Skeptic Schism | Issue 4
Men are expected to be physically unaltered through losing their virginity, but women are still often expected to have physical changes. The hymen is a thin membrane of skin covering the vaginal opening — its presence in many traditions is considered evidence that a woman is a virgin. However, the hymen varies in shape and form, with some hymens covering nearly the entire entrance to the vagina and others being barely present at all. A hymen may not even be detectable in a “virgin” vagina. A hymen can be broken through activities other than penetrative sex, such as exercise. In many cases, if the woman is properly aroused, her hymen will often stretch to accommodate a penis during penetrative sex and return to its original shape. Only rough sex or a lack of lubrication will damage many hymens.
The traditional definition of loss of “virginity” is through penetrative vaginal sex, so a woman could have sex with other women her whole life and still be a “virgin”. Having oral or anal sex may or may not be considered “losing your virginity” depending on who you talk to.
Penetrative vaginal sex may not lead to female orgasm, even after years of sexual activity. So a woman who has never had an orgasm can be considered a non-virgin by having a man orgasm by means of her body. If the reverse were true and a man was considered a non-virgin only when a woman had achieved orgasm through penetrative sex with him, a man could have sex for his whole life and still be a “virgin”.
If virginity were to be defined as a person achieving personal sexual gratification, then what would losing your virginity entail? Achieving orgasm through penetrative sex? Penetration by an object? Any kind of sexual contact with another person? On your own?
The whole concept of “virginity” is outdated and meaningless. If a person wishes to partake in or abstain from sexual contact with another person for any reason, that is entirely their business. They don’t need an antiquated and sexist label imposed on them by a ridiculous tradition.