For better and worse, social media has fostered communities around every facet of life. The trouble arises when people start to define themselves by a single attribute. Incels, for example, are so hyper-focused on their lack of sex partners that they spend hours in forums collaborating on a misogynist worldview to explain why they never had a chance to get laid in the first place.
The redditors over at r/virgins aren’t that far gone just yet — it helps that some of the members are women and/or queer — but they still want to vent about their inexperience and the challenges of attaining physical intimacy with someone else. They discuss being in their 20s or 30s and feeling clueless as to dating and hookups. Which is all fine as far as the mutual support goes. The recurring drama, of course, has to do with their perception of non-virgins, who have come to be known, in a somewhat derogatory term, as “sex havers.”
Yeah, it’s a whole thing.
While the semantic argument is ongoing, a few unhappy virgins have formed a stereotype of the sex haver, and it’s not a flattering one. “I find the sex havers hypocritical,” writes one, claiming that non-virgins pretend intercourse isn’t important, yet would never willingly give it up.
Another has decided that sex havers are, on average, entitled, arrogant and rude — at least compared to the humble virgin. The conclusion is drawn from observing that married people can be obnoxious at Walmart, and the fact that rapists exist. Are there any other kinds of sex havers? Probably not. In fairness to the subreddit, this post was flagged for violating a rule against “Incel Speak,” but that tells you what kind of slippery slope some users are on.
There’s also a sense that sex havers don’t have to put any effort into self-improvement, whether that means hitting the gym, exploring new hobbies, going to therapy or changing up their style. To read this rant, you’d think anyone who’s lost their virginity committed right then to being a piece of shit for the rest of their days, utterly indifferent to their own health, appearance or behavior. (Call me crazy, but I suspect quite a lot of sex havers are invested in that stuff!)
Perhaps worst of all, those engaging in casual sex are always assaulting you with details, dropping remarks such as “oh, this girl gave me head last night” into normal conversation.
I’m not so sure, gang. It sounds to me as if the weight of virginity is making you see patterns that aren’t there. Billions around the world are sexually active, so it’s a little goofy to act like they all brag about it constantly and put zero effort into maximizing their appeal to partners. Neither are they all bullying, callous jerks — some are very nice! When you try to construct an archetype of the sex haver, you end up trapped in the same kind of toxic belief system that has incels seething at “Chads” and “Stacys.” It simultaneously reinforces a negative self-image: You begin to conceive of virginity as an immutable trait, and any adult who has yet to have sex as fundamentally flawed. You’re only digging a deeper hole to mine even further misery.
Are some sex havers irritating? You bet. Is it natural to be jealous of them when you’re desperate to lose your V-Card? Absolutely. Do you have much to gain by criticizing them as a group? Not really.
I say this not to defend them — the sex havers truly have no idea they’re being denigrated this way — but because the debate on r/virgins is a striking case study in how narrow, categorical, black-and-white reasoning limits progress and serves as a gateway to more extreme and destructive ideas. The minute you quit treating sex havers as the enemy, you stand a far greater chance of having sex with one.
Let’s not forget that you’re trying to join the club.