By Jaylee Aston
This is one of eight posts in the center’s You Might Be Causing Harm If . . . campaign.
Most of us know there is constant societal pressure around sex. We either feel like we need to be talking about it, having it or hold off on having it. There is a significant amount of pressure on and unnecessary shaming of those who are virgins. People who haven’t had sex have most likely heard things like this:
“What do you mean you haven’t had sex yet?! Girl, you’re in college! Go live it up!”
“Sex is so easy, just go get it over with! You won’t regret it.”
“Just have a few drinks, relax and hook up with them! It’ll be fine.”
“Some guys don’t like girls who are virgins. You might as well go hook up with someone if you want his attention.”
“What!? Dude, you’re so hot, why haven’t you had sex yet?”
“You’re too old to be a virgin.”
“Oh my god, you’ve never had sex? Why? What’s holding you back? It’s so fun!”
In addition to making fun of someone for being a virgin, these comments can be harmful. Why are they harmful? Here are several reasons:
- Such comments can be emotionally detrimental, causing a person to feel anxiety, sadness, etc.
- They perpetuate the idea that a person is not valuable or “cool” if they haven’t had sex yet.
- These comments objectify people of all genders.
- And they ultimately make people feel pressure to have sex, even when they do not want to — which can lead to people either causing harm or experiencing harm. This pressure to have sex can lead people to make choices that are not always consensual or completely well thought through, which can result in harmful or uncomfortable situations.
People have many reasons for waiting to have sex and all are valid. Perhaps they would rather have a romantic relationship over a sexual one. They may not have found someone who makes them comfortable enough to have sex. Whatever the reason, it should be respected.
Someone’s choice to remain a virgin does not give you a pass to make them feel like a “potential trophy.” Virgins are not objects. Virginity itself is a social construct created by the patriarchy!
The reality is we are so much more than our sexual experiences. We are all beautiful, intelligent and strong in our own unique ways. Let’s reframe the narrative about virginity!
Note: Learn more about the You Might Be Causing Harm If . . . campaign and other topics covered at this link.
Jaylee Aston (she/her/hers) is a sophomore majoring in health, society, and policy, with minors in gender studies and sociology. She is a student staff member at the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Research & Education.