The idea of “virginity” is really gender bias.
Before I go on, lets just say that virginity is a heteronormative societal construct. It doesn’t exist.
It excludes LOADS of people and also has hundreds of holes in as an idea.
My biggest problem with the idea of “virginity” in general is the way it shames people for having it and not having it. It’s something we keep a shame filled secret because heaven forbid people find out we’ve had the opportunity to have lots or none of it. It’s just another label we put on people to understand their life and it’s not fair. Nobody wins in this system of judging people against an arbitrary standard.
If we start by looking at what “being a virgin” means: someone who has not had sex. But how do you classify sex? In my teens I remember this question coming up loads. Questions like: “does the kiss count if you didn’t use tongue?” or comments like “it only counts if you saw nipple” made the whole process of having sex or sexual experience feel like a check list rather than an experience to be enjoyed.
This was probably down to the media we consumed in the mid to late 90s but also down to the lack of experience in life we all day.
Even the phrasing we have around virginity is weird and stuck in the dark ages.
“Losing your virginity” is how we classify people who have had sex. Like something has been lost. In terms of women this has historically meant their “value” has gone down or changed which is so messed up I think I’d need another blog post to cover it. It’s weird. Men (like women) want a partner who knows what they’re doing, but we don’t want to spend a second thinking about how they got that experience.
Generally after you’ve lost your virginity we talk about “having sex” in ways which imply that it was some fluke of chance. I hear guys all the time saying they “got lucky” or “managed to have sex” like this was some great achievement and we should be rolling out the red carpet or something.
Also the amount of sex you have tends to have an impact on how (narrow minded)people can view you. For example, as a man, if you’ve never had sex some people might judge that as there must be something wrong with you. Which can lead to all sorts of self esteem issues and pressure to have sex with anyone in anyway possible. And if you’re a woman, holding off from having sex can lead to a level of pressure that means you’re not enjoying your life in a way which is enjoyable.
Sex is best when there’s no pressure and just enjoying the time with another person is the goal aim (if that).
It also comes down to “what is sex?” or “how do you even classify if you’ve had sex?”
Personally I went to an all boys boarding school. This meant that for us, “having sex” meant we had put our penis into a vagina. That definition isn’t inclusive at all. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a gay man at my school with people around them a lot discussing sex like the option of a man is weird, wrong or just not a thing. It must have sucked to be in that situation.
Not everyone with a penis wants a vagina and not everyone with a vagina wants a penis.
Also when I think about the way that the “roles” are portrayed in sex, generally it’s the person who is being penetrated is submissive (usually a woman) and the person who is penetrating the other person is being dominant (using a man) which is not always the case.
I’m getting off topic, but the thing that strikes me about virginity is that by it’s general definition, it means that there’s a lot of the population who will never (and can never) lose their virginity. Gay people… for example. Asexual people. Transgender people. All are going to struggle in the “penis in vagina” definition.
Does this mean a 40-year-old heterosexual male who has never had sex with a woman is to be viewed the same as a 25-year-old gay woman?
By not acknowledging these gender and sexual identities exist doesn’t mean they go away. In my experience what it does is actually something very positive. A lot of my friends in the LGBT community are much more open about discussing sex, sexuality and what they do than my straight friends (I grant you this might be because most of my LGBT friends are in their late 20s and so have got used to who they are, are comfortable with it and have a circle of supportive friends who allow them to be themselves… I’m sure some LGBT people in their teens might have a rough ride).
I think it should be up to the individual to decide what sex is to them and not rely on outdated labels because that’s a fast route to trying to fit in rather than being yourself.
It got a bit “after school special” at the end there. But you get my point. Any thoughts on the concept of virginity? Comment below. x