Virginity is one of our biggest interests when we look for a partner. But hey, did you know that it may not even be real – at least not in the sense that we know it to be? Yeah, you read that right. And I’m here to tell you why.
It’s not even anatomically correct – it’s just a social construct.
I’m a medical student, and I can tell you that the hymen – yes the one that men are so inclined to “break” during sex on their wedding night, to release blood on the sheets to prove to themselves that they’re their partners’ “first” and have consummated the marriage properly – well, it doesn’t even exist in some women, let alone be fully intact in others. I can tell you clearly – I didn’t bleed my first time.
What is the hymen, anyway?
Basically, the hymen is a thin, membrane that is found in the external vaginal opening. It’s usually semi-lunar or doughnut shaped. So the fact that a man expects it to be something he can just penetrate through like actually “popping the cherry”, is not going to happen – that’s just not how it works.
It is in fact so thin that many activities besides sex can break it. Ever ridden a horse? Or a cycle? Yep, that can rupture the hymen too. And I’m sure you’ve all heard the stories of reconstruction. Does this mean that those who get that done are virgins again?
So why do we even use hymens to tell if someone is a virgin or not if their existence is clouded in gray areas and anatomic dependence? Virginity is a social construct, based on past traditions when there wasn’t enough knowledge about the female genitalia. But remind me, why we haven’t changed our soch even after all the research done on it?
How would you even define virginity to begin with?
Merriam-Webster defines a virgin as “a person who has not had sexual intercourse”. So, we can say that virginity is just something you “lose” when you have sex for the first time, right? Wrong.
There are way too many gaps in this definition. I mean, would this count other types of sex? What about masturbation? Why isn’t a virgin just defined as someone who hasn’t been intimate with another person before? I mean does it really need to involve sex to seal the deal?
We need to let go of the concept of virginity because, well, its very definition is nonsensical, to begin with.
Virginity is a sexist concept.
When we think about virginity, our interest is directed to women. But have you ever noticed how there is no equivalent to a hymen for males? Nope, we just have to trust them when we ask if they have done it before.
But God forbid women are trusted – their virginity is based on something that isn’t even reliable. Unfortunately, a woman who has lost her virginity before marriage is a slut, and if a man has lost it before, well, does anyone really even mind, let alone judge him for it? In fact, I have guy friends that come and tell me about their “conquests”, pretty much bragging about what they achieved.
A woman’s value is inversely proportional to how much sex she has – the more sex she has, the less she’s worth, while the concept of manhood is linked to sexual experience – the more sex they have, the more experienced they are.
Itna difference kyun hai bhai?
It encourages slut-shaming and rape culture.
We have attached certain behaviors and certain personality traits to virginity. I mean we all know the biggest of these – purity. So, we deem girls who haven’t had sex before marriage as “good” and “pure” and those who have as “sluts” or simply “dirty”.
This is the easiest way for society to label us as sluts while guys who do the same are “players” or “bas larkain hein“. I know girls who are so great, in every way, but because they have had sex, they are labelled “sluts” or “easy”.
At the same time, when someone is raped, society jumps to the technicality that virginity chali gayi. Why do you think sexually abused people are encouraged to stay quiet in our culture? Other than the obvious victim-blaming aspect, of course.
Up until now, I’ve been using the word “lost” to acknowledge virginity for when someone changes from a virgin to a non-virgin. But what have we really lost?
It’s just an emphasis on how to degrade women when it comes to virginity. It’s a reminder for women that we’ve lost something that we should have kept, or that we should have been “saving” ourselves.
Sex is just an experience. And in all honesty, who is anyone to tell us what we have lost and what we have gained from an experience?
All I know is – this whole concept of virginity is damaging to our society. It’s not based on anything reliable whatsoever. It encourages slut-shaming and discourages those who have been sexually abused to speak up and try to receive help. It’s a social construct that has convinced almost all of society that it is somehow related to something physical. Yeah, no. Let’s just get that straight, to avoid any confusion here on out.
Have anything to add? Let me know in the comments.
Cover image via pakistaniweddings.tumblr.com