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Virginity is a social construct

Virginity is a social construct

Original art by Eva Träum


I remember being a virgin, it was a thing. You were still a virgin or no longer one after "your first time". My first time had to be, in order to qualify, vaginal penetration from a man. That was the deal, I would be a virgin until a man had sexual intercourse with me, then I wouldn’t be anymore.

It was also very important to treasure it, an important thing that you owned, for you to give away to someone worthy of it. You could only give that gift once, so it was an important choice. Ideally it would be special, you know what a mean, candles and all that jazz "you are going to remember your first time forever" people kept repeating. I have just realised that I don't remember my first orgasm, I guess If I were taught about treasuring that instead I would, but that wasn't in the films, books or conversations. The only thing worth treasuring, remembering and planning was the time a penis got inside your vagina. Period.

I am not going to lie, I got one of those first times that we are sold in juvenile TV shows as perfect. It was my first real boyfriend, I was deeply in love with him, it was his first time too, clear enthusiastic consent from both sides and checking on each other, I was 17 and sure of what I was doing... all great, the kind of sex that I hope both my kids have some time, not in their first time, but in general in their life. I kept having consensual good sex with that partner, as you should, and it was as important every time as it was the first time. Funny enough consent and mutual respect is not a one-time only.

I don't think you need to be deeply in love to start having sexual relationships, and by that, I mean the large variety of things that compound it not just a heteronormative and phallocentric act. Sex is much more complex from every angle, and the importance we give to that one act in the context of a sexual lifetime is insane and it takes away much more than what it gives.

We rush ourselves into it because it feels that we shouldn’t be virgins anymore at a certain age, we have unreal expectations about what happens after, who we become after, we idealise or fear that moment listening to so much confusing information from everywhere, we are told to wait, but not too much, that you bleed, that it hurts, that is the most important sex you will ever have. Lies.

If someone had ever asked me before “I lost my virginity” if I was sexually active my answer would have been no, but the truth is that by then I have had great orgasms by rubbing myself on top of a guy while making out. How is that it never counted? Those times in which I just followed my body and worried just about my own pleasure while my partner had their trousers on were, a lot of time, more pleasant than "real" sex. But for society that is not really sex, for me it definitely wasn't.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. It is the only act that can get you pregnant, and that is important, very important. But what if the way we deal with that biologic reality were through information and access to contraception instead that a whole mystic construction? What if we talked to our boys and girls about the importance of being safe and not about keeping yourself for the right one.

Putting that much value in what is going on under our pants is absurd and the idea of a penis being so utterly important that can change who we are as women and how we define ourselves is even more absurd. But we all bought into it, I know I did. I cared, it felt like something important (so important that I told my parents the morning after in a completely weird act of oversharing).

Women’s sexuality is not something perishable and fragile, it is not a gift for someone who deserves it, it is not always heteronormative, it is not a one-time thing; it is not something that we need to protect, it is not where our worth resides in. Women’s sexuality is something that we need to educate ourselves on, to give value to, to respect; and not just that one time, but every single one of them, forever.


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