Can we please all relax about virginity? I’m being serious. I’m aware that virginity is important to some people – and good for you, if that’s the case – but even if you hold your virginity close to you, I think we can all agree that there are some awful stereotypes about virgins and virginity that need to die. We put too much moral judgement on women based on how much sex they’re having or not having. Last I checked, judging women based on their sex lives is categorically wrong and anti-feminist, so why is it suddenly okay to judge virgins based on their sex lives? Most of the stereotypes come from those who are ill-informed about what virginity is and why some people may be virgins (even those who ‘lose it’ after high school – gasp!), but a lot of the more harmful microaggressions I’ve seen have some from otherwise sex-positive feminists, which is just offensive.
If a virgin is simply someone who hasn’t had sex, then that begs the question of “what is sex?” The universal definition we tend to use to describe “sex” that divides virgins from non-virgins is penetrative sex (AKA a penis going into a vagina). If that’s the case, then I guess a lot of sexually active gay men and lesbian women are virgins, which doesn’t really make sense.
Also, why do we associate being a virgin with being pure and innocent? This makes it seem like not being a virgin means you are the opposite – which certainly isn’t always true. There’s a whole culture revolving around purity – weird daddy/daughter balls included. The construct of purity is even harmful to survivors of sexual abuse and assault and for some reason, placing moral judgement on a woman’s sex life is totally cool so long as it’s praise and so long as she’s saving herself.
It’s a lot of stress and pressure over something that should be a personal choice. These 15 stereotypes about virgins and virginity need to die in a fire along with any other sex-negative thinking about what people should and should not be doing with their bodies.
1) All virgins are waiting for marriage.
Some are. Some just haven’t had sex yet. Don’t fill in gaps about someone else’s story without actually knowing him. (And frankly, why someone is still a virgin isn’t your business to begin with.)
2) Virgins abstain from sex for religious reasons.
God might not have anything to do with it. Food for thought.
3) All virgins are prudes and goody-goodies.
It’s assumed that along with never having sex, virgins are also prudish sexually and socially, automatically shutting down anything that may break the rules. They’re also stuck up and “holier-than-thou,” which is totally false.
4) Virgins can’t be sexy.
Being sexy, being sexual, and having sex, are three mutually exclusive things. There’s no freshness seal that gets broken and BAM – the former virgin is now currently sexy. Yeah, no.
5) Virgins are immature.
They’re sheltered and have not gone through heartbreak or real life issues because they’ve… never had sex before? Stop. Like that’s the one checkpoint of maturity. Like they’re doe-eyed idiots who wouldn’t know a penis if they saw one. There are as many immature a-holes who have had sex as there are capable and wise virgins. Lighten up and stop talking down to people.
6) Virgins are sexually ignorant.
Nothing takes an otherwise respected person and makes them assumed to be an idiot quite like hearing their lack of sexual experience. We’ve seen it in movies – remember Clueless? – and it’s just not real. Why do you feel the need to explain blow jobs to this person? Because they haven’t given one and you’re the Prime Minister of sucking dick? Stop talking.
7) Virgins are clingy.
Wanna see a guy backpedal so quickly you’ll wonder how he got his clothes on that fast? Tell him you’re a virgin! There’s some awful stereotype that virgins are clingers and that once they have sex with someone, they’ll glom on to them like a baby bird to it’s momma in some weird hormonal-brain-imprinting beyond their control. Where do people get this idea? It’s full on wrong, harmful to both parties, and prevents a lot of people from having sex. Also, some dicks are special, but not every dick is life changing, like a girl is going to automatically follow someone around because he put his penis inside her. Bye.
8) Virgins are too scared to have sex.
Could it be that you are to scared to have sex with a virgin? Think on that.
9) Late-in-life virgins are asexual.
Which other than being offensive to asexuals, isn’t true. Some people haven’t had sex. It doesn’t mean they don’t experience sexual attraction.
10) Virgins have never had an orgasm.
I remember having a sit-down talk with a new friend who was in a long term relationship and drawing how to find her clitoris on a cocktail napkin because she has never had an orgasm on purpose. Being sexually aware and having partnered sex are two different things.
11) All virgins are socially awkward.
They don’t know how to talk to guys, they aren’t confident, and they’re not fully living. Excuse you. No.
12) Virgins don’t give good advice.
“Ugh, you wouldn’t get it, you haven’t been there, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, but I’m pretty sure this is the third time your boyfriend’s cheated, so it’s universally justified: dump him, I know what I’m talking about.”
13) Virgins are judging your sex life.
Whether it’s a choice or by accident, no one is thinking about your sex life as much as you are. No one is judging you because you (safely) practice something they don’t.
14) Virgins are desperate and/or have impossibly high standards.
There’s two sides to solving the virgin riddle. Either accidental virgins are so picky about their partners – that’s why they haven’t had one – if not, they must be super desperate and that’s unattractive.
15) A virgin’s sex life is any your business.
Because if you’re not having sex, what’s there to talk about? How about you stop the invasive questioning and respect their privacy. Just because there’s no sex doesn’t mean that there’s been nothing and none of that means that they’re automatically okay grounds to talk about or share without someone’s consent.
Which of these virginity stereotypes bothers you the most? What did we forget to include? Let me know in the comments.
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.