website statistics

virginity myths

V-Card Diaries: Brianna "I look forward to having more sex in the future. I don't know if that takes away my C-card (Christian card). I hope not"

Writing from: Fairfield CA

Age: Early 20s

How I define virginity: A made-up patriarchal idea created to monitor the behavior and actions of women and create a culture of control and oppression.

I grew up in a very conservative, Christian household. I thought purity was the highest goal to attain and I bought into the Silver Ring Thing, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and When God Writes Your Love Story courting culture up until I was a sophomore in college.

As my worldview broadened, I continued to think that I would save my virginity (at that time I defines as penile-vaginal intercourse) for marriage. I was dating my current boyfriend for 6 months when I decided to have intercourse with him. I was prepared for the worst case scenario, but I just really wanted to do it. I'd been told sex hurts for women, you'll feel  like a dirty, used bag if you do it outside of marriage, it'll ruin your relationship, etc.

When it happened, it wasn't painful at all. I didn't feel like a dirty, used rag. I honestly didn't feel any type of way about it except that it was enjoyable. For me it definitely wasn't the big deal that everyone made it out to be. I was in a committed relationship, with a loving and safe partner and I look forward to having more sex in the future. I don't know if that takes away my C-card (Christian card). I hope not.

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.

Just The Tip: Teaching Sex Ed to 4-yr-olds, Duggar grossness, Your Number, V-Myths and more...

Our weekly collection of interesting links from around the internets. Click on the titles to link. (Or, why wait? Get up-to-the minute news on our Facebook page)

Bill Nye explains The Sex

Not super informative, but how can you resist? Bill Nye's at the Museum of Sex in New York to explain the evolutionary purpose of sex. Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts STARTALK (MONDAYS 11/10c on NatGeo).


Jaclyn Friedman on Caitlyn Jenner and the complicated definitions of womanhood:

"Trans people are not magical gender warriors. We may politicize their bodies, but they are not obligated to play along. As with all of us, some may decide to become activists, but most won’t, and either way, none of them will exclusively do the most politically expedient thing every time they’re faced with a choice. Because they’re human. They don’t owe the world a revolution, or even an explanation. And they’re certainly not obligated to live up to the arbitrary standards of one random cis woman."


Inside the Duggars' Dark World

Young women are not only robbed of any sexual agency, this culture also teaches that "Women are objects, controlled and exchanged by men to create and affirm the men’s identities...Women. Are. Not. People." And it has implications for all of us. An essay by one of our fave virginity geeks, Jaime Hough.


I was interviewed for this piece (along with our How To Lose Your Virginity expert Hanne Blank) about busting virginity myths. Loved contributing thoughts along with lots of screen grabs from the film:

"Male virginity wasn't even discussed as a thing until the 20th century," Therese Shechter, creator of the documentary How to Lose Your Virginity, told Mic. "Whether a man was sexual or not had little bearing on his character or value."
"The concept of virginity is all too often tied to how we talk about women's morality and sexual choices," Shechter said. "I think people should define virginity however they want, or dismiss the concept it altogether if it's not useful to them."

Is You Sexual History As Impressive As You Think?

In other words, am I a slut or a loser? So lemme just go get a pencil. But first...What exactly does 'slept with' mean? And if our definitions are different based on which parts touched other parts, then what exactly are we comparing and tallying? And what constitutes a lot? I know, I know...this is just a dumb internet game, but can we all agree 'the number' makes no sense? Instead, why not ponder the first milestone of your sexual history with our own quiz.


In the Netherlands, sex education starts in Kindergarten

We North Americans do such a lousy job of teaching our young about sexuality. The Dutch are miles ahead of us:

“People often think we are starting right away to talk about sexual intercourse [with kindergartners],” van der Vlugt says. “Sexuality is so much more than that. It’s also about self image, developing your own identity, gender roles, and it’s about learning to express yourself, your wishes and your boundaries.”

That means the kindergartners are also learning how to communicate when they don’t want to be touched. The goal is that by age 11, students are comfortable enough to navigate pointed discussions about reproduction, safe sex, and sexual abuse.

 

Be a VirginSpotter! Got a story you think we should talk about? Contact us or tweet at us here.

Ask Trixie: What is a "cherry" and does every female have one?

Odd question, and yes I'm female. What is a "cherry" and does every female have one?? –A.

Hi A–

There are no odd questions, Anonymous, just odd slang terms! Aside from being a deliciously sweet small red fruit, cherry can also be a somewhat vulgar slang* term for:

a) a hymen b) the blood you allegedly see when the hymen is 'broken' c) a vagina or vulva d) the concept of virginity itself

In fact, it's so widely used that we picked cherries as the logo for our film How To Lose Your Virginity (see above!). So when someone tells you they 'popped her cherry' they usually mean they 'broke' someone's hymen, often followed by the other gross and meaningless phrase 'I took her virginity'

The slang is pretty useless since:

a) the state–or existence–of someone's hymen has nothing whatsoever to do with their sexual status. Or whether there has ever been a penis near it. b) not all females have vaginas or hymens, either because they are trans or they have a medical condition. c) not all females bleed when they have any kind of penetrative vaginal sex d) virginity is a just concept for you to define or reject, so it can't be taken, created or destroyed.

We still like our logo because it lets us set the stage for the thorough myth-busting we do during the film. There's so much more to say about hymens, and you can read more about that at our Hymenology category.

*There are more definitions in the Urban Dictionary, and I'm so happy that the top two totally challenge virginity myths. 

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

I challenged virginity auctioner Elizabeth Raine on the validity of virginity testing and something amazing happened

Last week, I did an interview with Elizabeth Raine, the American woman who is offering her 'virginity' for auction. I enjoyed talking to her about the myths inherent in these kinds of auctions: placing value on a social construct, the fact that what's really being auctioned is 'first penis in,' and the enduring and dangerous myth of the hymen's relationship to a woman's sexual history.

In fact, I called her out her claim that she could prove her virginity through a test. She responded by doing something amazing. She wrote a post on her blog that included the following lines:

Even among virgins, the doctor cannot always prove virginity.

The absence of an “intact” hymen never proves the absence of virginity.

And many virgins do not bleed or even feel discomfort at first penetration.

And then this statement at the end:

If you are someone who is disappointed by this news, I am so very sorry (yes, that was sarcasm). I am aware that some people want to know with certainty whether or not our young women are virgins, but whoever once said “you can’t always get what you want” was really onto something. So, instead, why don’t we stop terrorizing these girls unnecessarily – it is the height of unreasonable to dictate a bride bleed on her wedding night or pass a gynecological examination (for a virgin whore, it is a bit more reasonable). And if you are someone who would punish a woman for not doing so, then you are a big part of what is wrong with this world. And I would suggest you change yourself, a lot, immediately. You might begin by getting your facts straight on hymens.

I have some issues with her assertion that in her case it can be proven, but volunteering for exams and lie detector tests seems to be a standard component of Virginity Auction Theater at this point. Having said that, I really appreciated her doing some outreach/education for the benefit of misguided (and worse) people who still think hymens have anything to do with anything (checking a guy's testicles will give you just as much information on his history...none).

Her bidding opened today, complete with extensive terms and conditions (including not penetrating the anus of the Virgin, or treating her violently). So for those people so in thrall of the virgin/whore dichotomy that they place a premium on 'first penis in' and want to pay someone for it, she awaits your bids.

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.

What the heck is a "virginal" membrane?

"The virginal membrane, a fold of mucous membrane stretched across and partially closing the external orifice of the vagina."

Our friend Cory Silverberg at About:Sexulality came across this curious definition for the hymen in the Oxford English Dictionary. It makes sense to maybe do a  hymen=virginity in concept or culture, but–no, no–never in physical reality. As we've written a gazillion times, the state of the hymen has nothing to do with a woman's sexual history. Seriously, people!! There's enough mythology around virginity already without some respected dictionary adding to the problem. Thanks, Cory, for flagging that.