What a bind. A chimera, a smokescreen, a ridiculous concept, in fact virginity is. In times gone by, when women didn’t work and men were landowners, it served a purpose. Property got passed from generation to generation and one way of ensuring it went to a legitimate heir and not the offspring of a non-marital liaison was to regulate the sexual activity of one’s offspring. Specifically, the sexual activity of daughters, being as they are the ones that bear children.
The virginity of women served a tangible purpose. In some cultures it may remain so. The argument is more complicated than that. I’m simplifying the facts to the barest bones but you could also say lets be honest. Placing value on female virginity has morphed into a very convenient and highly effective way of controlling women. Mostly to protect the insecurity of men.
Some cultures have navigated the education and advancement of women with relative elegance. There is an understanding that as well as allowing women to become citizens of equality that it also benefits society at large. More working women = a healthier economy. A healthier economy equals better education for more people and so the cycle goes. Some cultures refuse to attempt the change. And some sectors of society that should know better, cough, the American ‘right’, still appear at times to find the empowerment of women discombobulating.
Some might say its not my business to cast aspersions on the cultural practices of other countries but sitting outside a beach bar on a Greek island, feet wriggling in the sand, catching autumnal rays before returning to my life in London. A life where I get to do what I want to do and not what someone else deems in my ‘best interests’, the so called importance of female virginity seems tedious and selfish at best, despicable and dangerous at worst. It’s enough to make a girl want to change the name of her blog. The Virginity Project may yet become The Virginity Fallacy.
As if to illustrate the point, here is Kat who generously decided to share her story and in doing so, she showcases the hypocrisy of female virginity with heart breaking precision. She is Indonesian.
‘I have read The Virginity Project since a year ago and had been contemplating a lot of finally losing my virginity. I think this Project is very useful for us to share what we feel for this moment. Okay, here is my story:
I lost my virginity just six days ago at 31 years old. I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed about it. I was born and raised as a Moslem (sic). However, I am really grateful that my parents is very supportive. One of the greatest things that they have given to me is freedom to create my own path and gave me opportunity to learn from my mistakes and be responsible with its consequences. This allows me to respect my personal values and make me to be a strong and independent woman.
However, sex is something that has never been openly discussed in the family. Therefore, in my lack of knowledge, I self-educated about sex. My first time encounter the word sex and porn and knew what are they really mean is when I am 9 years old. It was one of my classmates, a boy, that always talk about it non stop in front of us.
It was my senior time in high school I became aware of virginity. At that time I was busy dating boys, the good ones and the bad ones. But sex is excluded from my dating game as I found most of the boys I dated is pretty conservative about virginity and most of them really plan to take me seriously and therefore wait for the time to finally marry me, to marry a virgin.
This also opens my eyes that Indonesian people are mostly conservative and hypocrite. As known the biggest Moslem country, we adopt this "virgin until married" culture. People will always interfere your personal life. There is no tolerance of living together without marriage license and you are considered as slut if you have sex before marriage.
However, the practice of prostitution, infidelity, affairs and sexual harassment are there. I can say that it is very uncomfortable to be a woman. Added to that, most Indonesian man are pretty hypocrite when it comes to virginity. Many of them already have sex with other woman yet insist they want virgin woman, exclusively. While he himself is not exclusively for her.
I grew up committed to stay virgin until marriage. There's a time where I am proud of my virginity. And there's a time that I found myself embarrassed to admit it. Especially during my college years in Australia. There were too many times, I was in the situation where I consider to have sex with my dates. But I always have to find a way to get over that thought.
There came a time where I started to think about my virginity. It was when my ex-boyfriend, who want to keep me virgin until he marry me has his way to cheat and impregnate another woman. Life goes on and I manage to move on.
I finally met my now boyfriend that I deeply in love with. He is very warm, has a kind heart and we share the same weird humor. We've been in relationship for almost 2 years. We do intercourse but not penetration. I don't mind doing my first time with him, but we decided to wait.
Somehow, later I found out my boyfriend cheat on me to satisfy his sexual need with other woman. The distance (I live in other town) and also the virginity make me unable to satisfy his sexual needs. I am so devastated, deeply hurt and feel dead inside. Never will I let my commitment with my virginity ruin my relationship again.
Moving on, I tried to understand and forgive him. I tried hard to pick up pieces of my broken heart and stay in the relationship as I love him so much. Then I realize that my virginity may cost me my relationship and that it means nothing to me anymore. Therefore, I am 31 years old and lost my virginity six days ago to my boyfriend. Yes, my boyfriend but not my husband.
My experience of losing my virginity is unpleasant. I lost my virginity in the same day my boyfriend confessed that he slept with other woman. We decided to do it when I was in grieving of his infidelity. There was no romantic setting. There was no glow of cherry popping. All I feel is hurt both in my heart and my vagina when he enter me.
Then things getting worst when I don't bleed in my first time even though it hurts like hell, which left us both confused. And then he starts to look at me with that look of ‘are you lying to me about your virginity’. It hits me so hard.
I just get off from the bed as soon as he finished. I wash my face and grab my clothes and then I decided to walk outside to catch the fresh air before I got suffocate by the bitterness of everything that happened that day. I came back an hour later and run to his arms for shelter.
Still confused, I asked my friends and they said that it is normal not to bleed at the first time considering I'm active in sports and that I'm very clumsy and there were many times I have injured myself.
After all this, I feel happy now. I don’t regret losing my virginity before marriage. And I don’t regret just doing it now and not long ago. I think there's no such right time when you should lose your virginity. There's no right time to say when you are really ready or not. Sometimes it is very spontaneous and out of plan.
I am happy now that sex also makes my relationship better, we are now more emotionally attached to each other.’