I hate the term “virgin.” And just so we’re all on the same page, the dictionary definition is “someone who has never had sexual intercourse.” As I’ve written before, there’s a lot more to sex than intercourse (like fingering, oral sex, etc.), and it seems ridiculous to me that we’re using this word to mean “hasn’t had sex,” when that word completely ignores so many types of sex. Why is it that the only sex that “counts” is having a penis penetrate a vagina? “Virginity” erases and invalidates queer sex and the experiences of those who are unable to have penetrative sex because of pain.
But the problem isn’t just the way we define virginity–it’s with having a term for “not having sex” at all. Having this term implies that having sex irreparably changes who you are as a person, and terms like “losing virginity,” implies you are losing something of yourself when you have sex. There is so much societal baggage tied up in this word and concept. We’ve decided as a society that it impacts people’s worth, and as such, can have bearing on their self-image.
Getting rid of the term and idea of virginity can help us expand our definition of sex, and also the way we view ourselves and sexuality. Without the baggage of virginity, we can build healthier lives and have better sex.
P.S. A lot of people in the Sex Ed space are now using the term “sexual debut,” which removes the element of “losing something” and allows for a broader and more inclusive understanding of what sex looks like to different people. Also, it just sounds fun!