Like all virgins, Britney Spears has a lot to say about sex. She resists briefly when interviewers ask for the intimate details, but usually gives in and does so with all the whimpering prudishness of a multimillion-dollar tease.
"I want to wait to have sex until I'm married. I do. I want to wait," she told Us Weekly in the latest issue. "But it's hard."
(The 19-year-old star said that just moments after saying this about her boyfriend: "Have we had sex? That's something that, you know, I'd like to keep personal. I want to try to keep a personal life.")
Parents have long pointed out Spears' virgin-whore problem -- that it's unsettling for the unruined prig to wave her navel around is old news. But the singer's latest confession suggests that she's toying with us in a far more sophisticated manner than we might have suspected.
Spears has transcended her garden-variety coquettishness and now seems to be staging a full-scale public discussion over whether she should wait. It used to be that she was simply a virgin; now that she's a tempted virgin, it's as if the entire reading public has been recruited into a sex debate. The terms mimic those employed in high school parking lots nightly: Spears is the abstentious-cum-reluctant lover, and Us Weekly subscribers are presumably the 17-year-old boyfriends sniffling, Don't you love me?
For those who argue that nobody actually cares about a dopey pop singer's flesh, consider the incredible popularity of fake Britney photos on porn sites, and the $2 million a putatively sports-focused magazine offered her to disrobe. Even if her sex appeal is a myth she herself created, she's convinced a lot of people.
How long we'll all have to wait is unclear. Spears says she's crazy about her 20-year-old boyfriend, 'N Sync star and childhood friend Justin Timberlake. The two are permitted to vacation together, all alone but for a bodyguard. What's it like when the bodyguard leaves the room? We'll just have to read the next interview.