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Mon Jul 15, 2013, 09:51 AM

A Feminist Interpretation of the First Time



Hew Li-Sha asks us to challenge our perceptions on virginity and what it means.

There is a cultural mandate that in order to be worthwhile, you need to be having sex. But there’s another societal rule which implies that you should only be having sex at a certain age with a certain person of a certain gender after a certain ceremony. This piece intends to show that the term ‘virginity’ is a term we must stop using because it detrimentally affects women, as well as limits the way we engage in the conversation about sexual intercourse.

There are many complications when trying to define that exact moment you are no longer a virgin. When does it really happen? When you get a blowjob? Give one? Give 10? When someone fingers you? Oral sex? Anal sex? Orgasm? What if your first time was with a girl? Would you stay a virgin forever? When do you cross the threshold from virgin to non? At what point is virginity, like your keys or your glasses, lost?

The concept of virginity bolsters a highly heteronormative hierarchy of what is and isn’t defined as sex. You’re technically a virgin if you’ve only had anal sex. It doesn’t count. Fingering too, that doesn’t count. I see. Let’s be all heterosexist about sex now, shall we? Let’s bow down before patriarchy and accept that sex can only occur when a penis penetrates a vagina. Even the way we see sexual intercourse is male-defined! Why don’t we see it as the vagina consuming the penis? It’s somehow always difficult to define sex without including the phallus. In fact, when you have two men or two women doing something, it doesn’t fit into the heteronormative conception of virginity. What we understand about this concept of virginity, in a sense, invalidates queer sex. Additionally, when we make the issue of virginity central to our ideas about sexuality and indeed, to being a human being, it completely marginalises those who don’t actually see sex as that overwhelmingly huge factor of their lives.

I remember a conversation I had with my friends. We were all lazing around in the living room, awkward and rebellious teenagers joking about sex, when someone went:

“It must be really difficult for you girls, because you lose more when you have sex for the first time.”

“What the hell do we lose?” my friend and I retorted.

He paused. “I’m not sure.”

Society has embedded within our minds that when a woman loses her virginity, she loses something – her worth, value and hymen. Historically, and in modern times, female virginity has been regarded as more significant than male virginity. Teenage boys ‘get laid’, ‘get lucky’ when he ‘takes her virginity’ but teenage girls ‘lose it’. It becomes a subtle societal obsession: ‘When did you lose your virginity?’ ‘Who did you lose it to?’ ‘Are you saving yourself?’ ‘Did you know it was right?’ There is no word for the first time you kiss someone, the first time you bungee-jump, or the first time you step into a different country. But the first time you engage in heterosexual sex (consensual or not), you’ve lost your virginity. We call it a ‘gift’, and cherish cherry-popping stories, keeping them sweet and sentimental like old photographs in shoeboxes. All of this isn’t such a surprise of course when we remember that for centuries, women have been seen as property and not individual human beings. The concept of virginity reinforces this idea, that a woman’s worth is intrinsically linked to her sexuality.

- See more at: http://www.loyarburok.com/2013/07/15/feminist-interpretation-time/#sthash.RnHQjupZ.dpuf

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply A Feminist Interpretation of the First Time (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 OP
Warpy Jul 2013 #1
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #2
Warpy Jul 2013 #12
LiberalLoner Jul 2013 #3
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #4
LiberalLoner Jul 2013 #5
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #6
LiberalLoner Jul 2013 #7
Warpy Jul 2013 #13
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #14
CrispyQ Jul 2013 #9
ismnotwasm Jul 2013 #15
Dash87 Jul 2013 #8
CrispyQ Jul 2013 #10
One_Life_To_Give Jul 2013 #11

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:03 AM

1. Yeah, hurts like hell, too

i wish docs would be as eager to do hymenotomies as they are to do circumcision, save girls that pain when they grow up.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:22 AM

2. Heh! That it does

The hymen has been mythologized all out of proportion. There have been ways to 'fake' virginity for centuries, if not millennia.

Now of course, we have developed surgery for women who want that fresh 'first time' feeling

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:07 PM

12. In cultures where the bloody sheets are put on display after the wedding night

one often notices there is a chicken dinner on the stove the day after the wedding.

I'd love to see those things obliterated right after birth to reduce pain later in life and to get men over being stuck on those things.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:31 AM

3. Yeah it hurts. Bloody too. I had mine taken at age six. When I saw the

Blood afterwards I thought I was dying.

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:40 AM

4. JesusGod that's messed up

I don't know if it would be a trigger, but have you read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou?

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 10:48 AM

5. Oh yes and I love it!

Life sucks. For all of us.

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:11 AM

6. One of the pivotal books that changed how I see the world forever

That atrocities like that happen to little girls like that is probably why I like 'revenge' movies ala Tarentino, and others. (Not a movie person particularly, and what Ido like tends to be--different.)

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 11:23 AM

7. Me too. I'm big on revenge. I think I could be a very dangerous person if I thought I could get

Away with it.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:09 PM

13. "Ticked off Trannies with Knives"

is my favorite slasher/revenge movie. Netflix has it and it's worth looking for if you love to see lowlife sexual sadists get what's coming to them. Willam Belli is in it and she's fab-u-lous.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:41 PM

14. Oh I finally watched that one

I thought it was pretty high camp, but the back and forth between camp and fear was very real. The bad(est) guy was realistically creepy.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:40 PM

9. It's at my library. I'm going there tomorrow.

I have so enjoyed taking up reading something other than programming books again!

BTW, I reread Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" & there was so much I'd forgotten! And I think the reason why is that I hated the end! I thought it was a cliff hanger ending without resolution. The afterwards that she included, didn't explain anything for me. I was left going

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 02:47 PM

15. Atwood is hard to digest sometimes

I think she didn't want a false happy-- or sad ending, a kind of 'this is what it is, or could possibly be' story. I haven't read that in years. I should read it again

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Response to LiberalLoner (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:19 PM

8. I'm so sorry.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 12:45 PM

10. This is excellent.

A lot of things I had never thought of.


We focus intently on a warped idea of ‘morality’ which emphasises a woman’s chastity and purity, rather than her values like kindness and altruism. We forget values like compassion or courage, and instead talk a lot about vaginas and hymens. Aren’t we all more than our sexual parts?

As Jessica Valenti has correctly pointed out:

“the lie of virginity—the idea that such a thing even exists—is ensuring that young women’s perception of themselves is inextricable from their bodies, and that their ability to be moral actors is absolutely dependent on their sexuality. It’s time to teach our daughters that their ability to be good people depends on their being good people, not on whether or not they’re sexually active.”




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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Jul 15, 2013, 01:36 PM

11. The opposite of Viginity is

being a tool? Someone else's play thing?

What is needed is a new term for being true to one self. Neither Virgin nor Seaman depository. But something empowering for being true to one's self and one's own desires. Otherwise it just trades one service to the Patriarchy for another.

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