‘Losing your V-card’, ‘Giving it away for free’ and any phrase that mentions locks and keys puts a value judgement on sex and, in particular, female sexuality.
“The word ‘virginity,’ as well as the phrase ‘losing virginity,’ is both sexist and heteronormative and has had very real implications for women and non-heterosexual people throughout history,” says Rhiannon John, a certified Sexologist with a Master’s degree in Sexology, working at Bedbible.com.
“The concept positions women as the bearers of purity, tying their value and worth to their sexual innocence. This belief perpetuates the idea that a woman’s body is not her own, but a societal commodity to be controlled and regulated. This places an undue burden on women to conform to a prescribed standard of purity, dictated by societal expectations rather than personal autonomy.”
“As a mental health professional and sex educator, I actually despise the term ‘virginity’ and the terminology around what it means to ‘lose it,’ agrees Jillian Amodio, licensed social worker, sex educator, and founder of Moms for Mental Health. “The idea of virginity and what it means to ‘be a virgin’ is a social construct and it means nothing at all.”
Virginity also means different things to different people depending on what type of sex you engage in. ‘Losing your virginity’ typically refers to having penetrative, heterosexual vaginal sex (i.e. penis in vagina) for the first time. This definition excludes people who have sex but don’t happen to have p in v sex, such as lesbians, gay men and people who just prefer other types of sexual intimacy. By this definition there are people who have very active sex lives who would still be classed as virgins.
“The term is focused solely on the penis-in-vagina sex, which is not only extremely limited and not focused on pleasure, but also doesn’t capture the diversity of sexual expression for people outside of heterosexual relationships,” says Rhiannon. “The term ‘virginity’ inherently carries a gendered and judgmental connotation, emphasising control and judgement over women’s bodies. On the other hand, ‘sexual debut’ is more neutral and inclusive, recognizing that one’s sexual experiences are personal and not a measure of worth. It encourages a more respectful and equitable understanding of sexuality, free from the historical baggage of sexism and control.”
We are using the phrase ‘losing your virginity’ later in life to describe people who are in their mid-20s or older who have not had sex yet. The sex they have not had depends on each individual person’s interpretation of virginity, so it may mean different things to different readers. We will be using the phrase ‘losing your virginity’ for SEO purposes, not as an endorsement of the term.