Virginity is a social construct created by men to control women. It’s just that simple. Society has allowed for men and women to be held to different standards of sexual activity. Women who have had multiple sexual partners are called “whores” while men with the same count are called “players.” But let’s also not forget that virgin women are treated differently than virgin men. Whereas the former are considered more sexually desirable, the latter are seen as inexperienced or losers.
According to Planned Parenthood, the average age one loses their virginity is 18. But what even is a virgin? Well, it’s someone who has never had sex. However, sex means different things to different people. Is it penetrative sex? Does oral sex count? There are lesbian, gay, bisexual or pansexual people who may never have experienced the traditional sense of what sex means at all. Yet, they wouldn’t consider themselves virgins. It is up to individuals to decide what sex or virginity means to them.
“A man usually feels the need to have a high body count–he may feel accustomed to lie about it, increasing the actual number. The more sex a male has, the more his masculinity is asserted,” said Odyssey journalist Nikki Grover on the double standards concerning body counts, the number of sexual partners a person has had. “When a woman has a high body count, she is seen as being overly promiscuous, a slut, having a “loose” vagina, easy, dirty, and the list goes on and on. A man with a high body count is praised by his male counterparts, whereas a woman with a high body count is rejected by both her male and female counterparts.”
Virginity isn’t real. Rather, it is an idea that allows a person to determine someone else’s worth based on how many people they have slept with. It’s a form of objectification, whether you are a man or a woman. Losing your virginity is simply an experience. However, as a society, we have put a lot of emotional weight on it so it does have some value to some people, and that’s fine, but we shouldn’t be putting some people on golden pedestals while throwing others down simply because they do not fit into our ideas of who they are supposed to be.
“The idea of purity is used as a means to control and manipulate us into following social norms, especially gender norms. It reinforces the idea that women lack sexuality. Virginity is treated as a commodity that can be lost. So according to this concept, when a woman has sex, she loses her value.” said The State Press writer Sky Jordan. “However, the construction of this ideal does not just hurt women, it’s destructive to men’s sexualities as well. Men are widely shamed for remaining virgins, as it’s loss is a sign of their masculinity and manhood. It’s a “rite of passage,” an exclusive club one can only join by engaging in one of the most intimate human experiences.”
Virgin men aren’t losers and virgin women aren’t more valuable than non-virgin women. It should not be left to a “body count” to decide what makes a person worth someone else’s time and people should be allowed to explore their bodies as they wish without having to worry about how society is going to judge them.