Saving our virginity. For what? For whom? Why?

In light of some of the questions I posed in the latter part of yesterday’s post, I want to talk about virginity.

Specifically, women’s virginity.

In some parts of society, it’s made into a HUGE issue. Women take virginity pledges. They even take reclaiming their virginity pledges.

Of course, all of this is aimed at women and young girls. None of it pressures men or boys, and it all centered on such vague notions as “purity” and “chastity”, and is tied up with biblical, sexist concepts of what a woman is supposed to be.

It’s another one of those double standards.

So my questions are – if our girls are supposed to be saving their virginity, who and what are they saving it for? And why?

Does it make a person a better woman somehow if they come to a relationship with no sexual experience?

Are they goods of a higher value if they have no life experience behind them? And in whose eyes is that value estimated?

Who is judging these women valuable or less valuable, and what effect does this have on their wellbeing and equality as individuals, if so much hangs on the state of things between their legs?

I prefer my partners to have experience. Many men and women I am friends with and chat to in various forums say the same. An experienced lover knows their own body and understands better how to give and receive pleasure. The only possible benefit a virgin woman can give is one in which a woman is viewed as something that is owned and possessed, and in which any other man having “used” her has thereby lowered her value.

In other words, because she has had sex, she has become “used goods”. Like a secondhand car.

Come and get your used woman...err...used CAR here!
Come and get your used woman…err…used CAR here!

And what is purity anyway? It’s an abstract concept, something someone, somewhere, has made up.

Why aren’t men held up to be “pure” too? And if we’re going to delve into religion, if purity was so important, why isn’t Jesus’ sex life ever mentioned? Was Jesus a virgin? He slept with 12 men in the garden of Gethsemane, and hung around with prostitutes. Clearly, what he did and who he slept with made him no less “pure”, if any sort of purity according to what Jesus actually did counts for anything.

Oh, but he was a MAN. So what he did doesn’t count.

protection

Of course, there’s that double-standard again.

I forgot. My bad.

Who I sleep with and how many partners I have had isn’t anyone’s business but my own. Who I happen to be fluid bonded with, and any diseases I may have are of course considerations for any partners I may choose to have, but that’s where any other person’s business ends.

Having sex with no-one, one person or thousands of people doesn’t make anyone more or less “pure”, because purity is a make-believe concept. Sex is just something we humans do, like knitting, or eating, or going for walks. And women of the age of legal consent have every right to do with their bodies as they wish. With as few or as many partners, of whatever gender they desire. And they’ll be no more or less pure as a result of their actions.

doublestandards

The whole “purity” concept is a feeble attempt at controlling women’s bodies and minds. But I ask, should other people – particularly middle-aged men – have the right to control young women’s bodies and minds? That sounds a bit creepy to me. Perverted, and mentally sick. Why are they so interested in whether young women have sex? Why are they so obsessed with it? It’s downright icky.

So what is virginity, and why does it count? Truth is, it doesn’t. Only in the minds of those who would like to control women. A lot of women don’t even have an intact hymen by the time they reach adulthood – sports and tampons and a host of other things can break it. And a lot of women don’t bleed the first time.

Virginity is a stupid concept anyway. Is a woman who has only had anal sex all her life still a virgin? What about a gay guy who has only ever taken it up the ass? (As Dan Savage famously said of his boyfriend, “I’ve been preserving the shit out of my boyfriend’s virginity for 14 years now. If my boyfriend ever decides to marry a woman — miracles can happen! — he’ll be able to wear white at his wedding.”)

Or what about a pedophile priest who has only ever abused little boys? Is a girl who is raped at the age of six “impure” and not a virgin? Virginity is outdated. It’s a dinosaur idea.

I think it’s time we threw the whole concept of virginity out the window. It’s stupid, and belongs along with the concubines and mass murders of the Old Testament.

What are your thoughts?

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9 thoughts on “Saving our virginity. For what? For whom? Why?

  1. Yes, yes, yes. This is such a refreshing outlook!!!
    Thanks for writing. It always struck me as odd that if I am a woman and I don’t care about my virginity, if my friends are women and they don’t care about theirs and indeed if you’re a woman and you don’t care about yours- then why the hell does anyone- particularly men- feel qualified to give their views on something that is essentially the prerogative of every individual woman?! xx

    1. Hi 🙂

      Well, I don’t care about your virginity! LOL

      Seriously, the whole thing is a feeble attempt to control women. Yes, it’s clothed in words about safe sex and HIV/AIDS and fidelity and self-respect and yada yada yada I’m getting bored by the rhetoric now… but the truth is, none of the advocates of virginity seem to have any real interest in supporting and advocating safe sex (i.e. maybe condom vending machines more readily available, and the teaching of their correct usage in schools from a much earlier age?), or supporting those suffering from HIV/AIDS (where are they on AIDS Day marches? Where are they at the support groups?).

      Where are they regarding advocating access to abortion, a basic woman’s right to control her own body?

      As far as self-respect, where are they regarding women’s education and advancement in maths and sciences, and the push for equality? What about supporting women’s shelters and rape crisis centres? Nup. They’re not there – they’re too busy hawking “virginity promise rings”.

      In other words, their interest in everything they claim to be concerned about – with the exception of women not having sex with anyone except a singular man who marries them – is invisible.

      I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the choir (la la laaaaaaa!) but hypocrites are annoying, aren’t they? 🙂

  2. A culture that treats girls and women as worthless if they have sexual experience, and boys and men as worthless if they haven’t, is well beyond hypocrisy – it’s delusional and disconnected from any semblance of reality.

    There’s also an incredibly patriarchal, even creepier form of the virgin pledge, which apparently is commonplace in the more religiose parts of the US, and that is father–daughter purity balls: daddy will chaperone and partner his daughter to the ball, where as part of the formalities she’ll be obliged to take her virgin pledge, while daddy promises to protect her ‘purity of mind, body, and soul’ [Wikipedia, citing a creepy website on the subject]. This is of course because daddy has the complete, final say over her body and mind, until he decides to sell her to be a helpmate to her next owner, i.e. her husband. </spew>

    1. I see this sort of thing as a feeble sort of attempt by the very minority radical religious right to fight back, knowing they’re losing massive numbers to sanity and science. Which is, in a way, heartening. Even in the US, where regular Church attendance figures are at a HUGE 41% compared to an average of about 7% in the rest of the western world, attendance numbers are dropping heavily, and the numbers attending the more radical groups are dropping in particular. Give them time to die, I say!

      The more educated a population becomes, the more these ideas are out of place and fall away. Which is, of course, why the religious right is against education. And why the current GOP, aligned aligned with them, cannot feasibly win another election, according to every figure and data set including their own.

      Meanwhile in saneville aka Australia and New Zealand and Europe, virginity continues to have less and less meaning. The last time virginity had any meaning at all in any discussion I had with peers was as a 15 year old with friends, having the whole “have you done IT yet?” discussions, complete with giggles and embarrased blushing. LOL. I hope – for teenagers sakes now – that they’re now STILL having those lame discussions!

  3. I’m saving myself for marriage of my own free will…because I figured there were plenty of people that did. Unfortunately, way too many people seem to share your opinion (which, you must admit, isn’t exactly a decision which puts you to any great inconvenience) which leaves someone who looks for a woman to share his purity with some unhappy alternatives. Instead of saying “men do it, so why can’t we?” why not be the better person, rise to the occasion to show men up?

    1. First of all, you’re assuming that being a virgin *makes* you a better person. In what way? Why? In my view, it doesn’t. It just makes you less knowledgeable, which is generally NOT a good thing. However, it *is* also a personal choice, so I’ll move along from that.

      Then there’s the issue of compatibility. It’s really, really important. As someone who has been married 16 years, I can’t emphasize how important this aspect of marriage is. And you have no clue about compatibility if you walk into a marriage blind.

      What I mean is this: say you want sex three times a week, but your partner only wants sex three times a year, there’s going to be a problem. Either you’re going to feel rejected, or she’s going to feel pressured. Or you’re going to, eventually, seek satisfaction elsewhere, which is what usually happens in these cases.

      There’s also the issue of sexual attraction. Lots of couples who wait until they’re married find that, although they get along in every other respect, they simply don’t connect sexually. They don’t find each other desirable in bed. That’s normal – not everyone is attracted to everyone they get along with socially. But if you don’t “try before you buy” how will you know this?

      Sure, marriage is about more than sex, but sex is at the core of every solid, happy marriage. You wouldn’t buy a $20 pair of jeans without trying them on for size, so why would you jump into the most important relationship of your life without checking for basic compatility at least?

      Yes, many couples waited until marriage for sex in the past – and many of them were miserable as a result. It’s up to you, of course, you might be a gambler. It’s a personal decision. But I’d advise strongly against it.

  4. The assumption isn’t mine, nor is the idea limited to sex. We value a blank canvas for its potential, a fresh and unspoilt layer of snow in a meadow, a politician who stays unstained from corruption. Those things are precious. As for “firsts”, businesses frame their first dollar, presidents throw out the first pitch in a baseball game and maiden voyages of ships are christened with champagne. The concept of inaugural excursions is new and exciting, but society in its haste to free us of our morality has deprived us of the very meaning and sacredness of the object we pursued. It’s, if you will, sexual inflation.

    Compatibility is learned, not latent. We’re flesh-and-blood creatures that grow together…not cut-outs that either fit or don’t fit. Not to say expectations can’t be discussed in some capacity, but giving yourself away to every option to see if you fit is a poor method of dating. It devalues the product, and ignores the compatibilities outside of physical intimacy that may become overshadowed by those aggressive hormones. You’re more likely to put the sex on a pedestal, rather than the partner.

    Indeed, by teasing your appetite with many different flavors and varieties, you 1) prioritize those appetites as of paramount importance and 2) introduce the different flavors that, while maybe not better or worse, are different and at times preferable.

    A great many couples who have sex before marriage are miserable as well. Sex is not the curse or the cure either way. Intimacy is not sex, and sex is not intimacy.

    Come now! A human is not a pair of jeans, nor can you compare the ultimate in human connection, the actual experience of entering or being entered, with shopping for a car.

    1. Compatibility isn’t learned, it’s innate. It’s either there, or it isn’t. You can’t force someone who only wants sex three times a year to want it fifty or a hundred, if that’s what you desire – unless you’re advocating rape in marriage?

      Sex drives are an innate thing – they’re not taught. And incompatibility issues are a major cause of marriage misery and divorce. They’re the usual reason behind the whole “they seemed so happy!” divorces, where none of the couples’ friends suspect a thing until the split. Also, putting it bluntly, if you have no sexual experience then you don’t really have any solid base from which to comment on sexual incompatibility issues. I’m not discounting your complete lack of knowledge in the area – oh! wait! I am.

      A human being is much more important than a pair of jeans. Which is why I am saying that if you bother to try a pair of jeans on, you should definitely try out the human being.

      Finally, we may value a blank canvas, but I’ll take a Picasso or a DaVinci over a blank canvas any day.

      Come back to me in thirty years, when you have some life experience, and we’ll have this discussion again.

      Cheers.

  5. Rape in marriage? That escalated quickly.

    No, of course you must assess if your values and expectations are compatible. That’s why a relationship is more of a process than a hundred questions and assessments. Ask any successfully married couple if they were fully compatible at the start.

    Again, sexual compatibility may sustain a relationship, but not for long. I think too many couples esteem it inappropriately, to the cost of the rest of the compatibility measures. And I would posit that such “flash in the pan” marriages ending in divorce occur when the sex drive burns away and people realize personalities really count. I work in a hospital. You have to have something a little more sustainable than genitalia.

    The obvious response is to say “you have no experience, how would you know?” Ah, but test-driving a dozen cars doesn’t make one a car expert. I don’t know what your educational background is, or if you’ve taken classes on human sexuality. So it depends on what you like. (Of course, by the same token, examining the sloughed off tissues of the endometrium under a microscope doesn’t mean I’m acquainted with the sensation of menstruation. But I would rather have someone trained in cars over someone who’s test-driven a few.)

    Jeans don’t produce bonding hormones. Blouses rarely give you serious infections, and test-driving a car won’t make a baby. I think you trivialize sex by comparing it to textiles.

    Ah, and if only every painter was a DiVinci. For that matter, I doubt even DiVinci, Van Gogh and Picasso would make suitable collaborators on the same work of art. Me, I’m waiting to find my DiVinci (or, the female counterpart thereof) by evaluating candidates on a much deeper level. The concept of giving almost anyone to sling some paint on the canvas *hopes* that they are a DiVinci seldom produces a priceless work of art…and leaves many ink blots that even DiVinci would find hard to work around.

    But of course, since painting doesn’t produce equal amounts of pleasure as copulation, I recognize the incentive to shop for painters. Just understand that some of us come from a bit more of a romantic perspective than that…and are willing to put our future spouse ahead of our own desires to have coitus. In that, I hope the delayed gratification in the pursuit of a higher art is worth at least a little respect, rather than mockery and dismissal.

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