The Virginity Scam

Questions and discussion about your sexual lives, choices, activities, ideas and experiences.
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The Virginity Scam

Unread postby RadiantRay » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:41 pm

I used to think that losing your virginity happened (I'm a cis female) when a penis entered my vagina. But as I discovered and explored my sexuality, that definition feels really uncomfortable to me now. If someone asks when I lost it, I don't know how to answer. When I had oral sex? Vaginal sex? My first orgasm with a partner?
So I'm wondering two things.
1. How do you personally define virginity?
2. Are you uncomfortable with the wording of "losing" rather than saying you decided to have sex?

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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby al » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:15 pm

Hi RadiantRay!

These are such good questions to be asking. We have an article exactly about breaking down historical misconceptions about virginity - have you read through Magical Cups and Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context yet?

Personally, the first time that I had intercourse was with someone with whom I ended up being in a pretty unhealthy relationship, and who hurt me quite a bit. Thinking back on it doesn't feel like a particularly special or fulfilling experience, and so I don't really place much value in that idea of a "first time" being all that important. Similar to what you said, at the time I might have referred to it as "losing my virginity", but since then, I realized that there is a whole lot of emphasis placed on that first time, and about penis-in-vagina sex, when there are a whole lot of other special and fulfilling sexual experiences to be had.
Instead of focusing so much on that one particular milestone, I like to think instead about the various experiences I've had that felt special or important, because of who they were with, or how it felt to be vulnerable, or the ways that I felt good in my body or my heart. Have you had any of those types of experiences that you think back on fondly, or that feel special in that way?
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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby Gone.Sorry. » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:36 am

My answers are rather short, so sorry if you were looking for something longer!

1. Subjective patriarchal concept of female purity rooted in misogyny and cisheteronormativity. Virgin could possibly be a useful term in certain circumstances if there were not so much stigma and negativity attached to it.
2. Yes, "losing" implies shame and some sense of impurity - and encourages people to feel that way about themselves after having sex, even if they enjoyed it. Decided to have sex is much more empowering.

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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby Amanda F. » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:39 pm

I've really been enjoying a tweet that's been making the rounds (originally by @lottydoes). Text follows:
"losing/taking virginity"

-turns sex into an object
-places pressure on the decision
-you don't actually lose or take anything ?

"sexual debut"
-all focus is on u
-suggests a musical number is involved

For my part, I think virginity is actually a harmful concept and I've really tried to distance myself from it. We all have first time experiences - I remember the first time I did plenty of things! First time I had a sleepover with friends, first time I went to college, first time I drove a car, first time I did yoga... why don't we apply "virginity" to literally anything else? With sex, virginity is frequently used to pass judgment on people.

We can think of it as "losing" but that suggests there was something valuable that was lost (and I think this will mean different things to different people, and can depend on how first sex experience goes; I'm thinking of this in a consensual context). I would much rather think of my value as inherent and permanent. Nothing valuable can be "taken" from me. Instead, with first times of any kind I can *gain* an experience, hopefully pleasure, wisdom, and other good things.

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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby tomatopotato » Wed Dec 18, 2019 3:42 pm

I'm thinking of virginity (or rather sexual debut) as a cluster of different sexual experiences. Some I have made, some I haven't yet and some I don't want to make ever. I for myself would not consider myself a virgin, since I dislike the word and have made my sexual experiences - it doesn't need a penis to have a valid sexual experience. I have a great sexlife with myself and in my opinion that counts as much as partnered sex. It's different but all valid. For myself I'd say I'm going to have my debut in partnered sex if im engaging in actions that feel sexual to all involved and are enjoyed mutually. (Big emphasis on ENJOYMENT here because nobody needs to have any kind of sex to prove themselves of to "just get it done". And honestly, that's what sex is about for me. Absolute pleasure. I'd rather have really great sex rarely than crummy sex just for the sake of having sex a lot.)

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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby Minnie&Me » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:26 pm

I don't see it as losing it, I see it as a boy taking it. And when I say taking it I mean a penis in my vagina. Two boys have fingered me, one of them was not planned and the other one was, but I still see myself as a virgin. I like the title of virgin anyway, I just like it for some reason and I plan on keeping it like that.

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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby Heather » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:33 pm

Hey, Minnie, what do you think about thinking of this, though, as something no one "takes" from you? After all, in healthy sexual relationships, no one is taking anything (or giving anything, really, either): instead, we're all sharing things and creating experiences together.

Switching the way you think about this -- so that being a "virgin," since it sounds like that's a word you like, is not about having something no one has yet taken as it is about not yet having shared certain experiences with someone else -- might help you pick the kinds of partners where you're more likely to have something great than something...not.
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Re: The Virginity Scam

Unread postby SamAnnVB21 » Thu Dec 19, 2019 8:59 pm

Hi RadiantRay,
As far as your own personal experience is considered, I think you should answer it as just that. Your own personal experience/journey. "Virginity" can be complicated, after all it is a social construct/concept. So, I think you should define that in a way that you're comfortable. Nobody should decide when that was, except for you. Our society likes to form labels, such as "virginity", which are sometimes helpful, but can be just as harmful in some cases. For example, many people also tend to think of "virginity" as penetrative sex between someone with a penis and someone with a vagina, but this isn't true for many queer/LGBTQ+ people. As for your other questions:
1. I think it is up to every individual person to define their "virginity". Many people think of it as the first time they had "sex". This could mean oral, vaginal, anal, or simply making someone orgasm or orgasming with another person. For some people, it may only involve sexual touching with someone else. The traditional meaning of the term is becoming more obsolete. I think that's great! Sexuality is so diverse, not one definition fits everyone. So, I think it is up to the individual to decide what "virginity" means to them, if anything at all.
2. I prefer to say "sexual debut" or "the first time I had sex", personally. I find it to be more positive, but still gets the point across. "Virginity" typically implies something is "lost" or "taken". It enforces the idea that women are meant to be pure in some way. It also sort of reinforces the double standard that men are "cool" for not being virgins, but women are "impure" for doing so. However, if someone uses the term "virginity" in conversation with me, I understand vaguely what they mean and I don't blame them. It is a widely understood term. Still, educating others about the power and connotation behind these words is important. That's why it's great that we have these discussions on a platform like Scarleteen! :)


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