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V-Card Diaries: CHR "We're taught that our value as women depends on how desirable we are"

Today we're highlighting CHR in Italy, who discusses the meaning of a hymen, letting go and the value of independent choices. 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 21-year-old Italian girl. I'm a student in philosophy. My family taught me a strong sense of responsibility towards myself and others, so I've always been very demanding about the nature of relationship I wanted, and I was never able to "let me go," even just a little. Moreover, I find it easy to express my opinions or ideas, but very hard to communicate my feelings - it scares me too much. So, I've never being kissed, never been in a relationship, and I'm a virgin.

How do you define virginity? I would say that someone is a virgin because he or she has never reached the point where you totally trust someone, and you're able to completely give yourself to the other person, to love by letting yourself be loved. It doesn't necessarily translate in penetration, but it sure involves body and pleasure.

Do you consider yourself a virgin? Tell us why. I consider myself a virgin, because I've never lived the experience I previously described. I see my virginity as a "not yet opened to someone else" kind of state.

Any thoughts on virginity in our society? I think virginity is seen both as a value and as a fault. Virginity as a value comes from the ideal of being "pure," as opposed to the idea that a woman having sex because she wants to is a slut. This is a cultural construct. At the same time, being a virgin means you aren’t sexually desired, in an age when we're taught that our value as women depends on how desirable we are. Still, the fact of having a hymen or not says nothing about the person. Being able to make an independent choice about your own sexual life is something that must be seen as a value, not the result of that choice.

Anything else? Even if I know that I'm single and a virgin mostly because of my will not to live empty or shallow relationships, I start feeling the pressure, like something in me isn't working the right way, and I hate this clash between my own thinking and "cultural" pressure.