“Are you a virgin?”
It seems like such a simple question – you’d think that everyone out there would have a yes or no answer. But for queer girls, it sometimes isn’t so easy to figure out this whole virginity business.
Defining virginity in anything but heterosexual terms simply isn’t what our society does. So us queer ladies are left scratching our heads, asking “Did I just lose it? Did that count?”
I know my fellow gay girls out there can relate to this all too common queer conundrum, which is why I wanted to step in to give some answers. As a queer lady myself, I’ve had lots of conversations about virginity and sex and what counts as “losing it.” I also have a couple of degrees in LGBT studies and gender studies, which means I’ve got a whole lot of experience talking about situations impacting queer people. So, step aside while I put some of that to use. I’ve got this.
“I’m a 15 year old lesbian and, like most teenagers, I’m extremely curious about what it means to lose your virginity. I know that everyone has their own definition of what “virginity” means to them. But I’m curious, if I had sex with another girl, for example: oral sex, would that count as losing my virginity? But what if one day I have sex with a girlfriend, and she says that she was happy she lost her virginity to me, but I still feel like a virgin afterwards? What would I do?”
I think the answer to this question is really complicated, but that’s exactly what makes it super interesting! Like I said before, much of how we define virginity and sex happens on heterosexual terms, so it’s easy to be confused about what exactly virginity means for people who are not in hot and heavy hetero relationships. There’s just one problem: I can’t exactly tell you what counts as virginity, much less losing it. Only you can make that decision.
Let me explain: Most people would probably say a loss of virginity happens when a penis enters a vagina, breaking a vagina owner’s hymen. But if you are a girl with a vagina having sex with a girl with a vagina, there isn’t a penis present to do all of that virginity breaking and hymen poppin’. What then? Does that make you a forever virgin? Well, of course not! But does that mean you have a super awesome opportunity to do some reclaiming of the word (and concept) of virginity? Absolutely.
I think one of the cool parts of being queer is being able to decide what sex means to you. Is it touching? Is it licking?Is it using sex toys? To your friends, it may mean all three. To you, it could mean something different. Once you figure out what sex means for yourself, you’ll know what acts count when it comes to losing your virginity. This means that, if virginity is important to you, you’ll know when you’ve lost it. And it’s all on your own terms, which is pretty cool.
It’s important to know that losing your virginity doesn’t have to involve breaking your hymen. A lot of girls break their hymen doing totally random things that don’t fall under the category of sex, like playing sports or inserting tampons. A lot of times, the hymen doesn’t break when queer ladies have sex, which is not something is worry about. So FYI: It’s probably better is hymen breaking isn’t in your definition of what it means to “lose it.”
All that being said, if virginity isn’t important to you, then you don’t even need to think about all of this! You aren’t obligated to keep track of all this if you don’t want to. Sure, we are expected to know who we lost our v-card to, and every detail of how it happened. But that’s only because our society values virginity. That doesn’t mean you have to, too. If you’re like me, you just might not find the need to define who you lost your virginity to, or how many notches on your bedpost certain sexual encounters and acts cost you.
As for the scenario where one partner feels like they’ve lost their virginity and the other doesn’t, I think that’s okay! It’s perfectly fine if you and your partner’s definitions of virginity don’t match up. Being open with your partner (no matter their gender!) about how you see virginity, sex, and sexuality is a super important part of any relationship. Open communication like this means you’ll both know each others sexual philosophy, which is some much needed knowledge for sexual partners — queer or not! Maybe your partner will want to stay away from anything physical until marriage. Or maybe they don’t even believe in the concept of virginity. The good thing about being open about all of this: you’ll know where you both stand. But be sure to respect their views, just as you’d want them to respect yours.
I think we all should see this complicated question as a way to challenge our individual thoughts about virginity and what it means to lose it. And this isn’t even exclusive to queer people. Even for straight folks, virginity can mean lots of different things to lots of different people. So take a bit to figure out what it means to you … or if you even find it necessary to quantify the whole thing!
Wishing you the best,
Got an LGBTQ question you want Katie to answer? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with your issues so she can work her advice-giving magic!
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