Sex and the Single Olympian: Lolo Jones Talks about Her Virginity
Lori "Lolo" Jones is a world-class athlete. She won three NCAA titles and garnered 11 All-American honors while running track and field at Louisiana State University. In the 2008 Olympics, she finished first in the preliminary rounds for the 100-meter hurdles but in the finals tripped on the second-to-last hurdle and finished seventh. She easily passed this year's 100-meter hurdles this morning, and on Wednesday will have a chance to collect the gold medal that has haunted her since the crushing Beijing loss. Her story is the stuff NBC programmers dream of, tailor-made for a fluffy human-interest piece to fill the time between archery and judo and other sports we haven't thought about for four years.
Lolo Jones is also a virgin.
Guess which narrative people are talking about?
That Lolo's virginity is considered more newsworthy than her athletic feats doesn't surprise me, really. There are enough movies that hinge on the ridiculousness of a mature virgin (and even these are rarely by choice!) to confirm the hypothesis that sexual activity is normal and expected for anyone old enough to have graduated from college. Is it sad that we are more impressed that an attractive 29-year-old woman has managed not have sex than we are that she has distinguished herself as one of the best runners in the world? Perhaps. But we've seen this before with another world-class athlete.
While some may have seen Tim Tebow's admission as proof that he's just as a naive kid, an aw-shucks former homeschooler who missed out by refusing the countless women who would love to "make him a man," most lightly teased him while suggesting suitably conservative dates. He became the heartthrob of choice for Christians and moms everywhere; hundreds of girls uploaded YouTube videos trying to catch Tebow's attention, and Katy Perry's mom suggested she'd love to see her daughter date Tim. His virginity is seen by some as "too good to be true"—dating service AshleyMadison.com, which caters to married people looking for discreet affairs, offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove the claim. It has become something of a joke, the "challenge" to take Tebow's virginity. This points to the ways we talk about the roles of men and women with regard to sexuality. We can joke about Tebow because he has remained strong and withstood temptation; Lolo, because she is conventionally "hot," comes across as a tease. She suggested as much herself when she told Jay Leno, "no one likes a girl who doesn't put out."