Virginity. What does it mean to you? What do you think of when you hear that word?
There is no doubt that for some that word carries more importance than it does for others. While some just want to “get it over with”, others consider losing it to be an event of monumental proportions.
The one and only Miley Cyrus decided to empower women by coming out and saying that virginity is a social construct. You can find that statement flash briefly in the video to her recent song entitled “Mother’s Daughter”. I am not really sure how the title relates to the song, but the lyrics are meant to be freeing and empowering, because “My body, my rules” and “Don’t mess with my freedom”.
“Virginity is a social construct.” What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read these words? Call me old-fashioned, but to me, it seems like that statement is meant to trample some real values. It does not sound like it is meant to “free” anyone. On the contrary, it sounds like it is meant to attack and oppress some. Is it not possible to be free and empowered and still hold virginity in some sort of high regard? Is it just me, or is empowerment starting to mean promiscuity?
How does one lose their proverbial cherry? The answer seems to vary depending on who you ask. Some claim to be virgins because they did not have penetrative intercourse involving a penis and a vagina, even though they did perform other sexual acts. The answer is even harder to find in today’s day and age when homosexual interactions are more common. In the end, it seems like the answers are very personal.
That is one of the reasons why some feminists claim virginity to be a social construct. I have to admit that the fact that the definition of the word is somewhat diluted makes it harder to explain what it really is and why it is important. Jessica Valenti, in her book “The Purity Myth“, claims that having sex/ losing one’s virginity has no effect on a person’s personality. She also says that is has nothing to do with a person’s morality and set of ethics.
I strongly disagree with the above. Certain actions (here: sex) affect different people in different ways. Depending on how it happens and with whom it happens, actions can have a lasting impact on a person’s psyche. Why is child abuse so traumatizing? Why is rape? Sure, sex can be thought to mean nothing, but one has to prepare themselves. I think the reason for having sex is of great importance. Because everyone is so different and it is hard to measure non-tangible (i.e. emotional), long-lasting effects, not many studies on psychology after sex are being conducted. I can only attest to what I have heard from others first-hand.
An article entitled: “Influences on adolescent’s decision to postpone onset of sexual intercourse: a survival analysis of virginity among youth aged 13 to 18 years shows that losing one’s virginity at a younger age can have an adverse effect on one’s economic stability, level of education, health (STDs, inflammation, unwanted pregnancies), social isolation, marital disruption, etc.
It is true that a woman’s hymen can become damaged by unrelated actions (riding a bicycle). However, hymenorrhaphy (reconstruction of the hymen) is still somewhat popular in some parts of the world where proof of virginity is required. “Proof” is obtained either from a doctor, who is meant to inspect the hymen or on the wedding night when the white sheet is covered in blood.
It seems like there has always been more pressure put on females to remain virgins than on males, but the Quran, just like the Bible, forbids pre-marital sex for both – men and women.
Did you know that some people in Africa believe that having sex with a virgin will cure HIV/ AIDS?
There has always been some sort of controversy surrounding virginity. But if it is just a social construct, why is it such a hot topic? Why do people continue to argue whether promiscuity is good or bad? Why are they trying to convince us so desperately to believe that something so important has no impact on us? If virginity does not matter, why are some people (even celebrities) making purity pledges and start calling themselves born-again virgins?
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