Ask Me Questions

August 23, 2012


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fuckyeahsexpositivity:

How the heck is virginity a social construct? I’m confused, but thanks for the suggestions
 Anonymous

Well, think about it this way: what do people perceive as making you not a virgin?

Is it breaking a hymen? Well, that doesn’t work, because hymens as we think of them don’t exist.

Is it being penetrated? With what? Are tampons the same thing as having sex? Isn’t virginity supposed to be about sexual experience? What about masturbation? Am I no longer a virgin if I penetrate myself? If my partner uses their hands? What if my partner doesn’t have a penis? Am I forever a virgin if I only have sex with women? So that doesn’t work because it’s so impossible to pin down.

Is it penetrating something else (for people who don’t have vaginas)? What? Is it just a vagina? What if I’m a gay cis guy who doesn’t like having anal sex and only ever gives and receives blowjobs and handjobs? Does that make me a virgin? So that doesn’t work, either.

Is it having sex? What counts as sex? Some people count blowjobs as sex and some people only count PiV sex as sex. And a whole lot of things can give you an orgasm. So that doesn’t work because there’s no one sex act for everybody that defines virginity.

So not only are those ideas about virginity complete and utter bullshit, let’s look at the societal expectations around it:

Virgins are innocent and don’t know about sex. BULLSHIT. People who are virgins can know just as much about sex as a person who’s had it.

Guys have to lose their virginities as soon as possible; girls need to hold on for it for as long as possible. BULLSHIT. Not only is that a huge double standard on its face, not only does it ignore QUILTBAG and nonbinary people, but why is it shameful for guys to not have sex and shameful for girls to have sex? That’s severely fucked up.

Losing your virginity makes you lose something. BULLSHIT. Lose what? It doesn’t make you lose any inherent value and it doesn’t change you as a person at all.

And the really big one: virginity is the only thing that matters in your sexual development. BULL. SHIT. Why is there no word for someone who’s not a virgin? Why don’t we place just as much emphasis on losing our virginities as we do communicating with our partners or masturbating for the first time or any other number of things that are just as important in a sexual relationship as the first time having sex?

The fact is that virginity is an outdated construct that placed value on women for their bodies, because in a society where property passes from father to son, it is more important for the women to not bear illegitimate children than it is for the men not to create them. Therefore a virgin could be guaranteed (in theory) to only bear her husband’s children, as opposed to a nonvirgin, who could possibly be pregnant with some other guy’s kid. This is sexist bullshit.

For the record, that’s why I use “sexual debut” instead of “losing virginity” where I can. Because you can decide when your sexual debut is and doesn’t rely on heteronormative ideas of sex, your sexual debut can be anything you want.

—BB

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