IN this highly sexed era, not many women are saving themselves for marriage. In fact, the concept of virgins in their 20s is so rare that cable giant MTV has documented the anomaly in a new series — Virgin Territory — which focuses on a range of 20-something virgins as they grapple with deciding when to alter their status.
Even if women opt to wait because of religious beliefs or otherwise, by the late 20s to early 30s many cave, as the idea of being an older virgin doesn't sit well with them, or with much of society.
But Selesha Bailey-Douglas, who up to recently was a 29-year-old virgin, and three other women, are insisting that the wait is worth it.
Bailey-Douglas, who began dating at 27 and got married at 29, said her decision to wait for sex until she was married was tied to her faith and a value instilled from she was young.
"I waited because I know that I have an obligation to God. Waiting became a part of me. I had never been in a relationship prior to this one; my husband was my first ever relationship, so I guess it was somewhat difficult to change from something that had become a natural idiosyncrasy," she said.
She added: "I had a very strict mom and an understanding dad who trusted and instilled good values in me. Love was in the home and I never had the urge to go and seek a partner. However, as I became older I realised that a contributory factor to me holding out was because my parents really showed me love."
Her wait was not without criticism; she said friends and family ridiculed her.
"My friends, siblings and relatives would tell me that my standards were too high and that the type of person I was looking for was not yet born. But I didn't want my character to be tarnished and more importantly, I wanted God to be pleased, so I told myself if I had waited so long, I could still wait," she said.
Alecia V was 27 and a virgin when she got married.
"As a matter of fact, my hubby was also a virgin and five years older than I was," she said.
"It was hard waiting that long, because there were moments when I felt like giving in, especially during my early 20s. But I just could not defile God's temple. My mother was also the perfect example for me to follow. She, too, was a virgin when she got married at 27."
She said because of her decision to wait, she was teased, especially during the college years.
"Once, a young man was interested in me and we were getting to know each other on the phone. The topic of sex came up. I said proudly, 'I am a virgin'. I was taken aback by his reaction. He said, kind of annoyed, 'Really? Mi cyah badda wid dat... to break in anybody. I want somebody experienced'. Then he ended the call. I could not believe it. It made me feel as if I was not a part of the in crowd. Everybody was doing it except me. In the end, I am happy that we both waited. It felt good knowing that we were each other's first. There was no one to be compared to, no sexual baggage, and most importantly, we pleased God. Some people talk about marrying puss inna bag, but when two wild puss lock up inna bag for so long, it's the best thing when they both come together to relieve all that tension."
Dianna C was much older: 42, and a virgin, when she married her much younger husband.
"I'm glad I waited because I didn't want anyone to look and laugh and be like, 'She married after Tom, Dick and Harry done sample it', so I felt proud within myself knowing I was my husband's first and he was also mine. I know I didn't let God down."
"Persons used to say, 'How are you gonna know what to do?' But we knew and we enjoyed ourselves on our honeymoon and it's one of the best decisions I made," said Lisa B, who got married at 32.
"I was a virgin, so was my husband. I felt pressured but I held out and I know no one can say anything about me, and for that I hold my head high."
Bailey-Douglas admitted that temptations will come, but being firm is key.
"Undoubtedly, sexual feelings and attractions will be there with sometimes unbearable pressure, but for me, reading the Bible and other books on dating and relationships has helped, while being aware of the possibilities," she said.