Cosmopolitan magazine: a publication that has been an advocate for female sexuality since well forever. While I love it, I was never able to relate to many of the articles, then flipping through this year’s August issue I came across a book excerpt, from a book, about at 21-year-old virgin, finally something I could relate to. And then I read it.
Being a 21-year-old virgin in the age of the hook-up is not something that is easy and although it is ultimately my choice to be this way that does not mean that I always enjoy it. Virginity seems to have this inescapable focus on it whether it was bringing shame to your household for not being one in the middle-ages or going out to the bar still being one in the 21st century. It seems weird that a tiny piece of tissue can create this apparently huge gap between a girl and her peers, but it does, because that is the power that we have given to an idea and have taken away from women and girls everywhere.
It makes you feel insecure, it makes you feel as though guys won’t like you, it makes you scared to tell anyone because then they know you’re different. Do you risk telling a guy right away and having them reject you? Or do you wait and hope they aren’t just looking for a hook-up? Or do you just avoid trying to meet guys altogether because it all kind of seems hopeless? It’s a near impossible terrain to navigate and I finally thought that a publication was coming to the rescue, albeit in the form of fiction, but I’ll pretty much take whatever I can get at this point. And then I read this line: “I was finally a normal student.”…because she had lost her virginity? No. That is not okay. That is not okay. THAT IS NOT OKAY. That book excerpt you just published? It just called me a freak, it called me abnormal, BECAUSE I MADE A CHOICE ABOUT MY BODY. It reaffirmed every awful feeling and thought that my brain comes up with on its own. It made me feel less than.
So while I appreciate the publishing of a book that deals with the theme of the loss of virginity at a somewhat escalated age, I don’t appreciate the content. Turning virginity into something that a girl bases her self-worth on is wrong. Turning it into some sort of achievement is wrong. And while I know that wasn’t the goal of neither the excerpt nor I assume the book as a whole, that is what it accomplished. I thought the sexual revolution was meant to promote the freedom of choice for women not to reverse rolls. We can’t go from shaming girls for being sexually free to inadvertently shaming those who are chaste. We can’t claim that one is normal and the other is abnormal because it is an individual choice. The actions or opinions of the masses should have zero influence on when I have sex, how often I have sex or if I have sex at all; because it is my choice. And I refuse to feel put down, less than or abnormal for my choices any longer.
Virginity is an idea, in most cases it’s an intangible idea. I am a person, I am a human being and I am taking that power back.