What does it even mean?
There was a question milling around twitter earlier this week about virginity. I have a problem with virginity. It’s not that I have a problem with the concept, it’s that I have a problem with the definition.
To answer questions about virginity you have to decide what it actually is. It’s one of those words that is considered to be so obvious that nobody ever seems to think about it.
It’s when you first had sex, right?
When you’re a teenage boy you know exactly what that means: it was the first time I had sex, I put my cock into a girl’s cunt and I came. But that’s surely an incredibly narrow definition of virginity. Do you have to come to lose your virginity? Does that mean one of you can lose your virginity and not the other at the same time? I’m pretty sure the girl I was with didn’t come. But she lost her virginity, too. So orgasm isn’t part of the definition. At least not for girls. And why should it be a different standard for men?
What if I had sex but didn’t come? Would I have lost my virginity? Of course I would’ve told my friends that I had, but it would’ve been a disappointing cherry-popping, even more than they usually are. Truly anti-climactic!
So if it’s just about penetration and not orgasm, should anal sex count? I think most people would be viewed as pushing the definition to its limit if they claimed to be a virgin but had enjoyed anal sex with a number of partners. Would it be the same for men? If teenage me had anal sex with my girlfriend, but not vaginal sex, would I still be a virgin or not? If I had anal sex with my boyfriend I wouldn’t be. If I’d been the bottom, I wouldn’t be. So why would a girl be?
Certainly I would think that anal sex would fail any of the mediaeval purity tests that some cultures expect and “virginity” originally represented. Although in Bible Belt America, anal sex is often considered a get out clause, enabling young couples to have sex without the technicality of losing virginity. I would think that that’s cheating on the definition a little.
But then what are we saying about the definition of virginity if anal sex for heterosexuals counts as losing your virginity just as it surely does in the gay community? Does that mean any penetration with or without orgasm means you’ve “lost it”? Why not oral sex, then? That’s one person’s cock inside somebody else and (maybe) coming, right?
Even if we decided on the definition as any penile penetration, what about female couples? Are we saying they can’t do anything that “counts as actual sex” just because they don’t have a willy between them?
It seems that we all have a unthought-out notion of what we think virginity is, and we all have a pretty clear idea of the occasion that “counts” for our own maraschino moment.
So it’s not even a simple mechanical calculation of “Woohoo, it’s in!”.
And we have to ask ourselves about the types of sex we having, because I think it’s fair to say that the kind of sex I have now is the same order of magnitude different to the sort of sex I was having as a teenager, as it is to a teenage hand job.
Ultimately, I take issue with the idea of “Losing your virginity.” Sex in all its forms is great. I love it. Oral, anal, vaginal, hands, mouths, tongues…. My life is enhanced by it, not diminished. So what exactly did I lose by having it? Whatever I decide “it” is!
© Charles Rochester 2016