(originally posted 4/09 at wordpress.com)
What a strange concept virginity is. The idea behind such a status can be mind-boggling. How do we give meaning to virginity individually? There are a multitude of differing notions on which activities one can lose their virginity doing. The dictionary defines virginity as never having experienced intercourse. However, many would interpret it otherwise. Certain sexual acts would be included and others would be excluded. The definition of virginity is socially and contextually constructed, therefore the very conception of virginity is culturally based, not something one can reliably base on fact or certainty.
Deeply rooted in the image of virginity is Western society’s inclinations towards sex. When one considers the image of a virgin, the words that typically come to mind are words such as: pure, uncorrupted, unspoiled, untouched, and innocent. However, it should be said that when one thinks of a virgin, the gender is most likely a female. The idea of a virgin female is generally a positive one. Contrary to that, an image of a male virgin is usually negative. The way that our society regards virginity sparks a number of questions. What is so valuable about being a virgin? Is there really a significant and general change that we all go through in the transition from virgin to sexually experienced? How does the fact that as women, if we’ve never had intercourse, it makes us more attractive? What does this say about how we view sex if having it somehow makes us lesser? The expectations society places something as private and intimate as sexual experience is troubling to all genders. Like all socially constructed facets to our lives, it is beneficial to question the motivation and design of concepts like virginity.