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Why We Need To Stop Virgin Shaming

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

In today’s age, one can find magazines giving tips on how to have better sex in bed, attract a man and how much sex should you be having. It permeates the media and through these conversations, sex is seen as a right of passage, a fundamental part of being human. But what of the virgins? Those that may pass the age that it is “acceptable” to be one. I was told in one conversation with someone a 25 virgin would be strange, as who else but a religious or weird person would wait so long until copulation? This is the joys of a virgin shaming; people looking at you as if you have two heads for choosing for whatever reason not to have intercourse.

There is an excellent short video by YouTube channel The School of Life, which talks about how the sexual liberation movement succeeded in removing this taboo from premarital sex, allowing women to be more open about their desires. It encouraging people to be free to indulge in their sexual desires as they see fit without blame from a society. However, it has resulted in another extreme; virgin shaming. Now virginity is a sign of defectiveness, unattractiveness, a prude, or even being gay. It is not seen as a valid, reasonable choice in its own right, but one that must be abandoned; why not lose this wretched thing already? “Sex is fun, good,” “It will make you feel better about yourself”; all the benefits are touted and the pressure is there. Some give in to it, only to regret it because they did not have sex on their own accord, but out of fear of losing face in front of their peers. This pressure is even more severe on men, who are expected to be the main pursuers of sex to the point where many lie that they are not virgins or try to collect as many sexual conquests they can to prove this manhood to others. As a woman, this has not been so much the case for me, but I do know that past a certain age I will be seen as an anomaly, whose “condition” people will offer to fix, and then after the treatment, I must wonder what then? Will I be considered good enough as a sexually experienced person, or just be tossed aside anyway despite appeasing others?

We must stop putting so much weight on sex itself in our dealings with others. By that I mean, why must virginity or a lack of it be a cause for immediate rejection or ridicule? A virgin is no less likely or more likely to steal, manipulate or kill someone than an experienced person. Nor does this experience or lack of a good indicator of what kind of partner they will be; one can be a virgin and far more compatible than a non-virgin if they share a similar vision for life, values, personality traits and so on. Now, some people have preferences. I know people who would only want a virgin for a partner or those who would avoid virgins as much as possible. I am not telling you who to chose but to not reject someone primarily on their sexual history but their actions towards you outside of the bedroom if it is more than a hookup or casual relationship that you want. Sex in itself does not promise fidelity, compassion, honesty and so on even if it is enjoyable for both parties. It is only one of many aspects of someone and to look at only this one can blind you to the big picture of who a person truly is.

I will not pretend and say I do not have my own prejudices. I do feel uncomfortable if a potential partner has had many hookups, or short-lived relationships, not because virginity is important to me, but I wonder if they would see me as just another fling out of many, instead of someone to cherish. I have met many men that simply want to add another notch on their belts, while others were searching for a life partner. However, I would not reject one on his sexual history alone, as they could respect my boundaries far more than someone who is a virgin. It is the orenda or spirit of the person that determines whether they will do right by you, not how many people they slept with.

I am in my second year at Medill. I am interested in issues of race, gender, diversity, international politics, and arts/culture. When I am not busy in class or writing for Her Campus, I can be found quietly listening to music or strolling on campus.