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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » The big "V"

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Author Topic: The big "V"
bigbywolf
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The virginity one.
Before I continue I want to state that I want this topic to be a safe space of any persons view. Why question is, pretty much, do you personally think that the "importance" and pressure put on the concept of virginity in this day and age is valid? Do you agree? If so, why? If you do not agree tha virginity is hugely important and special, why not? I personally have a very definite opinion on this, but would love to see what others have to say.

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OhImpecuniousOne
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I don't think it is, really. I do think that doing something for the first time, when it's something you're excited about and looking forward to, is a big deal, so I totally get the whole fuss around someone's "first time"... although, naturally, you can always ask "first time for what?", and some people don't have a first time so much as a series of times which gradually add up to "Oh, hey, I've had sex now!"

But that's about one person's subjective experiences. Virginity as a characteristic of a person is way overemphasised. I have had sex, but I know that there are people out there - huge numbers of them - whose sexual experiences have been massively different from mine, just as different as the experiences of those who haven't had sex - so singling out "virginity" as being more different, or different in a special way, doesn't make much sense to me.

Honestly though, although I think that conceptually the idea of virginity is a bit silly, I don't object to it in its own right. I do object to all the social and cultural bullshit that's attached to it, though, and given that the idea doesn't have any useful function but does lead to huge problems - shaming people for their sexual decisions, a culture of mystification around sex, sexism, huge worry and stress and anxiety for many people - I think we would be better off without it, just because on balance it causes more harm than good.

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bigbywolf
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You share my viewpoints almost exactly :-) that was very good to read and you have some really solid points. Thank you!
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Heather
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I think I've shared mine pretty widely in content about this on the site, but if you want more on this from me, give a shout, and I'd be happy to pitch in. [Smile]

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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bigbywolf
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if you could link where you've said it most prominently that'd be incredible! If you've typed it all once before, I can imagine you might find it tedious to type it all out again :-)
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Heather
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Probably not so tedious, but here you go as some places to get started:
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/politics/magical_cups_bloody_brides_virginity_in_context
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/how_can_women_who_sleep_with_women_know_when_they_have_lost_their_virginity
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/three_on_virginity_ideals_and_regrets
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/my_friend_and_i_are_both_virgins_but_he_isnt_feeling_good_about_it_anymore
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/my_culture_insists_on_virginity_did_i_break_my_hymen_with_masturbation

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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acb
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I think that the idea of virginity and people being virgins is not very useful because I'd like to think that we're past people being defined by how much sex they've had and if we're not past that then please, can we hurry towards that as a society?

That said, I still think that 'first times', whether those are a cumulative set of experiences or one big event, are important because they're a person's first foray into sexual experiences shared with someone else and, given that there's likely to be a bit of fumbling and uncertainty if you're new to it all, it's good to have that with someone you trust and someone who isn't going to push limits or take advantage of you.

Perhaps loss of virginity isn't really what I'm thinking about and rather 'the beginning of sex'.
For me, I never felt like I was a virgin before I had sex or that I lost anything when I did, rather that when I became sexually active I gained a new method of self expression and interaction and that becoming a part of my life was important to me. So perhaps I think that the whole idea of transitioning from being non-sexual to being sexual is something that our society should acknowledge as significant but take account for that in a positive 'gaining something' way rather than 'losing virginity'. Obviously, someone can be a sexual being without having sex but I feel like the previous connotation of virgin is this whole pure-as-the-driven-snow no desires thing which signifies someone being pre-sexual in some sense. And I guess that masturbation or beginning to feel sexual desire would come under becoming sexual too so the understanding would have to cover that as well.

Slightly on topic but not really, I have this little dream of a parallel reality where people have coming out parties, where, at a certain age when they feel ready, they get everyone together and announce they now feel like they are ready for sex to become a part of their lives and they reckon that at the moment they are gay/ straight/ bi/ pan/ whatever. And then everyone cheers and they have cake. It seems like a much more fun way to do it than having to pluck up the courage to come out or being described as having 'lost' your virginity. [Razz]

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OhImpecuniousOne
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I think that someone self-defining as a virgin can be useful as a communication tool, but in the sense that I could say "I'm a bookworm, Dr Who fan, computer geek, not generally a sports fan, not a virgin" and all of those would be about on a par in terms of importance.

But yeah, I do object to the whole language around "losing your virginity" or "giving someone your virginity" - the former more than the latter, I guess - and there isn't really another way of saying "first time" within the framework of the word virginity. Which is quite telling, really, since it means that when you're a virgin you're Something, once you've had sex you're either nothing, or you're in such a default state that we don't even bother having a word for it, like being cisgender a few years ago.

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bigbywolf
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"Perhaps loss of virginity isn't really what I'm thinking about and rather 'the beginning of sex'. " is a really really good way to look at it, I think, because it takes away some of the harshness that goes with saying you have "lost" your virginity and instead puts emphasis on "gaining" a new aspect of life. I suppose you could compare it to a person getting their period, that's seen as a big step into puberty, not a step AWAY from being a child. That's kind of an abstract parallel, but I hope it's still a little bit relevant haha
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OhImpecuniousOne
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Yeah, I totally agree with that.
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