Popping the Cherry of the Virginity Myth
May 10, 2018
First things first, let’s address a disclaimer: virginity, the concept of not having sexual experience in the mundane sense, is a true concept.
The problem with virginity is the stigma that surrounds it and how that has become an impediment on coming-of-age and embracing sensuality.
Virginity used to only concern unmarried women because it determined their “suitability” to marry men. Here we find the sexist roots of the V-card that objectify women as a prize for unmarried men.
The problems with this idea are endless– hello sexism and heteronormativity. But essentially, the main problem with the concept of virginity is the negative culture created from being a virgin for too long.
Teens are growing up thinking they must lose their virginity before they are out of high school.
Any concept that shames youths for having or not having sex is detrimental. The culture of slut-shaming derives from a mindset that challenges teens regardless of actual sexual experience.
Breakfast Club, a film released in 1985, is famously quoted by our oh-so-relatable high school freak: “Well, if you say you haven’t, you’re a prude. If you say you have you’re a slut. It’s a trap. You want to but you can’t, and when you do you wish you didn’t, right?”
Virginity is caging in young girls who feel like they have to make quick decisions about their bodies or they will be criticized. Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t stop there. This shame culture also applies to young men. Although men are usually congratulated for dropping the “V,” if they don’t by a certain time, again stereotypes fall hard on their shoulders.
Women are either ridiculed for having sex too early (cue the slew of slut shaming names) or idealized far beyond attainability for creating a perfect model of chastity if they wait until marriage.
Many people credit religion as the motivator for abstinence until the wedding night, but how could everyone expect two people to enter a marriage– assuming it will last– and plan to remain faithful to only them without exploring a part of their relationship beforehand?
Yes, sex should not be the main reason for love or matrimony, but it is a healthy part of most relationships.This is no way suggesting that marriage cannot be healthy or prosperous without sex; asexual relationships and marriages are as valid as they are existent.
Modern day relationships should be moving away from tradionality– the stigma of moving in with a partner and exploring physical parts of relationships before marrying, needs to go.
Although abstinence until marriage for religious or moral reasons is completely acceptable, the stigma that if you don’t wait then you are impure is as toxic as it is normalized.
Here’s a fact: hymens do not determine virginity. If you are unfamiliar with that term, a hymen is thin membrane that partially closes the opening to the vagina. This iswhere we get the term “pop your cherry.” Despite common belief, a woman can break her hymen without the insertion of genitals or others items for sexual activities and can still be a virgin.
Many young women break their hymen before their menstrual cycle begins from sports like horseback riding, biking, or water skiing. Commonly, a hymen breaks when inserting a tampon.
Losing your virginity is usually viewed in a heteronormative light– this leaves the LGBT community left questioning in the dust.
In a society where we need to quantify our “first time,” people struggle with really identifying this when losing it only means a certain thing inserting into another. What about all the other ways? Who is to tell you what counts and what doesn’t?
Here lies the underlying issue: virginity is viewed as an exclusive virtue to protect and give to one opposite gendered person on a very special day, but that is not cutting it for all those not conforming.
Now is the time for acceptance of any sexual experimentation and experiences at any stage in someone’s life with any one they choose. As long as both parties are consenting, mutually benefitting, and understand the potential ramifications of their choices, then sex is okay.
The sex-positive movement is escaping the confines of chastity belts and objectifying women and is accepting of everyone’s choice about sex to create a safe, inclusive and judgement-free environment.