Thursday, September 07, 2006
What's the big deal about virginity?
There's a new article, blogged about here among other places, that details how hard it is for women who are virgins at 'advanced ages' to lose their virginity. Advanced age in this case being into the 30s. The article doesn't talk about male virgins, but I'm assuming they have some of the same difficulties. I'm not sure though, so if I have any male virgin readers, feel free to chime in.
The thing is, I don't see why virginity is such a big deal. You are either a virgin or you are not. You either have green eyes or you don't. You're either left-handed or not. You're either going bald or you're not. It's just one state of being, neither better nor worse than any other state. I also don't understand the apprehension of being someone's first time if they're an older virgin. Or a younger virgin, for that matter. This may be because I've been someone's first time before, but I just don't see why it's an issue. So long as you engage in any sexual act with passion and respect for your partner, why does it matter what he/she hasn't done before?
I was one of those persons who skipped the high school dating/fucking scene. First off, I terrified most of the boys in my school (and wasn't aware or capable of acting on my attraction to women just yet) and I just didn't want to chance ending up pregnant. I had plans, I had things I wanted to do and so...no sex for me. And I admit, at the time I did feel a little weird about it. Everyone else seemed to be hooking up and I wasn't, I didn't even get any offers (see: terrified boys at my school) so I thought something must be wrong with me. There, wasn't, of course, but it seemed that way to me.
I felt ancient as a 17-year-old virgin, so I can imagine how it feels to people much older than that. (And it's not all that uncommon. I have a friend, 32, a lawyer, who is a virgin. I had another friend, a professor, who was a virgin until she was 30. I have male friends in the same boat, I'm sure.) At 19, when I slept with my boyfriend for the first time, I thought I was the oldest virgin on the planet. Dumb, but that's how it felt at that age.
Our society is way too sexualized. (Duh!) We put so much pressure on people to have sex, or to not have sex or to conform to some unrealistic idea of sexual behavior. I grew up in FundyLand, so I got the No-Sex-Until-Marriage lecture over and over and over again. Partially, it stuck. Even when I was embarking into sexual activity, I was scared and nervous and ready to be struck down at any moment. I was, however, more practical than most. I didn't expect the first time to be incredible. In fact, I expected it to be terribly painful.
It wasn't, thank god. It wasn't particularly wonderful, either. It was fast and over with before I could get a real handle on what I was feeling. Afterward, I felt lied too. Not by my BF, who was great, but by all those people who made such a big, fucking deal out of virginity and the first time and how it was so important and would change your life forever. No, it didn't. It really, really didn't. All it meant was, hey, I'd had sex. I was still the same person, with the same thoughts and passions and ideas and problems and whatever as I had been before. So, what was the big deal?
The idea that everyone is running around having all this hot, crazy sex? Bullshit. Some people are, I'm sure, but I don't know these people. Their life doesn't look anything like mine or most of the people I know. Most of the people I know my age are focused on work and paying the bills, not trying to get laid. So, if someone is a virgin at 35 or 40? So what?
The truth is, if you're enthusiastic and engaged and willing to talk to your partner and find out what they like, it's unlikely anyone is going to be able to tell you're a virgin. The pressure to be amazing the first time is stupid. No one can live up to it, but that doesn't mean it has to be awful. I wouldn't have a problem dating a virgin -- unless they were hyper-religious and wanted to convert me. But that wouldn't be about them being a virgin, that'd be about them being fundyish.
Also, we seriously need to revisit our definition of sex. Just because someone hasn't had PIV sex, doesn't mean they're a virgin or inexperienced. There is soooo much sex that can be had without penetration, to limit your defination seems counterproductive to me.