I want to wait, but he's pushing (literally) and I'm not sure what's going on!
Sarah replies:My boyfriend is respectful of my wishes not to engage in pre-marital sex, but lately, he has been teasing me with his penis and sometimes applying pressure "down there." Then I always make sure he doesn't push any further, but a few times he has pushed a little bit into my labia. But lately, I have been wondering I have lost my virginity...have I?
Virginity, in and of itself, is a societal concept not a medical one. Certainly there used to be the thought that as long as a woman had a hymen, she was a virgin (and unfortunately some people still subscribe to this belief). However, a hymen is just a thin bit of tissue that partially covers the entry to the vagina. And generally, much of it wears away during adolescence anyway through any variety of normal activities (tampon use, menstruation, masturbation, activities, etc.). So for the most part, by the time a woman is engaging in partnered sex, she's likely lost much of any hymen she ever had. Since virginity is not really a medical thing, it's up to you as an individual to decide what you want to do with the concept of virginity. If you want to define it as not having engaged in intercourse or penetrative activities, that's up to you. If you want to define it as not engaging in any sexual activities, that's fine too. If you want to entirely throw out the idea of virginity, that's also alright. What you decide to do with the idea of virginity is really something you can personally consider. Just remember that no matter how you cut it, it's unwise to think that virginity (on its own) is a protection from STIs or pregnancy. You may find the following articles helpful:
- Magical Cups & Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context
- 20 Questions About Virginity: Scarleteen Interviews Hanne Blank
The second, bigger issue that it sounds like your partner isn't respecting your limits. So it sounds like it's time to sit down and have a little talk about that. You know, a lot of people like to throw around the term "premarital sex" even though that's pretty subjective (just like "virginity"). When you say you do not wish to engage in premarital sex, you really need to lay out for your partner exactly what that means. Are there certain activities that are okay and others that are not? Are you avoiding all sexual activities? Are there certain scenarios that you want to avoid? Without being specific about exactly what we mean, it can be difficult to be clear about what our limits are. If you've already been specific with your partner about what activities are and are not okay with you and he is simply not respecting those boundaries, then it's probably a good idea to step back away from sexual activity for the moment. Even in sexually charged situations, good partners are aware of our limits and they respect those. If he is simply ignoring your limits or trying to push you to go beyond them without your discussing and agreeing first, then that's not cool. It's not safe to be with partners who don't respect our boundaries. So if that is the case, then it's probably a good idea to step back until everyone can respect the established limits. Where you set the boundaries in your relationship is entirely up to you, but it's important that they are things that you are comfortable with (and it does not sound right now like you're comfortable with what's going on right now) and that you have taken appropriate steps to keep everyone involved safe. Do be aware as well that if you're having unprotected, direct genital contact, there are both STI and pregnancy risks associated. If you are going to be having direct genital contact, condoms really should be a must. You and your partner would probably also do well to start having regular sexual health screenings. But overall, it sounds like it's time for a heart-to-heart with your partner and working out some of these issues.
You may find the following pages helpful as well:
- Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
- Sexual Negotiation for the Long Haul
- 10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self (at Any Age)
- Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist
- Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To
- Safer Sex...for Your Heart
- What's the Risk? Easy Pregnancy Risk Assessments
- STI Risk Assessment: The Cliff's Notes
- Condom Basics: A User's Manual
- Birth Control Bingo!