The social construct of virginity is bullshit and I've had enough. Even now, in 2015, as a young lady, I am expected to be composed, proper, only speak when it's my turn, know my place, and above all else, save myself for marriage.
With roots in the Christian tradition, women are expected to remain virgins until married. Except when you trace it back, Virgin Mary might not have even been a virgin. Let me explain. The words for 'virgin' and 'young woman' were used interchangeably in many translations of the bible, and many theorize that Mary wasn't likely as virginal as she is remembered. A likely explanation for this shift is Jesus, If Jesus was just born to a normal woman, that makes him seem a hell of a lot less miraculous than if he were born to a virgin, so the meaning of a few words shifted and nothing has ever been the same.
You'd think that our society would have shifted it's beliefs after so many years, I mean after all, we all wear clothing of mixed fabrics, eat shellfish, and gay people are even becoming widely accepted. So why do our older generations refuse to see women's sexuality as their own?
Control. As with many other aspects of the patriarchy, it allows for the subtle control of women. If, for generations, it is pounded into womens' heads that pre-marital sexual activity will de-flower them, will taint them, will pollute their sensitive fragile bodies, they will begin to believe it. They will begin to believe that this control is what's best for them, that they'll never find a good loving husband if their bodies are robbed of their virginity. Men are allowed to do as they please sexually, and women are controlled into refraining from something they are biologically programmed to to just because it wouldn't please those men.
This is part of the idea why the social construct of virginity is so damaging. When women believe that virginity is something that can be taken from them, that it's a piece of themself that they can never get back, they believe that it's something that a man has the power to take from her. They believe that somehow the penis has the magic power to take away part of a woman's self.
The penis has no magic powers. It cannot take away something from a woman. Penetration does not have the power to taint a woman. It has no magic ability to make a woman soiled or used or any less than she was before.
None of this is to say that sex should be taken lightly, as sex is important. Consenting partners should always both be on the same page, use protection, and communicate, however it doesn't have the power to ruin a woman. Those ideas strip women of their identity as human by removing their ability to have sexual desires or make their own decisions. These thoughts contribute to rape culture and the objectification of women.
I say we start teaching little girls that they can have sex when they feel they are ready to have sex, when they can make smart decisions about protection, who they want to have sex with, and how easily muddled consent can become. I say we tell them that sex is a part of life and they have the right to choose for themselves. I say we teach them that they don't have to have sex ever, even after they're married if they don't want to. I say we teach them that their sexual desires are just as valid as men's, but that with sex comes the responsibility of the possibility of pregnancy that men do not have to consider.
I say we teach little boys that they do not have the power to ruin a girl with their penis, they a women who has acted upon her sexual desires is not tainted or used up or no good. I say say we tell them that women's sexual desires are just as valid as theirs. I say that they learn that it's just as much their responsibility to use protection, as it is the girl's. I say that they learn that consent is a clear, sober yes and never should be assumed or implied.
I say we stop pressuring teenagers to engage sexually and stop pretending that there's something wrong with not having sex, or having sex. I say we teach teenagers that clear consent, protection against unwanted pregnancy and disease, and picking partners responsibly is what's important when and only when they feel ready to have sex not when their peers, society, the media, or anyone else tells them they should or shouldn't be having sex.
Finally, as a young woman, I can say definitively that who I'm fucking is between me, my sexual partners, and my gynecologist, and unless you are one of them, it is none of your fucking business.