Saturday, October 16, 2010

Back To The Virginity Myth

So I was just watching Grey's Anatomy with one of my best friends, Caitlin, who is in love with the show. Me on the other hand, has barely watched it since its first season.  However I became very intrigued when I caught this last segment of it.  Tune it at 39:30

It says so much about our pre-constructed notions of what it means to be a virgin today, to be 28 and still be a virgin.  How there's "a lot of shame" that goes into it, and that we all have our secrets.  So many women don't want to acknowledge the fact that they are still virgins, afraid of what people will think and how their views will be shifted.

Referring back to my blog "Turning in the "V Card" And What It Means To Be A Virgin In Today's Modern Society," I too felt like that before.  I would hide the fact from men that I was a virgin until it was mid hook up and then I decided we should be clear about one thing.  Their reactions all varied so incredibly much.  Some were in shock, "No, you can't be!"  Others were calm, "I think that's really great that you're choosing to wait."  My favorite by far was the one who said, "I didn't know they made those anymore."  Yeah.  Needless to say that relationship didn't pursue after that.

And let me just say at this point that I am addressing my own personal experiences with virginity.  There is so much area that is not being covered (i.e. with people who are gay, lesbian, or transgender) but this is what I know as a single straight woman and I would hate to declare something invalid regarding other people's sexual escapades.  I would love to get some feedback however, as to what others may think regarding what being a virgin means to other sexual orientations, whatever they may be!

With myself, however, I have had numerous encounters with men and their views of virginity.  Many of which were painful, and probably why I chose to hide the fact that I was a virgin from people.  Also, I didn't feel it was everyone's business to know how many people I had slept with.  There were two guys right in a row that I dated who had slept with over 60 people (mind you, these were 22/23 year old men).  And when asked how many people I had been with and the number zero came out of my mouth, the looks on their faces made me feel so ashamed.  The instant judgement that pursued, along with the series of questions they had.  "Why?"  "How come?"  etc.

Now I'm feeling a little like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City at the moment, sharing my past dating and sexual experiences, but I think these are valid points to make when addressing the topic of America's obsession with virginity.

What is up with the shame game of telling someone you're a virgin?  And then on the other side, there's those who are so incredibly proud of the fact they're maintaining their essence of purity that they throw themselves huge parties where they promise their fathers not to have sex until they are married.

This is even more relevant on shows such as Glee where one of the main characters last season was a member of the celibacy club in high school.  She ended up having sex and becoming pregnant, and her father practically disowned her for it all.  Again, I believe it is just going back to men's strange fasciation and obsession with virginity.  Why do fathers feel the need to protect their daughters from experiencing sex, and having them promise not to sleep with anyone until they're married?  Why don't sons do that for their mothers?  Doesn't that seem a little creepy to even wonder?  Maybe that's just me, but to have a son promise his mother that he's going to wait until he's married to have sex just leads me to think of the Oedipus complex.  But a daughter promising her father the same thing, it's viewed as appropriate or expected at times.  Because it's still typically the father that gives his daughter away at her wedding, as if he is passing her onto the next best thing.  This might be me going completely stereotypical feminist, but it's all about ownership with the woman.  The father has owned her for said plus years, and now her husband will own her for the rest of her life.  Again, trying not to be cynic, and not how I feel about all marriages, these are just thoughts.

How do we go from men who make women feel ashamed for their virginity to the extreme of making women feel like God's rejecting them if they do have sex?  Are we still allowing men to hold that much power over us?  Or is it the power of the woman and her sexual nature that is running the man?

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