Virginity has always been a double-edged sword for women. Damned if you do it and damned if you don’t.
There is no greater hypocrisy in American society than the sexual double standard for young men and women. Sexually active men are “studs” and sexual women are “whores.”
Virginity status is questioned throughout middle school, high school and sometimes even into college. Why does society hang on to such an archaic idea? Forcing virginity onto youth can damage when it comes to consent, self worth, sexual assault and sexual health. Virginity gives rise to guilt, shame, embarrassment and other emotional tropes that can fuel abuse.
Virginity is not natural.
Virginity is nothing more than an artificial social construct created to keep people – mostly women – from having pre-marital sex and staying “pure” for her husband. We are the only species that worries about such things and certainly the only life form that bludgeons their females for their sexual status.
Sex should never hurt.
There is no test for virginity, but there are plenty of weird myths.
One says that when a woman “gets her cherry popped” she will experience pain and bleeding during sex because the penetration has broken or torn her hymen.
A women’s first sexual experience should not be painful at all if she is relaxed or properly lubricated. It is not normal to feel pain.
Virginity conflicts with consent. Consent is affirmative and enthusiastic. A woman who is not relaxed may be nervous and doubting her desire to engage in sexual activity, causing her body to not properly responds to sexual stimuli and not sufficiently self-lubricated. There is nothing affirmative or enthusiastic about this.
No physical proof of virginity.
Some think that if a woman bleeds during her first sexual experience it is because the penetration has broken her hymen. If she bleeds, then her hymen was intact and she was a virgin.
A young woman’s hymen is a thin membrane located inside the vaginal canal.
A hymen can break or tear during sexual activity, but it may tear many other ways that are not sexual in the least. Horseback riding, sports or even inserting a tampon can cause the hymen to tear.
Because a hymen can tear in many different ways, it is not a marker for virginity.
Unfortunately, this does not stop many women around the world from enduring invasive virginity tests, including in Iraq.
Women who are no longer virgins are often seen as “dirty” and “undesirable” in many parts of the world. This can cause a huge problem in self-esteem to women, especially those who have been victims of rape and sexual assault.
Worse, in some fundamentalist Muslim countries, women who are not virgins are often tortured and murdered – even if they were raped. Apparently the Gods and gods of some religions no longer love their young female creations once they have experience sex, at least that is what the old male religious leaders would have us think.
Young women have the right to not engage in sexual activity if they do not want to, but they also have the right to have sex when they believe the time is right for them. There is no greater hypocrisy in our society then the praise of sexually active young men and the scorning of young women who have had sex.
Sex is natural. Virginity is not.