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defining virginity

V-Card Diaries: Lucy "Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much?"

Writing from: The USA

Age: Late teens

How I define Virginity: Never engaging in physically intimate and consensual contact with a trusted individual(s)

My definition of virginity has changed so much recently. I used to think a person could do everything but PiV and still consider themselves virgins, but that's kind of changing.

I'm 19, 86%-hetero-female, and I've been with my (first) boyfriend for almost 2 months. I never dated in High School and honestly didn't expect to find someone even here at college. Although I consider myself an outgoing person and I've reached bro-status with many of my guy friends, I've always been awkward around/about boys I like.

My boyfriend was my first kiss and he is a really great guy. He's had a little more relationship experience than me, but we're both still "virgins" (in the widely accepted penis-in-vagina sense of the word). Recently we've done more hands stuff and its been great. We're both inexperienced, but learning together. I've gotten him off a few times now; however, he's "failed" to do the same. Even though I've been masturbating since my early teens, I've never actually orgasmed. Am I missing much? Am I abnormal for not "getting there?" I don't really care if I don't get there, but should I?

Note from Trixie: One of the main reasons people have any kind of sex is because it gives them pleasure–and orgasm is certainly high on the list of pleasurable sensations. So, yes, you might be missing much if you've never orgasmed! If you're near a lady-friendly sex shop like Good Vibrations, Babeland or Early To Bed, we'd suggest you drop by and talk to them about a toy or technique that might help, either for you to try alone or with your boyfriend. I realize that may be mortifyingly embarrassing, but they are orgasm professionals and would love to help : ) There are also lots of websites that can help, like Betty Dodson, the queen of masturbation. Good luck!

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Find The V-Card Diaries here on most Wednesdays.

Ask Trixie: Does just the tip count as sex?

I was hooking up with a guy and we were both drunk. He had whiskey dick so he wasn't fully hard so when we tried to have sex it wasn't working... But I'm pretty sure the tip went in a little... Possibly even up to half way... But I'm thinking it was more just the tip of anything.... Does that count as sex? I thought it didn't... But since I can't fully remember what really happened it worries me. I don't want to have to count it. But I'm not sure if it really does or not. Thanks. –P

Hi P and thanks for writing! I'm reading two issues here so let's start with the first one. Some people ask a 'does this count' question because they want to know if they've lost their virginity. Others want to know how to talk about what happened with a particular person. I'm not sure which you're asking about, but I've answered a similar question before, so I'm going to incorporate part of what I wrote then.

Firstly, based on my own encounters with a 'whiskey dick,' it doesn't usually go up anywhere. But your question has more to do with what 'counts' as sex, and this kind of question is always tough to answer because different people have very different ideas about that. Is it a penis in a vagina? Is it getting naked with someone? Is it thinking impure thoughts? Is it masturbation? Based on definitions of virginity that people have sent us, sex means very different things to different people. 

The question I want to ask you is why is it important to know whether you’re you've had sex or not? Is someone making you feel bad about having (or not having) sex? Do you think it changes your value in some way, depending on what the answer is? (If you’re living in a community where the answer to your question can have serious consequences, I’m so sorry. All I can say is you need to do what you can to keep yourself safe until you’re away from that community and have more freedom.)

You've probably been told different things about what having sex might mean. Please know that it doesn't make anyone clean or dirty, pure or used, hot or not. So maybe you had a penis tip inside you, or maybe you didn't, and if you feel it doesn't count as sex...it doesn't. There's actually no rule book, and furthermore it's nobody's business but your own. Personally, I don’t believe there’s one specific magic sex moment that suddenly changes us. It's just part of a long series of moments, some good, and maybe some we wish hadn't happened.

Which brings me to the other issue I want to mention (putting on my concerned Aunt Trixie hat) which is the fact that you and your partner were so drunk you're having trouble remembering what happened. That means you were probably too drunk to give each other proper consent for what you ended up doing, too drunk to think about safe sex of any kind, and too drunk to remember anything else that might have happened, sexual or not. Believe me, I've been there, and we both know that it makes any situation riskier, no matter what you're doing.

I hope this helps put things into a bit of perspective, and please write back if you have any follow-up questions! 

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie hereind Ask Trixie here on most Mondays.

V-Card Diaries: Flowah Bomb "My story is more of a series of questions because I feel lost"

My definition of virginity:  

Something you hold on to and don't want to let got but if and when you hold in to it for too long you don't know how to let go

Here's my story:

My story is more of a series of questions because I feel lost. I considered myself a virgin since I never had vaginal intercourse, but what about oral sex and does masturbation count? Does that count on the virgin not to do list?

I am 24 going on 25 and I have come close to losing my virginity once but I stopped it because I felt it was not my time yet, like a fruit not ready to be picked just yet, so I stopped the events. Now I feel as thought I did lose my virginity that night. As he has a part of me that I can never get back.

Most people do tie their identities with their virginity and I, unfortunately am one of them. I don't know how to be with someone and my fear is that I won't ever get it. I fear I won't know how to define myself if I lose my virginity. Everyone around me has "lost it" but I am terrified of losing it and wanting it back. Thank you for your time.

Hopefully I will get some answer to these questions and all the others I have one way or another.


Note from Therese: We talk a lot about how to (and if to) define virginity on this blog. If anyone has any thoughts or answers for Flowah Bomb, please leave them in the comments below. 

If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.

 

 

 

Ask Trixie: How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity?

How do I impress my girlfriend to allow me to take her virginity from her since I'm also a virgin and kinda on the short side and I don't know what to do during sex – Smoke198

Having sex for the first time shouldn’t be about impressing anyone. And virginity is not an object sitting in someone’s pocket, which means it can’t be taken or given or anything like that.  So, can I change the question to: How do my girlfriend and I decide we are both comfortable and enthusiastic about having sex for the first time?

Only you and your girlfriend will know when you’re ready to have sex, and you’ll only figure that out by talking about it. Take your time, make sure you can trust each other, can talk to each other, feel comfortable with each other. This might take a while, but keep in mind it’s not a race to the finish line. It’s a long process and intercourse is just one part of it. Go slow. 

If you’re thinking about having intercourse, I’d definitely suggest trying some something else first that might feel less intense or intimate. And when you’re comfortable with that, try the next thing. (A lot of women say that manual or oral sex (you giving and her receiving!) is more fun than intercourse. And it’s often a better way for her to have orgasms, so bonus points for doing more of that. 

Another reason to take things slow is that your girlfriend might be nervous that penetration/intercourse is going to hurt. For some people, it does, but often it’s because they’re not relaxed or lubricated enough. I wrote about that here.

Check out a great article from our friends at Scarleteen that has advice for how to talk to your partner about sex. You and your girlfriend should also check out Scarleteen’s Am I Ready For Sex checklist.

You also mentioned you don’t know what to do during sex. Well, no one is born a good lover. It takes some practice, good information, and good communication with your partner to know what each of you think feels good. 

And finally, if she really doesn’t feel ready to have sex with you, that’s totally her choice and you need to respect it. 

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here.

V-Card Diaries: Paola "I want to enjoy my sexual life without having to worry about being labeled a slut, bitch, whore or thirsty."

Today we're highlighting Paola in the US who does not want to be a virgin anymore. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am a 17-year-old female in the US.

How I define virginity:

I define virginity as a three element process in which your sexual life is started:

1-Physical

   Where your body is being adjusted to the physical feelings of having any kind of sexual contact with another human. Most societies value this physical quality as the only element to being a virgin, especially the act of breaking the hymen.

2-Mental

   Mental virginity deals with the view of innocence. You may think you are not innocent if you already lost your physical virginity, but there is still mental virginity. It consists of being at the peak of innocence because of the presence of love...that desire to be connected with the one we love will make our innocence reach its peak in a sexual encounter, first one or not.

3- Moral

   The morals that a human is taught often do define virginity. But whether you're Christian, married, single, a millionaire, famous, or even the best person in the world, we all have sexual need. Our moral virginity is lost when we understand this: we have sexual needs, we need to satisfy them, and it  is a natural process that will never change. Society has tried to change our nature as humans by defining virginity, promoting innocence towards sexual topics, and pressuring women to satisfy this need.

Here's my story:

I am a "virgin." I don't want to be a virgin anymore. I want to enjoy the physical pleasure of sex. I want to find that special person that will make my innocence peak to its maximum. I want to enjoy my sexual life without having to worry about being labeled a "slut," "bitch," "whore," "thirsty," etc.

Women feel less guilty about losing their virginity, but is that the conversation we need to be having?

 

Image via Rise, Rebel, Resist tumblr

As someone who's been working for years to bust mythologies and change the conversation around virginity, I give a serious hooray for reducing guilt around first intercourse for women. Writing about a new study,  Salon reports in "Science: Losing your virginity isn’t as awkward as it was 20 years ago":

"According to a study from the University of Illinois, young adults have felt better and better about their first-time sexual experiences for the past 23 years, with the difference between men’s and women’s emotional responses to early sexual intercourse decreasing over time."

And this:

"The researchers discovered that gender differences in response to virginity loss diminished greatly over time, which they suspect might be “because of a reduction, in general, of social regulation of female sexuality and in the double standard” of sexual expression for each gender."

It's no surprise that women are feeling less guilt and shame around becoming sexual. They have more agency to choose how, when and why they'll become sexual. (Thank you, Feminism) Women know more than they ever did about their bodies and how to get pleasure from the experience (Thank you Scarleteen and the other fantastic online resources). And maybe, just maybe, the guys are paying more attention to women's pleasure as well. (Thank you again, Feminism).

But, as writer Jenny Kutner points out:

"It’s important to note, though, that men do still exhibit more positive responses and experience more pleasure than women — also because of the “reduction” in the policing of women’s bodies and not its complete obliteration."

Reduction, not obliteration, and I'd argue in the last 8 years, some significant increases. There's the $1.5 billion worth of inaccurate, sexist shaming  from Abstinence-Until Marriage programs, and the near constant stream of slut-shamingrape cases dismissed or hushed up, and legislative attacks on women's reproductive rights and resources. Young women are also facing more pressure to have sex (call it prude-shaming?) and then get a steaming pile of mixed messages like the always-popular 'be sexy but don't have sex."

Even comprehensive sex classes don't talk much about how both women and men can get pleasure from sex, or how to ask for and respect consent. A woman having pre-marital sex may be more acceptable than in the past, but so is having your own bank account and keeping your last name.

One thing that continues to be frustrating is using intercourse as the sexual benchmark for these studies. Why are we measuring the start of sexuality by a penis going into a vagina? First,  it's a heterosexual framework, leaving out a chunk of the sex-having population. But also, our V-Card Diaries story collection is full of young women writing that everything they did pre-intercourse was pleasurable, but intercourse itself was a let down.

No surprise: that's not how most women orgasm, especially when they're first starting to have sex. But the study insists on measuring women's pleasure by how much they enjoyed intercourse, and then they're actually surprised that it's so low. Please let's stop selling intercourse the big sexual prize for women and recognize there are lots of ways to have sex that don't involve a penis in a vagina. 

The progress is great, but we need to keep working to change the conversation about women, virginity and sex to one that's not only non-judgmental, but also recognizes diverse sexual experiences, and puts consent and pleasure at the top of the must-have list.

MagicWand

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An interview with Elizabeth Raine, America's latest virginity auctioner

Raine
Raine

I just did an interview for Nerve.com with 27-year-old American medical student Elizabeth Raine, who is putting her "virginity" up for auction on April 1st. Readers of this blog know I've been following this phenomenon for years, and like every other woman doing this kind of thing, she's getting a lot of sleazy, breathless tabloid coverage. I was glad to learn a bit more about her, and to talk to her about how virginity auctions affect how we value women for their sexual status, and how they perpetuate virginity myths and stereotypes.

As I say in the intro, I talked to Liz about the kind of guy who’d pay good money to be the “first penis in,” why you can’t prove a woman isn't a virgin, and how to negotiate boundaries when your first sexual experience is with a total stranger. Here's a short excerpt where we get into some of the issues, but please read the whole thing at Nerve.

Which brings me to the question of what “virginity” means to you. What are you auctioning? I think losing virginity is having heterosexual intercourse for the first time. If you are referring to another type of intercourse it needs to be clarified, for instance “I lost my oral virginity.”

So what do you think the appeal or fascination is for a guy? What do you think they think they’re buying? For some reason or another it is a sexual fantasy [to have a virgin]. In some cases, I think they want to take on the role of sexual teacher. In others, they just want to try something new. And then there are some men who are just attracted to the idea of an untouched woman.

I always assumed it was the desire for “first penis in” like planting your flag on uncharted territory or something.  Men are very competitive and territorial creatures.

I sometimes think that if men are stupid enough to pay for a social construct, let them. I can't disagree with that.

I really hate the mythology virginity auctions perpetuate. As long as there hasn't been a penis inside a woman, she and her body have value. But once that happens, she has none. No one auctions off the second time they have intercourse.  Well that's not necessarily true, women with all levels of sexual experience are selling sex somewhere. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I do think it is more of a continuum than you think. Men preferring less 'promiscuous' women is not a phenomenon limited to virgins.

They are, but adding the #virginity seems to increase the value exponentially. I'm not sure Natalie would have gotten much interest if she had already had intercourse and was offering the second time to a lucky bidder. Do you? I agree the value is inflated. Here is one more idea: The first time is a mystery. So, being in the position of the virgin, if you are going to lose it under these circumstances, it should pay well.

V-Card Diaries: Billy "At one point she asked if I had to touch myself to come which I replied I f***ing hope not!"

Our latest V-Card Diaries comes from Billy in Australia, who feels like experience has taught him to be a more conscientious and giving lover. Billy saw How To Lose Your Virginity on Australian TV, and the film will have another broadcast in Australia on Studio on Feb. 15, 2014. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. We'd love to run it in this blog. About me:

I'm 24, male and from Australia.

How I define virginity:

Until seeing How To Lose Your Virginity I still thought there was some credibility to the breaking of the hymen. Not as naively as some might and I knew it wasn't black and white but I didn't realize how varied and sometimes nearly non-existent it could be. Apart from that I think it has to be an objective thing, it's not wrong to classify it as penis in vagina sex, for me that was the first time I'd had extensive sexual contact with another person. Different expressions of ones sexual personality shared with others can mean just as much if not more than the standard heterosexual standard so I think the old rules should be forgotten but not replaced with new rules. The discussion/debate will go on.

Here's my story:

I was 16 years old and the girl I first had sex with was 17 (maybe 18). She was a friend of a friend that I'd met just a few weeks before the act. She had just come out of a two year relationship and was looking for a bit of a rebound fling. We hooked up a couple of times and it became evident that she wanted to sleep with me, openly as a bit of a rebound. There was more to it than just right place right time but I wasn't offended to be targeted as a means to her pleasure. When we did actually have sex I was well inebriated and it lasted much longer than either of us expected, at one point she asked if I had to touch myself to come which I replied I fucking hope not! The second time was much quicker. Overall it was funny and stupid, I was inexperienced and through experiences later on I'm glad I've learned to become (I hope) a more conscientious and giving lover. Still lots to learn, no one person is the same after all.

V-Card Diaries: HFB "I believe that if I wait to have sex when I'm married then God will bless my marriage."

Today we're highlighting HFB in Georgia, who is in a growing relationship–with Christ. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here.. About me:

I am an 18-year-old black girl from Southwest Georgia.

How I define virginity:

A virgin (to me) is a person that hasn't had sex with another being. A female virgin is a girl that hasn't been penetrated. A male virgin is a guy that hasn't put his penis into another life form.

My story:

I have a growing relationship with Christ, and I am a virgin. I believe that if I wait to have sex when I'm married then God will bless my marriage. My dream marriage is to be with someone who God has chosen for me. I just want us to be stable and happy-in our marriage, financially, and mentally.

I keep these values and this dream through temptation from guys, hormones, and through this generation's slowing disrespect of the seriousness of creating another life-form. I believe that Satan uses temptation to steer me away from the great things that he see that God has planned for me.

Although my definition of a virgin seems direct, I still have questions. Is oral sex really sex? Is masturbating sex if you don't penetrate yourself? As I said before, I'm in a GROWING relationship with Christ, and I plan on finding these things out from Him in due time.

Editor's note: Is masturbation sex? How do you define sex? Let us know in the comments!

V-Card Diaries: Shanna "I remember screaming 'I’m having an orgy!' And my boyfriend laughed: 'Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm.'

Today we're highlighting Shanna from Tel Aviv, Israel. Not only does she run a fantastic sexuality organization called You Got Choices, but she is the organizer of our Sept. 30th Tel Aviv screening. We're so excited about doing this event with her and other fantastic feminist, sexuality professionals and folks who want to talk about healthy sexuality! You'll love her story, as well as some really interesting thoughts about this whole virginity thing.  If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. When I was 16 I lost my virginity. Or should I say: that was the first time that a penis penetrated my vagina. For me, it was a romantic and joyful experience with my high school boyfriend, on a Tel Aviv beach, during my birthday. It is a good memory. I remember that I waited impatiently to talk to my girlfriends about it. I suddenly felt like a woman, not a girl. As if I entered another world, the adult world of those who understand what’s going on. I suddenly had preoccupations of women – gynecological visits, shaving, my smell. I was a real woman.

Now, more than a decade and a half after the fact, and more naughty stories in my history, I looked back and tried to understand why I considered this event to be my "loss of virginity ".  I mean, I didn’t really change at that moment. I just thought I did. Suddenly I was careful about unwanted pregnancies, but other than that, I was the same young girl: nervous, unaware, in-love, and confused. So when exactly did I lose my virginity? What exactly is virginity? And how come it is something we “lose”?

I remember in seventh grade, I sat on the sofa with my parents. We were watching a movie where someone mentioned oral sex. I innocently asked, "What is oral sex?" And the casual answer I got was: "When someone pleasures someone else with their mouth." Suddenly I got nervous.  The week prior I kissed a boy from class.  Am I not a virgin? Did I have oral sex? Back then there was no Internet and it took me some time before I could find out exactly what I did with that boy. I discovered that indeed I was still a virgin and oral sex had to do with kissing sex organs. What a relief! I'm a virgin! But my inner processes had begun. I tried to understand the limits of sexuality. Suddenly, I discovered that sex is not just penis and vagina, but the whole body is involved. If so, I asked myself, what exactly is sex?

A few years later, after fooling around here and there with the boys from class and in the scouts, I met my adolescent love. You know the one – the one to whom "I lost my virginity". Slowly, in the span of a few months, our making-out became more serious. We took our time to get to know each other's bodies, the intimacy under our clothing. Together we learned what pleasures us and makes us feel good. One particular moment is engraved in my memories. We were in his bedroom. I Hope that his parents were not home, but, back then I didn’t care. We were so in love and passionate, that the only important thing was just to be together in mutual discovery. This moment, wow - what a moment. It was then that I experienced an orgasm with him. I experienced orgasms during masturbation, but never with a partner. This orgasm was before the loss-of-virginity-penetration. It was just petting and caressing. And yet it was thrilling. I remember screaming "I’m having an orgy!" And my boyfriend laughed: "Not an orgy, honey. An orgasm. An orgy is when there are lots of people having sex together." Suddenly, I discovered the power of fantasy. His words and thoughts of something so exciting and enticing brought me to the edge, and I experienced another orgasm.

This multi orgasmic experience was an awakening moment of pure ecstasy. At that moment I learned about mutual pleasuring. If I could re-define the concept of virginity and the loss of virginity - it would be this moment. Still, defined by society, this moment wouldn’t even be considered as sex -there was no penetration. When a few months later his penis definitely penetrated my vagina, and “sex” happened, I don’t even remember if I experienced an orgasm. Probably not. Despite the romantic night, it was short lived and a bit awkward. We had no idea what to do and I remember it was with effort that he entered me. We were so focused on technique that we forgot about the ecstatic connection we had had when we just petted. Nothing really propelled us to move ahead, just a yearning to pass the social berth of losing our virginity and becoming adults. After the act of penetration we felt like “we did it!". It was exciting. But deep in my heart, I missed the intimate moments before we had intercourse; I wanted to experience the depth of discovery over and over again. Yet, now I see my "loss of virginity" to be the moment I first experienced an orgasm with a partner- twice - and found out about orgies.

Years later, I was brave with my sexual life. I chose not to invest in relationships, but rather to enjoy the sensual energy that burns within me. Because of this choice I met many opportunities to lose my virginity repeatedly in all kinds of new and delightful situations. But at the time I did not really think about my experiences as losing my virginity; I just saw myself through society eyes: I was a floozy. I did not give myself the right to think of these moments of new pleasures and discoveries as a "loss of virginity”. Many times I met self doubt and self hatred.  Just recently, I started thinking about the concept of virginity as a social concept that depresses women.  I started rethinking the concept of virginity as one in which we loss some part of our innocence as we discover some new and invigorant sensual part of ourselves. This new thought is very empowering and is it with this thought that I see my life’s experiences in a better light.

What caused the change in consciousness? Well, watching the new documentary “How to Lose Your Virginity” that dispelled the myths and misconception about women's sexuality. These myths have been around since women started having sex. Through the film I was able to piece together a deep pervasive thought – that social definitions of sexuality and virginity control women’s sexuality in a very deep and destructive way. We need to think differently. We women are the ones who should define who we are as sexual beings. We should define what sex is for us. When a man loses his virginity he usually is not defined as a new person; but, when a girl or woman loses hers, she should be careful not to turn overnight from a virgin to a whore. It is time to pass on new concepts of sexuality, defined by women, empowering women, and encouraging sexual choice.

A Hymen by any other name – in Swedish, English and Arabic – is definitely sweet.

From time to time we republish our favorite posts. This originally ran in December 2009.

The RFSU (the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) is my new favorite sexual health organization! They distribute a booklet for the express purpose of dispelling myths surrounding the hymen and virginity. And they've coined a new name to better understand this somewhat notorious part of the female anatomy: Vaginal Corona (slidkrans* in Swedish):

In Swedish, the hymen used to be called mödomshinna, which translates literally as “virginity membrane.” In fact, there is no brittle membrane, but rather multiple folds of mucous membrane.

The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman’s body throughout her life. It doesn’t disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don’t bleed the first time,” said Åsa Regnér, RFSU secretary general.

Here's their unapologetic take on the meaning of virginity:

Virginity is a vague concept based on perceptions and myths, chiefly concerning female sexuality, that RFSU would not wish to endorse. For one thing, virginity is often associated with a heteronormative view of sex restricted to penetrative intercourse between man and woman...

For another, in many languages and cultures, virgin is synonymous with innocence, the opposite of which is guilt. There is no guilt involved in having sex, and no need to feel guilty about it.

The book gives examples of different vaginal coronas as well as a diagram of the vulva, and hopes to dispel the myth that all women bleed the first time they have intercourse. Here's what they have to say about hymen reconstruction (a procedure even non-sexually active women have to ensure they bleed):

Surgery on the vaginal corona rarely solves any problems, firstly because outcomes vary, and secondly because it helps to maintain patriarchal structures and a prejudiced view of women and their sexuality...it is not possible to sew a membrane in place, to recreate something that never existed. Doctors say it’s like “stitching butter” because the tissue is soft and elastic.

The book addresses vaginal intercourse and pleasure:

For a woman to enjoy vaginal intercourse – regardless of how many times she has done it and what is being inserted in her vagina – she needs to be aroused and lubricated (wet). If she is tense and has difficulties to relax, it may hurt more. It doesn’t matter whether it’s her first, second or tenth time.

And sexual assault:

Although you can’t tell from looking at a vaginal corona whether it has been penetrated, if you’ve been the victim of a sexual assault it’s possible to find traces of your attacker. It’s therefore critical to seek medical care as soon as possible after the incident, and not to wash yourself. The injuries that doctors record and the samples they take can be used as evidence in court. Equally important is the need to talk to someone and get counselling and support to help you deal with what has happened.

The booklet, which you can download here, is written in a very friendly and accessible tone – an impressive translation job from Swedish. The best news is that not only have they translated the booklet into English, by popular demand it's also available in Arabic and Sorani (a Kurdish language spoken in Iran and Iraq). All of our hymenology posts are here.

*Anyone know the literal definition of that? Their new term for the hymen in Arabic is تاج{اكليل}المهبل، and in Sorani, the term is ئهڵقهی زێ

V-Card Diaries: Z "It didn't feel amazing like the oral sex had, it just felt kind of strange. And then it was over."

Today we're highlighting Z, a 20-year-old woman from Ithaca, NY who doesn't feel the least bit guilty that she had sex for the first time with someone she didn't know that well because she did it on her own terms. 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 20 year old female from Ithaca, New York. I'm in my junior year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges studying Social Justice, with minors in Theater and Latin American Studies.

How do you define virginity?

How I define virginity has changed for me so much to the point that I feel I've 'lost' my virginity multiple times, but still have things I have never experienced thus I am a 'virgin' for. I understand the medical idea of virginity, breaking of the hymen and so forth, but by that notion I may have lost my virginity the first time I used a tampon which was years before I had actual 'sex’ is just kind of silly to me. I consider intercourse to be breaking the virginity seal (hymen), but I know that sex and physical relations come in many forms, not all that require or include penetration, but that, at least under my definition, makes people no longer virgins. Virginity for me is about growing up. It's stepping over a threshold from innocence into adulthood, and sex is a large part of what our culture thinks makes us adults. I don't think that the loss of your virginity automatically makes you an adult, it's simply one thing in a series of events that allows you to view yourself in a different light.

Tell us your story:

Well first off let me say that I was desperate, absolutely desperate to lose my virginity. I thought that it had taken longer than average for me to have my first kiss, first date etc. and as I thought I was behind the curve, I wanted to get it over and done with. I thought about sex constantly (gotta love those teenage hormones) and thought that losing my virginity would be like a magical on/off switch that would cure my self-esteem problems and worries about the fact that I didn't have a 'real' boyfriend. I always had a number of friends who were older than me, I had gotten my first kiss from someone 10 years older than me, and in my 17 year old naivete I thought that being considered 'one of the team' made me as mature as 'the rest of the team.'

One night in October, I was hanging out at one of these older friends houses, with a few of his friends who I knew fairly well. We were smoking weed, watching TV, drinking a few beers; not doing anything particularly important. I'd been flirting with this one guy all night, and at some point we found ourselves alone in the room. Everyone else had gone to sleep, or smoke, or passed out, I'm not even sure. We started making out, and then he went down on me. Now understand this, I had only been kissed a handful of times and groped maybe once, but that was it. I had virtually no experience and a lot of pent up sexual frustration. So having a guy go down on me for the first time was beyond amazing. I'd never had an orgasm before, had read about them of course, but hadn't really been able to imagine what it would actually feel like. It felt fucking amazing.

I kept asking him to have sex with me, (thinking that while this was unbelievably good, it wasn't actual sex like I'd been thinking about it). He kept deferring, he knew I was a virgin and didn't want to be the one to lead me into my sexual life. He made me come multiple times between the weed and the late night, and first time having anything down there, it just stands out in my mind as a huge block of time of indescribable pleasure. I kept begging and pleading and finally we did it. Or rather he did, I didn't do all that much, since I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing, and was too nervous about doing something wrong. It was kind of a let down. I mean I felt it, but it didn't feel amazing like the oral sex had, it just felt kind of strange. And then it was over.

For a few weeks after that I felt horribly racked with guilt that I didn't feel guilty. I mean I lost my virginity to a friend of a friend on the first friends couch; both of whom were older than me, I was stoned, a little tipsy, and you know what? I didn't care at all. I still don't. I lost my virginity on my own terms, when I wanted to. I wasn't forced or tricked into it, even if others think I was. I wasn't hurt, I was careful, didn't get sick or pregnant. It was simply over. The amount of relief I felt at just having done it was overwhelming.

I've had enough sex since, to know and respect the difference between sex just for the sake of sex with someone you don't know well or at all, and sex with someone you like or love. Sex with someone you care deeply about is extremely special, beautiful even in how it makes you feel. But, at least for me, your first time doesn't have to be this magical expression of love. Losing your virginity is awkward, it feels strange, you don't know if you're doing anything right, or even if you're doing it wrong. I feel lucky that I lost it with someone who knew what they were doing, even if they didn't know me. My society tells me I should feel guilty for how I lost it, but I don't. Not one little bit.

V-Card Diaries: Anna "Because I'm sexually aware of myself, I'm not ashamed of wanting intercourse to be for marriage."

Today we're highlighting Anna from New York, a woman who has decided to abstain till marriage on her own terms. 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 22-year-old female living in New York and I'm starting my senior year of college this fall. I lost my virginity at 20, and I've recently decided to abstain until marriage on my own terms.

How do you define virginity?

For me, first PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex. There are so many gray areas and exceptions that I could never define virginity for anyone else but myself.

Tell us your story:

I've always considered myself sexually aware and discovered masturbation in my early teens. In my second year of college I was brave enough to purchase a vibrator, which made me feel awesome about myself and empowered. I considered my sex life as a virgin very fulfilling and because of that I thought I was ready to have intercourse.

The young man I lost my virginity to was in the same major as me and we both worked at the TV station on campus. Over the course of two weeks I started exploring with him, and to his credit he stopped whenever I wasn't ready to go further. The night I lost my virginity, I was the one who asked to have sex. I was scared and nervous, which I didn't tell him. He thought I was mature and empowered (I was! but also scared and vulnerable) and he didn't think virginity was a big deal to me. The sex was not great or special; I was too nervous to enjoy myself and cried myself to sleep afterwards. I was devastated and was depressed for several months afterwards.

Looking back on it now, I know why I became depressed. A question kept nagging me: "If I am so comfortable with my own sexuality, why was having sex for the first time such a big deal that it broke me emotionally?" Right? I enjoyed my sexuality as a virgin so much and was so satisfied. But bringing another person into the equation was so much less enjoyable - why?

I can tell you now that I was NOT emotionally ready to be intimate with someone else. My ideal of being able to do whatever I pleased sexually fell short of the pressures that society (aka, my peer group) immediately slammed on me. "What?! You lost your virginity to some random guy?" "It wasn't even special?" "He doesn't even want you to be his girlfriend?" Not to mention that I had to hide all of this from my family and friends back home, so what I was originally excited about turned out to be a source of shame and lies. I found myself isolated and heartbroken. It was a really shitty situation.

The silver lining of this is that I learned a lot about what sex and virginity means to me. My "virginity" is long gone, and as far as I'm concerned, good riddance! The most important thing I've learned about myself is that just because I'm sexually aware of myself and feel empowered, I do NOT have to be ashamed of wanting sexual intercourse to be special and important, and reserved for marriage. I've heard a lot of mixed messages telling me otherwise. (If you're a virgin, you should be pure and innocent and non-sexual until marriage. Oh, but that means you're a prude. If you're sexually empowered, you should have sex whenever and with whoever you want. Oh, but that means you're a slut. All of these are lies and myths taught to us by society.)

I hope that my story will reach someone out there and help them feel like they're not alone, and don't have to be ashamed of what sexuality and virginity means to them!

V-Card Diaries: Lorelei "I'm a virgin but own a variety of sex toys that would make my mother cry if she saw them"

Today we're highlighting Lorelei, a 26-year-old woman living in New York City who believes that companionship is important to having a good sex life . 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 26-year-old female currently living in New York City.

How do you define virginity? 

I've always defined virginity the technical way: oral or penetrative sex between two people.  But apart from that, you can be a _____ virgin, like a kissing virgin or an anal virgin, etc.

Tell us your story

I'm a virgin (in the technical sense that I've never been penetrated by a penis; I own a size-able dildo and I unwittingly broke my own hymen when I was 13) who recently moved to NYC from the Midwest United States.  Not only am I a virgin, I've never kissed a man or so much as held hands.

I have a love-hate relationship with my virginity; some days I feel like the biggest saddest freak in the world, the girl who can't handle human intimacy, because everyone else makes hopping into the sack look so EASY.  It's easy for me to look at the hook-up and casual sex culture and get disappointed in society, although perhaps I don't have the right to be.

And then there's some days where I feel really proud of myself, not because I'm "pure" or anything, but because I simply haven't allowed myself to be coerced by peer pressure or media or dates into doing something I'm not sure I want to do yet.  I'm a bit of a private person, and I've personally never had the urge to sleep with someone I wasn't emotionally involved with.  I've never had fantasies of sex that didn't involve genuine love, caring, and intimacy, even the kinky ones.

I'm not one to tell people what to do, but personally I feel like sex in any other context is just people using each other (which, again, is fine between two consenting people but I don't think it's for me).  So I guess I'm not so much 'waiting for the right person' as I am 'looking for someone who values me as a person and has the mental maturity and clarity to want to provide what I need and to accept what I can provide'.  When I find someone who I like who has the capacity to care for me and accept my care for them, then I'll feel ready.  The fact that I'm a virgin wouldn't be something I would disclose to someone right away, either.  Let them earn that trust first.

I almost lost my virginity late last year to a guy I had been dating for a little while.  He had a number of red flags flying and made short work of manipulating and bullying me with the goal of doing sexual things with me. When I told him I was a virgin he was incredulous and called me names.  I felt like shit for a while but eventually I found out he had just lost his that past summer and he was my age, so I think he was self-hating and took it out on me.  Anyhow, it was a very toxic relationship that I broke off before so much as holding his hand.  Frankly I still feel like I dodged a bullet there.

I might fall to pieces the first time I have sex so I want it to be with someone I trust.  I don't have time for guys who think I just have a nice rack, because guess what? When I take my bra off they sag and so he'd better be able to love that part just as much.

I don't sleep around, drink, or smoke, but I swear like a sailor and I own a variety of sex toys that would make my mother cry if she ever saw them. I've explored my own sexuality very thoroughly, I just haven't found someone I want to share it with yet. I want companionship because even though sex is vital to romantic relationships, the novelty of it does wear off.  I also think that girls who have sex "to get it over with" (and I've known a few) are missing the point of sharing that intimacy between two people.  Sticking to your values is most important. I'm going to make some guy very happy, even if I don't meet him until I'm 40 (I really hope it doesn't take that long, though).