What Is Virginity and How Might It Be Changing?

Is It Time to Redefine the Term?

Two people sleeping in bed.
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What does it mean to lose your virginity? The dictionary will tell you that a virgin is a person who has not had sexual intercourse. But what is sexual intercourse?  In the strictest term; you are a virgin until you've participated in penetration of the vagina by the penis with the member of the opposite sex. But this definition leaves a lot of people out of the loop. Maybe it is time to revisit what it means to be a virgin.

Virginity and Sex

When we think of virgins, we think of "white wedding innocents" who define sex as a synonym for gender. But the fact is, the standard definition of virginity lets you get away with having a lot of different kinds of sex was still being able to call yourself a virgin. In theory, under the traditional definition of virginity, someone who is homosexual can have sex every day and still be a virgin. Someone who has oral sex regularly is also still a virgin. Does that really make sense? Something is a miss!

Redefining Virginity

The whole narrow definition of virginity is in desperate need of a rewrite. What does "losing your virginity" mean to you? Is it a state of mind or a specific act? Is it something that can be taken from you, or does it only count if you willingly give it away? When does "fooling around" end and "having sex" begin?

When considering "the new definition", think about these situations and ask yourself how they fit into the meaning of virginity.

  • Is someone who is raped or molested no longer a virgin?
  • Is actual intercourse the only act that counts when determining your virginity?
  • If you willingly engage in other intimate sexual acts but do not have intercourse, is it fair to still consider yourself a virgin?
  • How would you define losing your virginity if you are homosexual or bisexual?
  • Is being a virgin based on your feelings, what you do, or is it a combination of both?
  • Is there an emotional component to losing your virginity, meaning if you have sex but don't feel anything is different about you, does it count?
  • Is the current definition of virginity, and all the social stigma attached to it, biased toward girls? Is this right?
  • Does the current definition of virginity exclude homosexuals? Is this right?
  • Is virginity subjective (based on how the individual views themselves and what they do) or objective (how the situation is viewed by others on the outside)?

Emotional Virginity and Physical Virginity

I propose that virginity is twofold. I think there is an emotional virginity and a physical virginity. I think that to truly no longer be a virgin you must give up both the emotional attachment to your virginity and engage in physical acts of sex.

In my definition, any intimate sex act which involves nudity and stimulation with the goal of orgasm counts as sex. I think nudity and stimulation are the "points of no return," not penetration. Regardless of whether that act is heterosexual or homosexual in nature, if you share your body with another person, or if you give pleasure to another person that involves orgasm or intends to cause orgasm, you have had sex.

Virginity is not something you "lose" or something that is "taken", but something you share with another person, like a rare chocolate or a once in a lifetime sunset. If you haven't given it, it doesn't completely count as being gone.

Virginity and Molestation or Rape

I think that people who are raped and or molested are still virgins in the emotional sense even if their body has had sex. They have not stopped "being" a virgin, nor have they experienced the emotions that go along with giving your body to another. If it is taken from you, although it may physically be sex, it is not fair to say you are no longer a virgin.

You may still feel as if you have not had sex. You may still view sex with naivety. Being victimized should not force you to live with a label you neither wanted nor asked for.

Virginity is not something we passively lose, non-virginity is something we deliberately choose to take.

This is my personal view on the line between virginity and non-virginity. What's yours?