26 Aug 2016

The 26 Year Old Virgin

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

The 10 Phases of Dating, my debut book, goes on sale in 35 days! In the past couple of years, I’ve fallen out of habit with writing on my blog, but I’m planning to change that from now through the launch of the book. 


I lost my virginity when I was 26 years old. (Usually after I share that information, I let it hang out there in dumbfounded silence for a few seconds. One. Two. Three…Time’s up.)

In fact, I was almost 27. Only 3-4% of the population waited as long as I did, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When I tell people this piece of information, they almost always go through a three-step process in digesting it.

  • The Look of Total Shock: As if I could’ve just as easily said “My sister Sarah is actually a pet velociraptor” and gotten the same reaction.
  • The “No, but Seriously?” Question: Yes, seriously.
  • Then the “But You Chose to Wait, Right?” Yes, I did.

And of course, after they’re done looking at me like a unicorn – the final question is “why?”

My closest friends have known this information about me for a long time; they’ve also known the answer to “why?” I’ve chosen to share this information now, weeks before turning 32, for two reasons.

  • My Book Comes Out in 35 Days and I Want to Make People Read It: Sue me, I need to be a shameless self-promoter right now. You can RSVP to the book signing and debut party here.
  • I Read This Article Yesterday and I Felt Compelled to Share My Own Experience: It’s a piece about the generational backlash that has hit the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” which came out in 1997 at the height of the mostly-Evangelical Christian “purity movement” and sold 1.2 million copies. It cemented the “true love waits” slogan.
I wasn’t raised in the church, but I became involved in 8th grade when I was about 13 years old, when boys get unexplained boners 20 times a day and are like heroin addicts for anything sex related – conversations, old porno mags or even the act itself.
The teens and pre-teens at church were taking purity vows at that time. Most of us hadn’t had many chances to have sex – or even wanted to – but we were signing documents in the presence of our parents that essentially said “I will flee sexual temptations and I will save myself for marriage.”
There were 20-30 teenagers signing the purity vow in our church alone. One of my close friends recalls only one teenager not signing it. I was the other, partly because I was brand new to the church. But on that day, when the church held a ceremony to honor these peers of mine, I silently took the same vow they did. At 13 years old, I was going to be a virgin until I was married.
By the time I was 16, I had all of the wants and desires that you would expect a 16 year old to have. At the same time, our ongoing sex education in youth group encouraged us to stay on the path of purity. The rationale for doing so was biblically principled at times, but in hindsight, much of it was mnemonics that would (intentionally or not) hit us with guilt for deviating from that path.
Teenaged boys were taught to flee temptation, that teenaged girls in short skirts could be “stumbling blocks” on our path to purity. Teenaged girls were taught that they were essentially walking vaginas with arms, legs and a brain attached, and that the greatest gift they could give to their future husband was an uncompromised vulva.
Other illustrations were given to help us explain why this purity was so critical. If you take two pieces of tape and stick them together, for example, it’s very difficult to separate them. But each time you do separate them, and attach them to other pieces of tape, they lose their stickiness. The same could be said for us if we used our bodies for physical gratification with anyone other than our future husband or wife.
So my friends and I all stayed on the path. Having a teenage sex drive in the purity scenario is like being handed millions of dollars in cash with more pouring in each day, but being told you could only spend it once you get married.
When I was 16, I felt my girlfriend’s breasts for the first time. Two things happened. One, I learned that breasts are one of my favorite things on planet earth. And two, I was overcome with suffocating guilt the following day. It lasted weeks before my mother, unsure of what had suddenly overtaken her son with melancholy, took me to see a counselor.
I was almost 17. I explained to my counselor that I’d crossed a line with my girlfriend. He thought I was confessing to a sex crime, but I saw the look on his face that said “this kid is seriously freaking out over a pair of tits?”as I continued to cry and explain myself. The sadness over what I’d done lasted all winter. After high school, I had two serious relationships between college and after college and I didn’t have sex with either of those women. I got a freaking MBA and graduated a virgin. (I should check the Guinness Book of World Records for that one; I’m probably in it.)
Do you know why I ultimately lost my virginity, besides the obvious? Because I was tired of being looked at like an obstacle course with a penis. Once I told women that I was a virgin, there were one of two reactions. One half of women thought it was too great a risk to stick around and potentially “take my innocence.” And the other half now saw me as a penis puzzle that they could solve through seduction. I was no longer an eligible bachelor, I was the only guy in their entire life who had said no to them. I was a challenge, not a man.
Now nearly 32 years old, I’m embarrassed. Not that I waited so long, but that after all of the waiting, I lost my virginity to a girl I was friends with. I’m embarrassed not because I waited as long as I did, but that I lost my virginity because I allowed it to become an obstacle in the first place. I lost my virginity because I didn’t want it to be the only thing I had to offer; I wanted women to see me for me.
18 years after that purity vow ceremony, I believe – I want to believe – that the youth leaders who coached us through this phase in our life had our best intentions at heart. But I know that many of them were steering us toward a “do as I say, not as I did” type of education.
Here’s what I know now. That sex isn’t a transaction of body parts. A woman doesn’t need to be ‘pure’ to give pure love, nor should a man ever think that to be so (and vice versa). That sex does have serious implications for both sexes, but that those implications are just as real before or after a wedding night.
If you choose to wait because it’s right for you, awesome. But if you choose to wait because you think your worth is in between your legs, then you’ve been lied to. True love has very little to do with your crotch, and everything to do with true love; of celebrating the person you love, honoring them, cherishing them and being true to them. The person who gets those things from you will have known that regardless of who you had sex with, you were worth waiting for.
Interested in being among the first to read The 10 Phases of Dating when it comes out? Send your email address and name to iamdavidberry@gmail.com so that I can add you to the list of pre-orders.
7 Jul 2016

I am a Racist

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

White people will tell you it exists, but that it’s true of other white people. Black people will tell you they’re victims of it. And Hispanic or Latino people – you know, ‘Mexicans’ to the uninformed – are being unilaterally threatened with deportation because of it. (And Syrians, and judges in Indiana, and…)

It is racism, or what the dictionary defines as the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

I am a racist.
7 Jun 2016

The End of the Rape Joke

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

This week, I found out that a girl friend of mine was the victim of a vicious sexual assault during college. At a train station, in a seemingly safe public setting no less. Learning the news made my stomach turn with nausea.

Partly because I had said something to make light of it.

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20 May 2016

In 30 Days

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

One month ago on this blog, I wrote at length about testing my metaphorical, professional parachute. On April 25, I filed for the incorporation of DB + Partners, seven days after beginning the grassroots efforts of actually having a business worth incorporating – on the day I wrote that blog.

That first night, I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. writing down a list of contacts and old friends that I would need to reach out to or have lunch with in order to get the ball rolling.

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19 Apr 2016

Opening Your Parachute

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

I got fired from my job yesterday.

In my subjective opinion, what I did – or failed to do – was low on the list of fire-able offenses. But guess what? My name isn’t on the side of the building, and my opinion on what qualifies as a fire-able offense is irrelevant. Even more so as I write this.

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4 Apr 2016

April 4, 2003

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

This week, I “celebrate” the 13 year anniversary of a car accident that nearly claimed my life. I’ve reposted this story on the anniversary of the accident, and made some improvements along the way, each of the past eight years. Each time, it’s a fresh reminder of my “miracle.”

No matter how I lead up to this or what you read in my story, it’s going to seem like I’m being dramatic, but I’m pretty sure the story does that itself.  To say that night changed the course of my life would be an understatement.  It gave me the courage to leave for South Florida a year later and, eventually, put into me a fervor and appreciation for life that I try to hold onto daily.

I’ve copied and pasted a story that I wrote for a class several years ago about that night. For one, maybe you’ll read it and learn something significant that you didn’t know about me, and two, I rarely get personal on my blog and this is one of those rare instances.

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16 Nov 2015

3 Lessons from My Grandma

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

Where My Grandmother Used to Read Books; Tavares, FL

1 year ago today, I lost my grandmother to kidney cancer. A few days after she passed, I was honored to deliver the eulogy at her memorial service.

The moments that surround her death still feel surreal to me. Four days before she passed, she was placed in hospice care. We had all been told that she had about a month to live. I was scheduled to fly home for a wedding the following week, but thought better of it and decided to fly in three days after hearing the news, instead.

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22 Sep 2015

31 Lessons at 31

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

On September 24, I turn 31 years old. Not a real milestone, but I find that birthdays are a logical time for self-reflection. I’m far from a finished product – and frankly, I can’t believe I’m responsible for adult decisions – but I’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Here are 31 of them.

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5 Aug 2015

The Validation of a Broken Heart

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

Going through a break-up is akin to getting murdered but living through it. When people describe heartache as a physical pain, they’re not exaggerating.

When I first sat down to write this blog, nearly 10 weeks ago, I was feeling it intensely.

I battled myself over and over about whether or not to share the story about the break up, because having yourself (metaphorically) ripped open and laid bare feels like it should accompany an exorcism of all accompanying feelings on paper.

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10 Jun 2015

What’s Meant to Be

Author: davidberry | Filed under: Just Blogs

In the spring of 1987, I was fortunate to experience the birth of two new cousins. I was 3 years old, so I don’t remember the details. One cousin was a boy, Michael, born to my father’s sister – so we were real cousins. After him, I wouldn’t have another male cousin born for more than seven years.

Naturally, we were expected to be close.

And for a couple of years, and based on the three or four pictures I have of us, we were.

But after Christmas in 1990, I never saw him again. I was barely 6 years old; he was almost 4.

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