As women, we are constantly navigating contradictory ideas about how we should be. We are expected to be be sexy, but also “pure”, experienced, but also innocent. That women should be made to feel dirty or naive based on the arbitrary notion of virginity is totally horrible. And guess what?
Virginity is a social construct. Not that I’m a virgin. Gross!
The choice to have sex or to not have sex is personal (I choose to do it, and have done it many times, with boyfriends). But when society speaks of women having sex, the decision to not have sex (which I can’t relate to) means one thing, and the decision to have sex (which I can certainly relate to) means something else. I ask you: Why is a woman who enjoys sex (hi!) seen as promiscuous, while a woman who doesn’t have sex (not me) is seen as prudish? Women can’t win! (To be clear, while I have only experienced the sex-having side of this equation, I can appreciate both perspectives.)
We as a society should question the concept of virginity: Why are women pressured to retain it? Why is heterosexual vaginal sex valued as the only “real” loss of virginity? Why do we use the word “lose” in virginity discourse, as if it is either a loss of innocence or a shedding of skin in order to achieve maturity? Are virgins gay? These are all questions worth asking.
Society places a huge amount of pressure on women to label themselves as a virgin or not (the second one is me). As if one word could define ones experience! As if anything meaningful about who you are and what you believe could be explained by one three-to-twelve minute activity (I’m around six)! As if you need to have some deep-seated reason to wish to abstain from intercourse (I have no reasons; I have lots of sex)!
It is clear that we, as women, are in a never-ending war against labels and societal expectation. And I am coming forward right now, as an ally, to say that the idea of virginity is socially construed. I am someone whose opinion you can trust, because ladies, I’ve been there. Sorry, was that not clear? I’ve had sex. Yikes. Of course I’ve had sex. I’m not twelve.