Wearing white on a wedding day symbolizes that a woman is pure, a virgin. How often the women under these dresses embody this symbolism is questionable, but the idea itself is questionable as well. Why is purity so important? Why is so much weight placed on one aspect of a person that the colors they wear are decided for them? Why do we, in 2018, still follow the same rules that were put in place hundreds of years ago?
So many of us live our lives based on the expectations and rules of others. Be it our appearance, our goals, or our morals, the way society rules is often what we tend to follow. At times this concept is important: if society hadn’t decided that murder was morally wrong, it might be a bigger issue. However, one problem that society must straighten out is that of virginity and the stigma surrounding it.
Virginity is most often defined as never having engaged in sexual intercourse. The connotation of this word, virginity, is much more loaded than just its definition. Virginity for many becomes a label, a way to define themselves and each other, for the positive or the negative.
Masculine and feminine presenting people wear the label of virginity as two very different badges under society’s rulings. For men, virginity is most often equivalent to shame. The more sexual conquest the better. Being a virgin is viewed as being a pussy, a loser, laughable. From potential partners to friends, having already had sex is perceived to be necessary. However, have too much sex and you’re a “manwhore” or a “fuckboy”, who is completely undeserving of love. The fine line is impossible to balance upon.
For women, virginity is a trophy. The longer a woman can remain “pure” and sexually inexperienced, she can keep her status as respectable. Stay too long without doing anything sexual, though, and you very quickly become a prude, who refuses to ever do anything with anyone. Among feminine circles, women are praised for being able to “wait it out”, and with men the sentiment is mirrored for their own sexual pleasure, hoping that because a woman is a virgin, she’ll be more pleasing in bed. But the problem also exists of not having enough experience, and facing criticism from both sides of the gender spectrum. Women walk the same line as men.
Obviously this view of virginity is more fluid in reality, but the general concepts don’t shift much. Walking a tightrope to please everyone is tiring and unnecessary to follow a moral that society has created. As a generation, if we can change the strict stigma around sex and virginity, we can all give ourselves the opportunity to create our own morals and follow those instead of subscribing to dated regulations.
Men, praise your friends for waiting to have sex, or having it often. Women, support your friends in having as much sex as they want, or holding off. It starts on a personal level. Deciding how you feel about sex, outside of religion and society and expectations, and following that, leads to much higher level of fulfillment. Whatever decisions you and those around you make deserve to be supported in every setting that is consensual and healthy.
Now, this is not to say that virginity isn’t important. It is to say that it’s a society-made concept, but it’s still completely valid to place importance on it if that’s what matters to you. Sexual liberation, and deciding what you want about virginity, is everything for our generation. Be it waiting all the way until marriage, or consistently applying the fuck-on-the-third-date rule, being free to choose how you view sex is crucial to progress. Through all of this, however, it’s important to remember that virginity is not a physical state. It is a concept. The stigma of virginity being physical stems from the idea of “popping a cherry”, which can also be done through riding horses, doing squats, running and many more. Once we can distance ourselves from the physicality of being pure, the allusion quickly disappears. Purity is a concept that is completely okay to believe and completely okay to denounce, as long as it’s for yourself.
This goes for all parts of the gender spectrum, a masculine presenting person must choose their view on purity and virginity for themselves. This can be hard, because the societal pressure for men to have sex is a heavy weight. To this, one must remember that society’s rules will not incite change nor create progress. To reduce the stigma around virginity, we must be unique and resolute in our beliefs.
Our generation has the opportunity to make real progress on this front. Next time you’re faced with the opportunity to to react to others’ decisions, choose love, and we can improve the world’s stigma around virginity.