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The Real 40-Year-Old Virgin

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as told to Charreah Jackson

Don't believe the hype that all sisters are having sex. ESSENCE put out the call for women who were still virgins, and got an overwhelming response from fabulous women around the country. We also got many women over 40 who still are saying no to sex. Hollywood mover and shaker Tamika's story in particular caught our attention and she details how she ended up a 40-year-old virgin.

When I was 35 and the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin" came out, I avoided it like the plague because I was confident that wouldn't be me. I definitely planned to be de-flowered before 40. But that day did come this year, and meant it was time for some serious soul searching.

Let's go back to the beginning. When I was in middle and high school, I fell in love with romantic novels and seeing the men romance their true love. And I must say, those books totally ruined me. I expected guys to be like the characters in the books and I had to be like the women - a Virgin.

Add this extreme romantic and archaic understanding of relationships and my strong Christian commitment growing up and you get that odd phenom of a 40-year old Virgin.

Surprisingly I've had a lot of passionate relationships and luckily met extremely loving, patient and understanding men. I've even lived with three of my boyfriends. I know, it sounds unbelievable, but I'm living proof that the idea of what virgins are is extremely outdated.

In college I was still very religious and vowed to wait until I was married before sex. But as I got older and continued my search for spiritual enlightenment, I realized I wasn't dedicated to that at all. I was committed to finding someone that I was in love with, who I trusted and who was in love with me.

It sounds simple but in all these years it's been like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I did find it once but the man wasn't exactly free. He was separated and I wanted to wait until the divorce was final before consummating our relationship. By the time he was actually divorced he revealed to me that he wasn't interested in having any more children and had a vasectomy. I wasn't even sure I wanted children, but I knew I wanted the possibility, and wanted the man I was in love to at least want for me to have his child. So as much as it hurt, I let him go.

The next time I fell in love it was a tremendously passionate affair and I really wanted to make love. When we tried after three months together it was . . .difficult. I was in my late 30's and hadn't actually penetrated that area so it was expected. What I wasn't expecting was for him to blame me. He was so insistent that I needed to open up and relax, and it would be fine. He didn't seem to get that maybe he just needed to take it easy. I guess I'd been spoiled by all of those patient guys from my past.

He became a different person and a couple of days later he broke up with me. It was devastating. I had never come that close with someone who I was truly smitten with and who had professed their love so deeply.

Shortly after that I detached a bit and was dating three guys at once. After a couple of months though it got to be too exhausting and time consuming. I chose to pursue things with the guy who I had the most compatibility with and who was open and patient and really liked me for me. I hope to fall deep enough in love with him to make love.

I'm an extremely passionate person and I look forward to being able to share that passion completely with another person one day, on my term terms.

Today I am still a 40 year old Virgin. And I'm okay with that...for now.

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