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V-Card Diaries: AFG "The virgin/not-virgin dichotomy ignores the importance of self-love"

Today we're highlighting AFG in Pennsylvania who first heard the word virgin in church and promptly asked her mom about it. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Tell us about yourself: I'm a 24-year-old grad student working on a Master's degree. I grew up in a happy, loving, supportive family in Southern Louisiana. I've never been involved in a romantic relationship. I've been told that it's because I don't "put myself out there." Part of that is a fear of rejection. Another part is that I'm the kind of person who takes a while to warm up to new people, and that gets interpreted as being shy and reserved.

How do you define virginity? When I was young, I asked my mom what the word "virgin" meant and she responded with "Where'd you hear that?" as if it was a bad word. When I explained that I'd heard it in church, she relaxed and said, "it's someone who's never loved anyone before." This was my confusing standard working definition until age 9, when my parents gave me and my sister a frank but extemporaneous sex talk and they defined losing your virginity as p-in-v. Currently, in my more nuanced worldview, I think virginity is when you have yet to have a sexual experience that involves the participation of another person. So, you're a virgin until you share your sexuality with someone else.

Do you consider yourself a virgin? I consider myself a virgin because I have yet to kiss someone or let someone touch me or have a sexual, physical exchange with anyone. It's not just that I haven't had penetrative sex, it's also the fact that I have never engaged in any physical demonstration of sexual desire for another person. To go back to my mom's original definition, I'm a virgin because I've never loved anyone before.

Any thoughts on virginity in our society? I think the concept of virginity in our society is really confused. I think some people value it too much, others don't give it the importance that it probably does deserve. The thing that irks me about how people perceive virgins (especially the older ones). It's assumed that virgin means non-sexual and it's not true. I've had many sexual experiences on my own, getting to know my own body with masturbation. This virgin/not-virgin dichotomy ignores the importance of self-love and self-satisfaction that's been an important part of my life and my sexuality and that I think will be an asset if I ever do engage in partner sex.