“I just can’t wait to go ahead and get it over with.” “As long as I lose it before college, I’ll be okay.” “I’m a senior in high school now; it’s time.” “I don’t want to be a virgin anymore.” These are all statements that I’ve heard from friends younger than me as they went through their final years of high school while I was advancing through college. Many of my friends still come to me for advice as a self-proclaimed “mom” of my high school friend group. It used to be what to do when they liked a boy, but as they have gotten older, it has become how they can finally lose their virginity.
I’ve noticed that they tend to look at it as more of a chore rather than something that should be a special time in their life like it was for me. This got me thinking, though, what truly is virginity? Is it really as big of a deal as we make it? If you think about it, the common idea of virginity is heterosexual sex. Penis in vagina, bing bang boom, done, you’re no longer a virgin. You can now check that off of your list and move on with your life. Amongst a history of misogyny, this outdated idea of virginity also erases countless identities. Does this mean that gay men and women will be forever virgins simply because they do not conform to what a majority believes is “real” sex? What about victims of sexual assault? Is it fair to say that they lost their virginity through a traumatic event? After researching and reading an article from the School of Sexuality Education, I firmly believe we need to redefine virginity.
Virginity is very much a social construct. This is something that we humans have created over the years. We are the ones who have placed so much power in the fact whether you have had sex or not. Virginity has its roots in misogyny, and The School of Sexuality Education said it best. “Virginity has been a focal element of a woman’s purity and, consequently, their value.” If a girl loses her virginity too early, she is a slut. If she loses it too late, she is a prude. These are all ideas that society has forced upon women to have control over their bodies.
As I said, the concept of virginity also erases the identities of many different groups of people. When you define virginity as only penis in vagina sex, you are invalidating the experiences of countless people. Sex should be what you make it and what you feel comfortable with. There are multiple different kinds of sex! You need to find what you like best. Don’t let anyone else define what sex means to you. The School of Sexuality Education says, “the most important thing to remember here is that sex exists in many different wonderful forms and no single type of sex is the most important or valid. Regardless of your sexuality or gender, sex and pleasure are yours to define and experience in whatever way is best for you.” This is something that everyone should keep in mind, no matter what their orientation is.
Now, do I think that the current concept of virginity will magically go away now that I have written this? No. But if I can help at least one person see virginity differently, see that it’s what they make of it, and not listen to what everyone else says, I’ll feel like I’ve done something right. Since virginity is a social construct, it’s all about how society thinks. If more people start to see what we think of virginity now for what it is, a sexist and exclusive outdated construct, and see how it needs to be redefined, then change will start over time. I challenge you to redefine how you think about virginity and educate yourself on the subject; that’s the only way to learn and grow.