Losing Virginity Is Good… No Biggie… Shameful
By Anna Oseguera
About a year ago I was talking with a friend of mine, “Maria,” and the topic of sex and virginity came up. Maria said that when she was 18 years old a male friend of hers offered to “do her the favor” of taking her virginity.
That puzzled us. “Do her the favor” of taking her virginity?
Did he think that she couldn’t find anyone to have sex with because he thought she wasn’t attractive enough? And why would she want to lose her virginity, anyway? Isn’t virginity a good thing? Something to be saved until marriage?
A little later the topic of sex came up among some other friends of mine. Still curious, I asked the guys how they felt about virginity from a sexually active male point of view.
Losing virginity: something to get out of the way
The guys basically seemed to say that virginity is something you need to get out of the way. And that once you lose it, it’s no big deal.
One of them said he wouldn’t mind taking mine so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore!
I was shocked that someone would think of virginity as a burden.
I straight up told them that I neither worried about it, nor thought of it as a burden. I simply have not found the right person to share it with. And I’m not the type of person that would give it to just anyone.
They were puzzled as to why I wasn’t trying to get it over with already.
Virginity means nothing?
Increasing my perplexity, I read “The Cult of Virginity” by Jessica Valenti. The part that really got me was where she said that virginity doesn’t really exist. And that there is no real medical definition for it. People have been making assumptions about its definition this whole time.
For instance, some people take virginity oaths and then do oral or anal sex to avoid losing virginity thru intercourse. But if having intercourse constitutes losing virginity, then gays and lesbians can never loose theirs, right?
When I read this I remembered what the guys were saying, that they didn’t think virginity was any big deal. And now I find out that there isn’t even a clear medical definition? It kind of made me feel sad. As a virgin, I wondered what the point of it all was, anyway?
Growing up, I was taught that virginity was something to be treasured. Something to one day share with your significant other on the day you vow to be together forever. So I had planned to hold out for the right person, and have sex for the right reasons. Not just rush into things.
But now Maria and I began wondering: After everything we were taught growing up, why didn’t anyone care about it anymore? Or, had it really meant something in the first place?
Losing virginity: shameful
But even as I heard that virginity meant nothing, I also remembered high school, where rumors were spread about girls who messed around with this or that dude. After a guy got what he wanted from a girl, her “value” went down.
And I have seen a friend’s broken heart after some guy did her wrong. She thought it meant something but he didn’t.
Or, some of my friends thought that they needed to stay in unhealthy relationships because they had lost their virginity to the guy.
On the other side, if a young woman didn’t have sex she was a tease.
A double standard that disempowers women
One thing that I can see is disempowering for women is being held to a double standard that says men are free to have sex but women should not… Or should… Or … who knows????
It’s disempowering to be in a confusing, no-win situation.
I suppose that the way to become empowered is to follow my own sense of what feels right for me. Regardless of what anyone else says.
This was written by one of my students who asked me to use pen name.