Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Virginity is Overrated

Viriginity is vastly overrated. It isn't just with the religious people, though I'm sure that's where a lot of it comes from.

Looking back over the centuries, there is at least some sense of why virginity might be worth something in women. In societies where property and so much else is determined by blood succession, it was important to know paternity and, absent any scientific test or understanding about fertility in pregnancy, the only way to really be sure that a child was yours (if you were a man) was if you were the only person having sex with the mother. So there is a certain sense in that, whatever your opinion of the overall system. And I'm sure there are artifacts of that in views about virginity today. It still even exists in the law to a degree in most (if not all) states: A child born to a married couple is automatically the legal child of the husband, regardless of the reality of who the father really is. This can be very hard to challenge, and in some cases, really cannot be. Under the law, it is considered more important to nail down the husband as responsible for the kid than it is to actually determine true paternity.

Today, though, given we can test paternity with basically 100% accuracy (well, barring twin issues), this takes virginity for paternity off the table as an issue.

Disease might be another reason you would want your sex partner to be a virigin, though today, with condoms and treatments, that is also less of a worry. On top of that, since viriginity was only valued for women, not men, and men can also transmit STDs, that makes the whole disease issue as an historical rationale full of shit.

With paternity and disease really off the table as primary issues for virginity, that just leaves the "moral" issue. Which again, is primarily directed at women, which again makes it full of shit.

Now that disease, paternity, and morality are out of the way, I want to get to what I really wanted to talk about, is the overrated "specialness" of virginity and "saving yourself." Personally, I think this sort of overrating creates unrealistic expectations and also puts too much worry in early relationships on sex and when it will happen rather than on what really makes for a good relationship.

This probably becomes apparent to most thinking people as they get older and have different relationships over the course of their lives (unless of course they marry in high school and stick with it, in which case they may never learn). It is what I noticed. When I was younger and dating younger women, women just past high school, or had friends at that age, there was this huge obsession about sex and when would be the "right" time to do it, and whether "this person" should be "the one" to do it with and all sorts of things that got built on top of that. Meanwhile, with so much time and energy spent on worrying about such things, the actual relationship was rather ignored.

Then, as I got older and dated older women, women who were long past "losing" their virginity, this was not an issue at all. Sex was a given in a relationship. The focus was on, is this a good relationship, and on other adult issues. In the transition between young to older, there was some trepidation about the first time sleeping with a particular person, but ultimately even that faded away as it just became a given, like holding hands or kissing. Sure, it is important that it is there and it is satisfying, but no one expected it to be the cornerstone of importance for the relationship.

I mean really, there is no real test to see if someone is a virgin. Sure, you can check the hymen with women, but that ultimately doesn't mean anything given the possible ways it can be broken without sex. If someone gets amnesia and can't remember having ever had sex, are they a virgin or aren't they? For all practical purposes, they would be, but so what? Nothing magical changes when you have sex. It is just a mechanical process when you get down to it.

On top of all of this, people remain "virgins" by just redefining what sex means. If you have oral sex or manual sex or anal sex, you are still a "virgin" despite the fact that you have shared an orgasm with someone. Personally, I see sex as sex - it doesn't matter how you manage to get off, if you get off, it is sex. So even if you have only slipped a hand down the pants of a date to get your date off, at that point, sorry, not a virigin. But as I have said above, so what? Life is short. Might as well enjoy it without feeling guilty about it. I think guilt probably plays a large role in the whole virginity game as well - people want to be virgins because they don't want to feel guilty for NOT being one. That brings us back to religion, and I certainly don't place any stock in what religions have to say about sex.

Virginity is overrated. I think it is better to focus on real relationship issues. Instead, it acts as a distraction when you are young and is used as a bludgeon against the young when you are old. Bah.


Randy said...

You're leaving out an innate desire for virgins..The paternity thing for example may very well have been engraved in our psyche. Its not useful any more but still exists in our minds.

Randy said...

referring to evolution

DBB said...

Why would there be an "innate" desire for virgins? I never felt any such desire. Knowing the pain and messiness involved with it (at least with a women with an intact hymen) it seems like it'd be much more enjoyable to be the second than the first.