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Vir-gin-ity n., adj., and adv.?

I can’t believe that I hadn’t thought of virginity as not being real before. Because of what Jessica Valenti wrote in The Cult of Virginity, virginity hasn’t lost its sacredness but seems to take on a new role; it is not just a noun and adjective but also an adverb. Along with that is the behavior that is valued amongst the women in our society that serve as sex symbols.
First of all, “virginity” in its broad term means that technically it is heterosexually exclusive. I don’t want to explain in this blog why that is, but take my word for it. The biggest problems this causes in terms of homosexuality is that one, it makes it so there is no word to give to someone that has taken part in sexual activity and two, it takes away from homosexuals having their “virginity” to even be able to give to someone. And that really sucks so I guess it is safe to say that it also serves as a noun.
Now is virginity a real thing or not? According to this reading and other definitions virginity is a real thing, but when you have technically lost it is still much clouded. The actual meaning may not however be as important as what cultures determine it to mean and therefore, the amount of importance they give to it. How the meaning of the word is viewed by the person that has lost it varies even wider.
In order to determine how valued virginity is, can we use our own society’s most desired women in order to determine this? Valenti used examples of women that were are viewed as sex symbols such as models and singers to examine what it was about them that made them so desired. The way I interpreted it was that men desire the traits of a non-virgin, while still being a virgin.
I completely disagree with Valenti’s opinion that this “ideal virgin” has to belong to a particular race (white), or that she has to be a member of a certain socioeconomic status (any but low-income). I don’t think that a guy is really going to be searching for someone that particular. Studies have shown that men like women that possess youthful and energetic traits so I kind of agree with Valenti saying that she cannot be overweight or that she must be eager to please, but only up to a point. The bottom line is that virginity might not be a good word for what it describes but at the same time, means so much more than its current definition.


  1. lyndseyhage says:

    This really put things into perspective for me. I never thought of things that way. I always looked at it in a way where when a women loses her virginity, her hymen is ruptured through male penetration the first time she has sex, and for a male, he would lose his virginity the first time he has sex as well, but now after reading this, I can redefine my previous thoughts, because if a woman is sexually active with another woman and her hymen remains in-tact, she still is not a virgin because she has engaged in sexual activity.

  2. sgadille says:

    Yes this article was a big eye opener for the way I looked at virginity too. I think that the best way to rectify this would be to either change the word “virgin” or to come up with a word with a definition that gives everyone the right to say that they have “lost it” after a passionate sexual experience with a partner.

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