The value of virginity

Nicole McIsaac, News Editor

Virginity is a concept. The heavy pressure behind losing your purity is a completely social belief that has developed through centuries of human interactions.

A virgin is defined as someone who has never had sex, but people can view intercourse through many different perspectives that don’t necessarily fit societal norms.

The idea of virginity is subjective based on life experience, religion and morals. Illustration by Connor Lawless
The idea of virginity is subjective based on life experience, religion and morals. Illustration by Connor Lawless

The most common definition of sex that people refer to falls along the lines of penetrative intercourse between a man and a woman. That description doesn’t exactly sum up every type of sexual act that people see as the love-making experience.

According to an online article published by Flo, a company that runs a women’s health app, the standard view of sex is challenged depending on a person’s sexual orientation and personal definition of the act.

“The dictionary’s conventional sex meaning doesn’t come close to covering the wide range of sexual activities people engage in,” the company states on its website. “Other forms of physical intimacy fall under the umbrella of sex, from making out to intercourse with multiple partners.”

In the long run, it does not matter how an individual defines what sex is because everyone will view encounters differently depending upon their experience and opinions.

The real question behind the whole idea of virginity is determining what really vanishes after having sex for the first time. People don’t simply change after their first time, their value does not decrease, they don’t lose worth and most importantly they do not become “tainted” from engaging with the type of activity.

In an online article from GoodRx, Dr. Kerry McGee highlights the theoretical misconception behind physical change after virginity loss and focuses the direction toward how sex can carry more emotional weight instead.

“Emotionally, you might feel different. And, sure, there’s a chance your hymen might have torn,” McGee said. “But it is a deep-seated myth that something magic inside you changes the first time you have sex.”

There is a medical aspect of a female breaking her hymen or often known as “popping a cherry”, that society relates to someone physically losing their virginity.

In a medically reviewed online newsletter from Medical News Today, Dr. Maria Cohut describes the physical alterations that can occur when someone has sex for the first time

“During sex, the hymen can tear and cause minor bleeding,” Cohut said. “This is more likely to happen if the hymen is less elastic, such as during adolescence, or if it has a smaller opening. This bleeding is usually minimal.”

However, some people are born without a hymen or tear it doing other activities such as playing sports — so there really is no correlation between tearing a hymen and one losing their virginity.

Cohut also states that a person solely cannot be determined as having their virginity based upon having a torn hymen or not.

“Some people believe that a broken hymen is an irreversible sign of virginity loss,” Cohut said. “However, it is impossible to tell whether a person has had sex just by examining their hymen. This is because the hymen is naturally open in most cases and because its shape and size vary from person to person.”

Regardless of experience, sex and virginity can be an uncomfortable topic for individuals to talk about, especially if they are hyperfocused on societal norms and standards. Whatever the case may be, it is important to not feel pressured into performing any acts that you are uncomfortable doing.