How to overcome the culturally oppressive notion of virginity

The concept of virginity equates a person’s worth with their sexual experiences and it is harmful for everyone. It’s time to abandon virginity and accept that a person’s desire for sex does not make them less smart, less capable or less anything.

I recall the moment I lost my “virginity” with my first boyfriend. I intended to feel love before I ever felt sex, and that is exactly what I did. I wanted eroticism to be meaningful. I wanted to feel comfortable in what I thought was the highest form of intimacy. I do not regret waiting for love, nor do I regret emphasizing the value of my first sexual experience. However, I do regret feeling insecure about my inexperience and the anxiety attached to having sex.

In this section of the Health and Sex Guide, I seek to put forth truth and break down some of the most common myths about virginity.

Women latch on to their first sexual partner after losing their virginity

I have heard this myth far too many times. My mother always warned me to take caution before having sex prematurely because I would find myself alone “under the covers” for days. She warned me that my body would dominate my mind, that I would feel a deep love for my sexual partner while he remained disinterested in me. This myth does nothing but promote female passivity and perpetuate male dominance. Women can have different experiences after their first sexual encounter; some may love their first partner and some may feel no emotional connection at all.

Losing virginity means having penis-in-vagina intercourse

I let out a long sigh every time someone makes a statement like this. By assuming that sex can only be penis-in-vagina intercourse, we are ignoring other forms of sexuality that can be expressed, including those by same sex partners.

Consider your personal sexual education and ask yourself if you were taught anything about other forms of eroticism. This myth is problematic because it assumes that only a man and a woman with a penis and a vagina are capable of having true sex.

You can tell if a woman is a virgin by vaginal tightness

Vaginas come in all shapes and sizes. Some women are born without a hymen or break their hymen while riding a bike or horseback riding. Vaginoplasty, a vaginal rejuvenation surgery, is a new alternative some women are turning to because it “restores” a vagina to being cute and tight. Many women have gone through this surgery to conform to cultural standards.

However, vaginoplasty can be a dangerous procedure; women can face lethal vaginal bleeding after their surgery or suffer severe reproductive disorders. The desire for a perfect vagina is an extension of our culture’s assumption that women must alter their bodies in order to remain attractive to men.

Losing your virginity is always painful

The reality is that sex, at any point in a woman’s life, can be painful for a large variety of reasons. The vagina is a powerful muscle that tightens and loosens in relation to sexual comfort. It is imperative to remember that a vagina needs love and care before penetration. Like a rose, it must be watered before it opens up. Foreplay has the potential to last up to over an hour before a woman is ready for penetration. Therefore, it is imperative for sexual partners to communicate with each other.

The need for lubrication is an aspect of sexuality that has a tendency to be ignored. Some people might think that only older women need lubricant, but vaginal dryness can be experienced by a woman of any age. Lubricants can provide comfort and pleasure. Investing in an organic water-based lubricant can heighten sexual experience for all parties involved.

If you’re a virgin, you’re a prude. If you’’re sexually experienced, you’re a whore.

Having sex does not make you a whore. Not having sex does not make you a prude. I encourage everyone to have sex when they choose, ignore society’s strict standards of virginity and allow themselves to embrace their sexuality in the way they choose. There is no normal or perfect form of eroticism. Define your own concept of eroticism and embrace it. Do not allow anyone to belittle your sexuality.

Remember, love is expressed in different forms, which is the beauty of it. Most importantly, remember to nourish and respect yourself.