Does anybody else remember having the ‘sex talk’ with their parents? It’s one of those awkward conversations where they try to explain the ‘birds and the bees’, when half the time you’ve probably already done the deed. My memory fails me in remembering exactly what my mother said to me, but these words replay in my head over and over again: ‘Don’t be easy’. Easy. What does that even mean? Being easy.
In other words, was she suggesting that if I did not save myself for the perfect man I was less of a woman? Following that conversation, I became narcissistically obsessed with my own virginity. I had this poetic and romantic image of sexy lingerie, candles, flowers and violins; a story I could one day tell my grandchildren about when I met their grandfather. I wanted some spectacular coming-of-age moment, all because I feared being easy.
And when that magnificent moment amounted to a bit of awkward fumbling and my M&S knickers, I felt easy. The feeling of being easy, luckily, was very temporal, because very quickly, I learned that I was, in fact, jealous. Seething jealousy. The kind of jealousy that is green, spiteful and charged with anger.
I was jealous because I remember watching boys celebrating having sex; cheering, laughing, gagging to do it again. Yet, it seemed to be some kind of taboo amongst the girls. It seemed that the more you ‘did the deed’, the less desirable you would be as a woman. As if my value was entirely dependent on how many times I opened my legs. I wanted to be a boy, celebrating sex and everything good and gory about it.
Without realising what she had done, my mother had endowed me with fear. Fear that if I slept with more than one person in my life, I would render myself undatable, unmarriable, undesirable. And what’s worse, is this advice was given to me with the intention of appeasing the desires of the opposite sex. In order to appease the patriarchy, I held off anything more than a kiss just so one day, a man would want to marry me.
I do not blame my mother. She gave me this advice because she was a victim of the same fear. The fear that I see on the faces of countless girls all the time. A fear that penetrates the university, reverberates through campus and taints the houses of Hyde Park. The face of absolute horror that you might be labelled something promiscuous and that everyone might know that you actually had sex four times last week with four different people.
If you had sex and you enjoyed it, why should it be turned into something sleazy, dirty and promiscuous? Consensual sex should be celebrated. Sex between two people, who if not love each other, at the very least find each other desirable enough to share a very intimate moment together.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you choose to save this moment, you should equally be exempt from judgement. Why do we judge people on how they choose to explore their sexuality? Why do we assume someone who has a higher ‘body count’ does not know their own worth? Surely it is possible for someone to have as much sex as they please and still know that they are worthy, valuable and remain unchanged in the face of intercourse.
Besides being nobody else’s business, the entire concept of virginity is fictional. It is a social construct. What is the actual definition of losing one’s virginity? Is it the act of intercourse? Is it the breaking of the hymen? The hymen that some women don’t even have, yet their ‘virginity’ defined by. Is virginity confined to only a penis entering a vagina? Why are people so obsessed by something that we can hardly even define?
I am not suggesting that you should sleep with everyone you know. Neither am I suggesting that sex is meaningless. The point is that nobody should be judged or shamed by how many people they have or have not slept with. I’ve come to the conclusion that my personal experiences will never be shaped by the likes of people who care to call me frigid or easy. Whether somebody inserts penises into every orifice they have or chooses to never have sex at all; it will never change your value.
Words by: Niva Yadav
Edited by: Yasmine Moro Virion