Virgin Girls

Girls & ‘Precious’ Virginity

Losing Your Virginity is
still a burden for Girls

If you’re a teenage girl you’ll suffer
for not being a virgin. We all know it’s
the sexually active girls that horror’s
crazed slashers decide to kill first.

“You’re going to have so much un-special sex in your life,”
Timothée Chalamet tells Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird,
moments after her character loses her virginity to him.

The scene is one of the most honest treatments
of a subject that often remains pretty old-fashioned
when it comes to stories in movies – especially
when it concerns the exploits of women.

If you’re a guy, you’ve grown up on movies telling you
that losing your virginity is some sort of exciting quest.

There are perils to negotiate: public humiliation,
unattainable girls, cock-blocking authority figures,
parents walking in at just the wrong moment.

But when you complete the adventure, you’ll
no longer be publicly shamed by jocks.

You’ll be a man, my son. Welcome to the house of fun.

But if you are a teenage girl you’ll suffer
for not being a virgin. We all know it’s
the sexually active girls that horror’s
crazed slashers decide to kill first.

And virginity still underlines the essential decency
of many a teen heroine. It’s both a precious thing
to protect and a burden to be rid of in the movies.

And when you do lose it, you either won’t
enjoy it or you will be punished.

You’ll get pregnant, you’ll get HIV or you’ll
be both slut-shamed and labelled an easy lay.

Too often films and series showing girls
having sex for the first time have depicted
them suffering from consequences afterward.

Young girls have few places in pop culture
to find examples of first time-sex that
didn’t make it look like a complete disaster.

It’s only really been in the last decade a handful
of films etc about young women’s hopes to have
sex have arrived that haven’t shown terrible consequences.

They demonstrate the cultural shifts that have taken
place over the last several years through public
discourse, which have exposed the fallacies of a lack
of female sex drive and the idea that girls who have
sex before marriage become “impure” or somehow decrease in “value.”

Losing Your Virginity:
No Big Deal

The concept of virginity is a social construct.
It’s not a medical condition, or anything that
carries more meaning than you assign to it.

In the past it was often used by society as
a measure of someone’s worth or virtue.

That’s even clear in the language we use to talk about it:
“Losing” your virginity implies it’s something taken or missed.

In reality, we should have agency over our sexuality. Once we
have sex for the first time we’re no different than we were before.

It’s also critical to know that there’s no medical way
to prove virginity (for example, breaking a hymen can
happen in many ways that have nothing to do with sex).

First time sex is different for everyone, particularly
because sex can mean so many different things.

If we’re talking about penis-in-vagina sex, some people
feel mild soreness after their first time, while others
might experience bleeding.

Precocious Sex

It’s amazing how much the sexual expression of
teenagers has shifted in a relatively short time.

Much like teenagers of today, we ‘elders’ explored
our sexuality and pushed boundaries. For my group of
friends that generally meant dressing inappropriately
and sneaking into town to try and get into over-18 bars

Getting in was validation (a ‘like’) of how deceptively sophisticated we thought we were (we weren’t). And while we would dance seductively (so we thought) and have the odd kiss with an older man, that was as far as it went.

There were girls who would go further. In an attempt to prove their maturity and possession of their pubescent sexuality they would provide favours to men in the toilets of a nightclub. Men who, in theory, believed they were 18. They were, in fact, several years from 18.

Those girls were the rebels, the rare ones who would simultaneously regale and scare us with their racy stories.

We were fascinated, but afraid because beneath the pretense of sexuality we knew we weren’t ready. We were still just toying with the idea of adulthood and all that went with it. It wasn’t really real.

Vulnerable young people were influenced by peers, social expectations, needing to fit in, alcohol and keeping their romantic relationships.

This lead to some losing their virginity before they felt ready and regretting the experience. Now around a quarter of all 15-year-olds have lost their virginity and about half of all 17-year-olds.

Teens will always explore and will always want to fit in. It is in having a firm-enough foundation outside Facebook, Instagram and other social media so that the number of ‘likes’ is not their sole source of confidence.

Perhaps this sort of thing will lose its appeal. As with most things in life that were rare or cool, once they have been adopted by the masses, they lose their edge.

As the mystery fades, people start to see that it wasn’t actually as desirable as they thought it was. The Zeitgeist shifts once again and teenagers will hopefully start to see the truth, that all along, it was just a facade.

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