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Virginity: What’s Your Definition?

In the article “The Cult of Virginity”, Jessica Valenti describes the issues women face with their sexual status of being a virgin. Valenti begins to explain her first experience of sex with her boyfriend and how she felt, as well as how it shaped every other occurrence that had to do with sex. She does a great job in analyzing this “virginity” issue that society has from her own experience, as well as how confusing the entire issue is/should be to others. Valenti begins to question what the root word of virgin really means, and what does it mean? Im sure many people have their own definition of it, yet it seems to be a universal concept and is undirectly understood that being a virgin is being pure, but shouldn’t we define virginity before you link it to purity?

The standard definition of Virgin in the dictionary is “A person, typically a woman, who has never had sexual intercourse”. Yes, even the dictionary attributes this to only females, is this because the world does not expect a man to be a virgin, or is it because there is no way of knowing if a man is a virgin or not?

Maybe this is because there is no truthful way of finding out if a man is still a virgin or not, and historically the way to prove a woman to be a virgin is if she bleeds during her first sexual encounter; this is caused from breaking of the hymen in the vagina. However, many younger women are prone to the breaking of the hymen in a physical accident of falling or injury. Would the world then consider them to have lost their virginity? Would their future husbands believe that they did not bleed because of some sort of accident rather than having sex before hand? These are all the confusing questions that I myself question and am unable to answer. Many argue that this has nothing to do with whether you are considered a “virgin” or not. Losing your virginity, in many people’s eyes, is participating in sexual intercourse. So does this mean that you may participate in unlimited oral and anal sex and still be considered a virgin in society?

My personal thought on this is that there is no real way of having a universal definition of virginity, and if there was, it would be too bias to be correct. There are many situations that a woman can fall in which may or may not label her a “virgin” and in actuality, I believe, only she has the right to decide to label herself a virgin or not. A female could have had her hymen broken and may not even know, and will get a world of dread by her future husband (if that is important to him) and he may or may not believe her when she says she had not had sex before. Another female could state she is a virgin, have intercourse for the first time and bleeds, as she is supposed to, yet has had many sexual encounters involving sexual methods other than intercourse. There are also females who have not had the hymen broken, have not had any source of sexual encounter, and still do not bleed. Thus, just as there is no standard method in proving a male is a “virgin” or not, there really is not a standard way to prove this for females either.

1 Comment

  1. falmuhan says:

    I agree with you that there isn’t a standard way to prove if a female is a virgin or not. But, unfortunately some cultures don’t really understand that and view a women as virgin only if she bleeds during sexual intercourse.

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