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Column: Having sex (or not) is okay. Controlling others' bodies isn't.

February 14, 2019
Karly Graham
Karly Graham

Some people are virgins, and that’s OK. Other people aren’t virgins, and that’s OK, too. However, there are people and expectations that try to control what other people can and can’t do with their own bodies, and that’s not OK.

I’ve heard different narratives from different people. I’ve felt society’s pressures for me to save myself until marriage through social media and television, and peers’ expectations to allow myself to be put into the most vulnerable position possible with anyone. 

People shouldn’t have to feel bad about being a virgin, and they shouldn’t have to feel bad about not being one either. The ideology behind virginity and the way it is pushed onto women is draining and beyond harmful to our self-images.

Virginity has so many definitions to other people based on their sexuality and preferences, and it is not something that society should place value in. It’s a spectrum, and differs from person to person.

In general, virginity is viewed with a heteronormative lens. The truth is, it’s just not something that exclusively pertains to straight men and women.

Not only does the societal definition of virginity disregard members of the LGBTQ+ community, but the pressures to remain chaste are placed on women significantly more than they are placed on men.

Using virginity to define an individual’s level of purity is an incredibly harmful narrative to force onto an entire group of people and ultimately results in women having lower self-esteems.

Yes, men still have pressures. Their pressures are usually to lose their virginity at a younger age, which in turn, can make them feel the need to lie about their number of partners.

The construct that is virginity also reinforces the narrative that women and our bodies are something you can take. Virginity is not an object. It is not something that can be taken or lost.

The culture that exists around the ideas of virginity and remaining chaste is harmful to individuals and to the functionality of society as a whole. Pressure needs to stop being placed on men and women to live their lives a specific way.

Sex needs to be talked about, and the stigma around the subject is what has allowed the constraining topic of virginity to hold people back from living their best life. 

As long as everyone and everything is comfortable, consensual, and safe, there isn’t a reason for people to be ashamed of having sex.

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