolis and were newbies to the group of three friends; but the music emanating from one of the woman’s laptop speakers had established a commonality amongst strangers. The lone man in the room had little to say to us, but even he loosened up as the designated D.J. shuffled her way through 90’s Hip Hop and R&B classics. Next up was Dru Hill’s 90’s hit Tell Me.

I mentioned the fact that this song, despite its overt sexual content, was featured on the Nickelodeon variety show All That. From then on we started dissecting the lyrics, noting just how inappropriate the song was for children. At the end of the first verse, the group exclaims, in four-part harmony, exactly what they’re going to do: “Foreplay at one won’t end till two.”

The DJ took that one: “That means he’s going to give her head for an hour!”

My brow furrowed. I had always considered head, face, cunnilingus-- to be precise, to be a part of the sex act itself. In retrospect I probably should have kept my mouth shut but alas I said in sincere confidence: “That doesn’t mean head.”

The D.J’s responded, “What kind of deprived sex life are you leading where foreplay doesn’t include head?”


That question, though potentially rhetorical, had just exposed me. I could have smiled it off but I chose to tell the truth. Blood flowed to my face as I said these next words:

“Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m a virgin.”

The room quieted. The energy shifted. If the D.J. had been on a turntable the record would have scratched.

The man and the DJ jumped out of their seats. His fist met the inside of his palm as he produced sounds of disbelief, his voice reaching a level we hadn’t heard all evening.

Finally he formulated a question, “Get out of here?!? You’re a virgin?”

Then my cousin interjected, “I’m one too.”

Suddenly the conversation was worthy of his participation. He and the D.J. looked at us in shock and wonderment as they questioned the rationale behind those two statements. Why? Was it spiritual?

Ultimately they concluded that our virginity was a regional thing. (Even though the man was from Ohio.) Because, they surmised, in New York, people are progressive and accepting of sexual expression.

But they had just contradicted themselves in that very statement. If people in New York were so tolerant, why was it such an issue that I was and am still a virgin? Apparently the path to social progression can only be found in the walls of my vagina. Progression is about recognizing and accepting those who are different from us without ridicule or scorn.

After much pondering I came to my own conclusion about their somewhat theatrical reactions: people, Americans specifically, are consumed with the need to know what people do behind closed doors. Who do you sleep with? What do you do together? How often do you do it? Do you like it?

As a woman I feel like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. If we’d said that we had had 50 sexual partners in the last three days would their reactions have been more or less animated? Probably the same.

But I understand. It is human nature to want people to see things our way. In fact when I was in high school I was a part of this group that promoted the abstinence only lifestyle. While I still believe in abstinence for myself, I regret my decision to take part in that program. One because they discouraged/forbad us to talk about contraception and more importantly because now, more than ever, I understand that sexuality and its expression is unique to each individual. Our sexuality is about as personal as you can get as far as conversation topics go- so if you find yourself in a room with a group of people, black or white, and someone decides to take the conversation into their bedroom, remember to stay out of their pants.

Veronica Wells is a woman striving to be the most authentic version of herself. She is a lot spiritual, overly emotional, and at her most comfortable, surprisingly ditzy. She is a journalist who enjoys ice cream, stepping on crunchy leaves, and spending time with her loved ones. You can check out a collection of her infrequent musings at Brooklyn Bound B Train.

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