Virginity is something you hear a lot about, especially if you’re a woman. If you’re a woman, you probably grew up with people telling you that your virginity is special, a gift, and that it should be saved for your future husband (but don’t worry, he doesn’t necessarily have to save himself for you).
Virginity has become synonymous with purity – a virgin is pure. So if you’re not a virgin, then you’re un-pure; you’re dirty. However, this only applies to women. If a man is a virgin, it’s “weird” and unheard of, because men are supposed to be sex hungry animals, right? Men are supposed to divide and conquer the sexual world, while women are supposed to sit back and patiently wait while remaining untouched and pure.
This idea of purity is a problem – it implies that a woman is nothing without her virginity. In an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, he talks about sex education and shows a video (at 12:50) in which a woman on her wedding night, who is not a virgin, is compared to a dirty, worn out pair of shoes by her husband. How problematic is that? The idea that women who are not virgins are used up or worthless? Virginity shouldn’t define someone’s worth, and here’s the biggest reason why – virginity isn’t even a real thing. It is a man-made social construct. There is no such thing as an actual, physical virginity. It is just an idea.
It is no shock that we do not live in a sex-positive world. Because of this, slut-shaming has become a huge problem in American culture. With the virginity myth engrained deeply into most people’s mindsets, when someone hears about a woman who has a lot of sex (because remember, men can have as much judgment free sex as they want), or even any sex at all, they judge that person and think of that person as dirty and reckless. But as long as a person is having safe and consensual sex, then that person has the right to have as much sex as they want to. And guess what? That doesn’t make them dirty or used up! It means that they are an adult who is comfortable with themselves and in who they are and is capable of making decisions for themselves.
It is your body and it is your choice. If you want to wait until your wedding night to have sex, that’s okay (however make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and because it’s what you want to do, not because someone or something is telling you that’s what you’re supposed to do). Or, if you want to, you could take Alice Wetterlund from Girl Code’s route; as she so eloquently put it, “Your virginity is a personal choice. And personally, I decided to drop mine like a hot potato with a spider on it." That’s okay too.
You’re allowed to do whatever you want with your body as long as it’s safe and consensual. Don’t let the media, society, or another person try to tell you what defines your worth – especially when it’s an idea that society needs to throw out of its vocabulary anyway.