Isn't it weird that we're in 2023, but we're still putting virginity on a pedestal?
Society has progressed in a lot of ways, but we have a long way to go when it comes to anything sex-related.
If you have a vagina, you were probably told to wait for "the one," the white knight in shining armour. And that the longer you stay a virgin, the more valuable both you and your virginity are.
If you have a penis, it's treated like a race. You are told to hurry up, the sooner you do it, the better. And if you want to take your time, you aren't man enough.
Unfortunately, these opinions are shared not just by older generations, but also by our peers, people in their 30s, 20s, or even younger.
Virginity and Family
As with most things, our families and the way they raise us shape our beliefs and principles.
If parents are judgmental and shame people about their sexual activities, not only could it lead to their kids having the same mentality, but it can also make them feel ashamed about their own sexuality.
On the other hand, if parents are supportive, open, and honest, it fosters an environment where kids feel comfortable discussing and asking questions about sex, leading to a healthy and positive attitude towards it.
Virginity and Education
Besides our families, school plays a big part in the way we look at things, and that's why the inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education to the curriculum is a must.
The Netherlands and Norway lead the way when it comes to sex education, and Sweden was the first country to make it compulsory in schools, all the way back to 1955.
However, only 11 out of the 25 surveyed countries of the WHO European Region have mandatory sex education, according to The BZgA and the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).
In most of the countries, the topic is occasionally discussed in the context of broader subjects like biology class.
But this doesn't happen in all schools, and when it does, it's not always handled properly.
Unfortunately, having sex ed in schools doesn't guarantee that students will receive the correct information, as is evident by the way the United States is handling it.
Sex education has been present in their education system for almost a century, but out of the 50 states, only 38 and the District of Columbia mandate sex education and/or HIV education, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
And only 13 states cover arguably the most important part, consent.
- The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is almost 3 times higher than in Germany and France, and over 4 times than in the Netherlands
- The teen birth rate in the United States is nearly 8 times higher than in the Netherlands, over 5 times higher than France, and over 4 times higher than Germany.
- The teen abortion rate in the United States is twice that of Germany and more than 1.5 times that of the Netherlands.
- The percentage of the adult population in the United States that has been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS is 6 times greater than in Germany, 3 times greater than in the Netherlands, and 1.5 times greater than in France
- The prevalence of chlamydia among young adults in the United States is twice that of young adults in the Netherlands.
- French women were more than twice as likely to have used contraceptive pills in their last intercourse as young women in the United States. German women were 5 times as likely, and Dutch women were almost 6 times as likely.
The American government spends an estimated $9.1 billion each year on the public costs of teen births, with the average cost of a child born to a teen mother being $1,430 per year.
They could save billions of dollars each year by targeting the root causes and working towards reducing the risk factors for teen pregnancy, making comprehensive sex education available to all students, and providing free contraception to all teens.
Is Virginity a Social Construct?
A recent, pressure-free perspective that some people have taken on is that virginity is just a social construct.
If virginity isn't real, there's no need to rush or feel embarrassed whenever it may or may not happen. It just happens when it feels right. Without labels, without putting it under a microscope, and without it being a significant event in someone's life.
However, this perspective may invalidate the people who felt that losing their virginity was important to them. For some, their first time was indeed a treasured moment in their life.
Not because they felt the burden of being a virgin was lifted, nor because they lost something valuable. But because the emotions and the person they shared this moment with, were important to them.
Be True to Yourself
What does your heart and mind truly desire?
Focus on yourself, stay safe, and do whatever makes you feel happy.
There’s no problem if you believe virginity and your first time are significant. But don't judge those who disagree with you.
The same rules apply if you believe virginity is a social construct. Don't look down on those who choose to treat their first time as a valuable moment in their lives.
The concept of virginity is subjective, and we should all treat each other with respect no matter our preferences.