Debunking the Old Virginity Myth

07 November, 2020
The virginity myth is a widespread concept. You must know what it entitles in order to enjoy your sexuality on your own terms.

Most people are familiar with the virginity myth. You may have also heard the expression “being a virgin”. It’s an old concept in many cultures and few people question it.

The concept of virginity is present in many of the consultations made to sexologists. However, these professionals seldom answer questions about virginity. They discuss the virginity myth instead.

“It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.”

-Voltaire-

The meaning of the virginity myth

The religious meaning of the word virgin, from which “virginity” derives, is well known. However, it’s interesting to know what it implies on a social and psychological level.

Firstly, the meaning of this word is marked and alludes directly to human eroticism. However, people mainly use it to classify. In other words, people label themselves or others according to their membership in one of two groups: those who’ve never had sex and those who have.

Two people kissing.

The virginity myth

There are many false beliefs around sex and they’re constantly fed by all sorts of influences in people’s daily lives.

Below are some of the most widespread ones:

Penetration as the erotic monopoly

You may not be aware of it but vaginal penetration isn’t the only way to have an erotic relationship. In fact, it isn’t necessarily the most pleasant sexual act. People overestimate this type of relationship due to a kind of conventionalism that doesn’t correspond to their physical, psychological, and social reality.

Proof of this is the clitoris, which is an organ whose exclusive function is to give pleasure. Furthermore, it’s easily accessible externally (without penetration) and most women claim they can only achieve an orgasm through its direct stimulation.

The hymen

People commonly believe that loss of virginity occurs when the hymen, the thin membrane at the entrance to the vaginal cavity, ruptures. This is wrong though, as neither all women are born with it nor do they lose the membrane after penetration.

Targetting women

It makes little sense to relate having sex for the first time to the rupture of this membrane. In fact, if this were so, how would homosexual people lose their “virginity”?

It’s clear that the loss of virginity is much more marked in women than in men. This brings added pressure on the woman, both for either being a “virgin” or for not being one, depending on their age.

Pain

Also, there’s the widespread myth of penetration always being painful the first time. It doesn’t have to be so, in fact.

Whether a first vaginal penetration hurts depends on many variables. One of the most important ones is how relaxed a woman is when their partner penetrates them.

Transcendental moment

The first vaginal penetration has many social and religious connotations. This type of erotic relationship has a lot of symbolism and, curiously, most consider it a loss.

People often talk about it as losing purity, chastity, and innocence. These “losses” are associated with a specific practice (and not with others), which emphasizes the absurdity of such an association.

Two people in bed.

Deconstructing the virginity myth

Internalizing this concept and living with its social meaning can be harmful. Why? Because it’s one of the concepts that limit eroticism.

People attach such importance to vaginal penetration that many people who don’t have a preference for this practice do so because “it’s the right thing to do”. Thus, as you may already know, doing something without really wanting to do it doesn’t usually end well in erotic practices.

In addition, virginity and its social connotations deprive people of exploring a whole repertoire of pleasurable acts they can obtain through the various forms of penetration.

A true exercise in sex education would be to apply the term “losing virginity” to any erotic behavior you do for the first time.

Thus, you’d talk about losing various virginities and not just one. This would contribute to eradicating the idea that erotic relationships exist more or less in the first place. This way, people wouldn’t have to feel any social pressure that would keep them from doing it just the way they like it.