Sex is always one of those topics that is carefully skirted. It is something you are really only supposed to talk about behind closed doors with your close friends, but virginity is stigmatized in a way that sex isn’t. Virginity was once something to be praised and not just by the religious. Today, young girls would be more ashamed to list their number as zero than sixty. The national age people lose their virginity is around 17 years old, but what happens to the people who are past the “golden age” for losing your virginity.
Does that make you less of a person? Does being a virgin mean that you haven’t watched porn or masturbated, or does it just mean that you haven’t had penetrative sex? What is the definition of virginity? Does being a virgin mean that you aren’t a sexual person? Does still having your virtue automatically make you virtuous?
I asked several people two questions. One: What age were you when you first had sex? Then: How old were you when you actually started enjoying sex? The two answers had a wide gap. My third question about what those first fumbles were like were disturbing.
“It didn’t do anything for me.” “He liked it well enough, but I tried to avoid it.”
I got varying answers of this degree because at thirteen or seventeen years old how much do we really know about our bodies?
Boys will be boys is probably the one sentence I hate above all others. It is an excuse for bad behavior in the young and an excuse for misogyny in the old. How sexuality is treated between boys and girls growing up is completely different. Boys are not discouraged from getting to know their bodies. It’s one of those “boys will be boys” things that at worst is treated as a joke. Though, the thought of a girl doing the same thing is considered disgusting or unladylike.
There is a double standard here that makes a woman feel like any pleasure she can give herself or any knowledge she should have about her own body is wrong and worse, she feels like she could be punished for it. The thought that owning a toy or talking about sex makes you dirty or a slut, teaches women to just keep quiet about it all. In a relationship, they feel uncomfortable talking to their partners about what they want or their fantasies because they’ve been taught that what they want is of no consequence whatsoever.
We need to erase the word virginity from our vocabularies because it only intensifies the view that women are objects and that having your virginity automatically means that you have something that someone doesn’t or that not having it means that you are somehow devalued. This concept, this word is used to place a value on a person that should not be there either to add or subtract from their worth. This is wrong and only continues to stigmatize sex and open conversation between two people in a relationship.
We need to end the idea that virginity and sensuality are mutually exclusive. We need to cancel the idea that a virgin can’t think about sex, watch or read porn, or know anything about her own body. We need to stop putting this virtue or persona on a pedestal, and we need to abolish the idea that anyone can take your virginity.
Why can’t we willingly and consciously go into that situation and give our virginity when we are darn good and ready to do so. Let’s stop the clock, end the stigma, and teach girls everywhere that knowing yourself also means knowing your body.