Unzipping the Myths | Issue 18

Unzipping the Myths | Issue 18

The Virginity Myth

So there’s this myth right, and it goes something like “your virginity is actually a really big deal”. 

Do you know how much bearing your virginity has on your value as a human being? Approximately absolutely none. “Virginity” barely stands up to the weakest inspections. What exactly do people mean when they discuss virginity? Usually, a person will be talking about the first instance of penis-in-vagina sex that someone has. Which, honestly, is boring as hell. 

This  definition also ignores every other form of sex — and believe me, there are plenty. Oral sex? Anal sex? If you engage in those, but don’t put a penis in a vagina, are you a virgin? Are queer and non-heterosexual folks virgins forever? 

There is no such thing as medical virginity. Unless something has gone wrong, no doctor can tell if a penis has ever been inside a vagina, mouth or any other orifice. The “hymen” that people love to use as a factual indicator of whether a vagina-owner has had sexual intercourse is greatly exaggerated.

The hymen is simply a membrane that is stretched across the vagina — and they’re all different. It’s not a thick barrier that is broken when a person first has sex; if that were the case, menstrual blood wouldn’t have an outlet, and tampons couldn’t be inserted. Some barely exist, the opening is so large, and most tear in everyday life, long before sexual activity. 

There’s a weird dichotomy with our attitudes towards virginity: masculine folks are told they are weak, pathetic, “not a real man” if they don’t “lose it” as soon as humanly possible. Feminine folks, however, are told that virginity is a gift they should think very hard about before “giving” it to someone. 

You don’t “lose” anything when you make your sexual debut. You gain a (hopefully) pleasant, if slightly awkward, experience and you learn more about yourself and your body. You can put any value you want on your virginity. It doesn’t change you as a person. 

When you feel you’ve made your sexual debut (whatever that may mean to you), you are no longer a virgin. If you feel like you haven’t, then you are.  It doesn’t define you — you get to define it.

This article first appeared in Issue 18, 2015.
Posted 3:20pm Sunday 2nd August 2015 by T. Antric.