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The Virginity Myth – The Lies That Shaped Me and You

“Some feelings that I think should be taught? What it’s like to feel safe. Relaxed. Ecstatic. Joy. Because you’re gaining an experience, not losing an identity.”

virgin

For as long as we know, the concept of virginity and ‘losing’ one’s virginity has been used as a tool to control people as well as oppress them. It is of great importance to remember that the idea of virginity is conceptual. It is a social construct, not a scientific term.

A social construct is an idea created by society. It is how we make sense of the world. The norms and traditional ideas associated with virginity are the product of these social constructs. Losing one’s virginity doesn’t have any relation to whether or not the individual is a sexual person. The traditional concept of sex and virginity runs deep in society and it is of extreme importance to understand why they are damaging.

It’s Sexist

The concept of virginity tends to affect everyone in a negative way but at the same time, it is evident that it has been heavily focused towards women for the longest time. A woman’s virginity or ‘purity’ is considered paramount in patriarchal societies as it is used as a method of transferring wealth via marriage. The idea of virginity also disregards a woman’s sexuality and her needs for sexual pleasure.

Virginity Testing 

Virginity testing is still apparent in many places in the world. This an extremely unjust reality for some women. The practice of virginity testing involves checking whether the hymen is still intact. The idea of carrying out such tests not only violates the right to privacy but is all extremely flawed in its accuracy. A broken hymen does not suggest that a women has been vaginally penetrated.

Highly athletic girls tend to break their hymen as a result of heavy exercise as well. Thus, the existence of a hymen in order to test one’s virginity is an idea which is completely inaccurate.

In 2013, the Supreme Court of India ruled out the two-finger test which suggested that if a doctor could fit two fingers inside a rape victim’s vagina, it means that she had consented to sex.

This virginity test completely violates a woman’s right to privacy, results in emotional trauma as well as damages the dignity and integrity of a rape survivor. Similarly in Georgia, another tradition named Yenge is widespread which requires the groom to show a bloodstained bedsheets to his relatives as a proof of his bride’s virginity.

Rejection of Premarital Sex 

In many societies, safeguarding the virginity of girls and women is seen as imperative. But such an ideology in turn puts girls and women at risk of more violence, abuse and assault – as she is living in society that believes a woman’s worth lies in the sexual behavior she engages in. The woman is suppose to be pure (a virgin) before marriage.

It Harms Sexual Development 

The idea of virginity reinforces the idea that one’s sexual purity is something that is preferred or valued. It points towards the idea that someone who is not a virgin is dirty and impure. One’s virginity often leads to them feeling pressurized to have sex and due to the taboo around premarital sex, they also feel as though they have to abstain from sex.

Such contrasting views and ideologies around virginity become a starting point for sexual shaming in out youth. Sexual development is harmed as well as schools do not teach children about sex. Whatever children are taught, it usually has certain religious undertones and are thus more harmful than useful.

Why are we ‘Losing’ Something

The idea of losing one’s virginity indicates that someone has inherently ‘lost’ something which was previously a part of them and their way of life. Having sex for the first time should be seen as gaining a new experience contrary to losing something important. Many individuals find the idea of experiencing something new only once to be limiting or oppressive.

Sex and Self-Worth

As we know, the concept of virginity stems from a strong moral as well as religious background. In our society, virginity still tends to give value to an individual’s sexuality in ways which are harmful. Many still believe that virginity makes someone more desirable while others tend to believe the opposite.

Similarly, there is also a lot of pressure around how one’s first sexual encounter should go – many expect it to be life-changing and thus feel inadequate when it doesn’t go up to their expectations. There is no talk about negative first sexual experiences which ends up creating a lot of self-worth concerns for many.

It Reinforces Heteronormativity

The penetration of the vagina by the penis is usually considered as the only valid form of sex and is viewed as the desired destination for all sexual encounters. There are other ways of having sex which should be considered as normal, healthy and valid.

If we wish to use an all inclusive definition of sex – which is – any intimate activity that one finds sexually stimulating. Many believe that queer sex does not count. Heterosexual vaginal sex is often privileged above other sexual acts as it is associated with reproduction. The problematic concept of virginity often ignores the experiences of queers.

It is apparent that the concept of virginity has pertained as a social norm within our society even after the progress it has made. Virginity is clearly a myth and a social construct which can be rejected.

What do you think?

505 Points
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Written by Anushka Kapadia

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Ishita dharwal

Amazing article