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Adebusola Abujade / Her Campus Media
Culture

Reframing the concept of virginity

Virginity is a patriarchal creation that is used to control and devalue women. The worth that has been so heavily placed in the concept of virginity has been incredibly harmful in a multitude of ways. 

When it comes to the social construction of virginity, it is commonly viewed as something people have and lose. There is a pressure of transformation, and it is linked to stigmas such as a loss of innocence and morality. It is important for us to rewrite the narrative and understand that guilt and shame no longer need to be attached to the experience. You are not losing anything when having sex for the first time, you are gaining a new experience. 

Purity and virginity have been historically connected, depersonalising sexual experiences and creating harmful consequences. Historical practices such as the purchasing of and exchanging of young girls from fathers to potential husbands have linked our worth to monetary value and the ownership of men. The loss of one’s virginity has been commonly associated with dishonorment of your family, mutilation, and even death. The effects of this kind of treatment and ownership still linger among today’s society and holds much significance in the sex lives and status of women everywhere. 

Societal standards have been largely controlled by the desires of men, which has enforced the idea that women are most desirable if they have had no sexual realtions prior to a realtionship or are “pure.” This concept is not as important for men to uphold as it is for men because it is rooted in misogyny. Men are often praised for their sexual acticity wheras women are looked down upon it for it. It is a tool used to control women’s sexuality and determine our value, writing us off as either virgins or sluts. 

There are many religious and cultural traditions that maintain the value of women’s virginities in society. From fathers “giving away: their daughters in white wedding dresses to purity balls to the practice of virginity testing still occuring in about 20 countries across the globe. These kinds of traditions contribute to gender discrimination and unhealthy relationships with sexuality. 

No matter how many studies disprove the popular misconceptions surrounding the connection between virginity and the hymen, these ideas still persist in the everyday lives of women. It is also important to point out how exclusive the concept of virginity is to the LGBTQ+ community as it focuses on heternomrative, penetrative sex and discounts any form of sex not fitting within the parameters of this social construction. Reinforcing heternormative sex as the ‘default’ reinforces prejudice and invalidates the experiences of many individuals relationship sand sexualities. 

Virginity is just an idea, and ideas should evolve. It is time to recognize the sexism, heteronormativity, and sustainment of the patriarchy that lies in the background of the idea of virginity. By reframing the idea of virginity, we can reframe views on sex and sexuality into some healthier and more inclusive. 

hi! i'm vanessa and I hope to create written pieces every now and then that can help to uplift women everywhere.
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