Having sex is not equivalent to moral or physical loss

“Have you lost your virginity?” 

This question has been asked a thousand times and it comes with incredibly damaging connotations. 

The idea of “losing your virginity” has become normalized, but the use of this phrase perpetuates a plethora of problematic ideas. Whether it’s their purity, pride, morality or worth, this phrase primarily suggests that when a person has sex, something within them has been lost or damaged. Virginity as something a person “loses” implies sex is in some way a negative or devaluing experience. 

This idea has been imposed upon women countless times.  

Historically speaking, ‘virginity’ became a commonly used word in the mid-1800s, specifically applied to women. A female was considered ‘pure’ and ‘intact’ if she remained a virgin until marriage: any premarital sexual relations would label her as tainted or morally corrupt. Virginity was used as a means of controlling a woman’s sexuality, commodifying her body as a reward for whomever she wed. 

Though the ramifications of non-marital sex have lessened, virginity is still an overly prominent concept today.

Along with being largely heteronormative and vaguely defined, the notion of virginity is viewed with a level of importance that’s sometimes exacerbated to a questionable extent. Popular content doesn’t help.  A vast number of movies, TV shows and books all play into sexist narratives that overemphasize female virginity and demonize sexually active women who deviate from the perceived ‘norm,’ while contrastingly shaming men who aren’t. 

The importance of a person’s first time varies — for some, it’s a huge decision. For others, virginity isn’t that big of a deal. 

Either way, that’s okay. For the first time and every time after that, having sex is a personal choice to be made on your own terms. The circumstances surrounding sex are up to the individuals involved, whether that be before marriage or after. 

But virginity isn’t something to glorify: it’s not a prize, or something to be rid of. Sex is simply one part of many in a person’s life.  Acting as if an individual’s sexual choices are a legitimate avenue by which to judge them reduces someone’s value to a single aspect of their life.

Sex is meant to be an act that’s done when you’re ready and responsible enough. The significance associated with it will vary from person to person: whether it’s with a one-night stand, your partner or your spouse, it’s up to you to define the importance of the experience. 

Whenever that decision is made, consensual, comfortable and enthusiastic sex is both enjoyable and healthy: it’s anything but a loss.  

 

Sarina is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a fourth-year English Major. 

 

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