November 2015: Riseponding to the Concept of Virginity

Riseponds is a series where a group of Risen members are picked not based on viewpoints but solely by "first come first serve" to speak on a topic that they're passionate or apathetic about. The randomness serves so readers can get different viewpoints from different people with different experiences or similar perspectives from different people. With the randomness comes the surprise of how contrasting or similar Risen members think when it comes to a certain topic.

This month's topic is VIRGINITYVirginity has been spoken about since or even before a kid hits puberty. The popularity of the topic comes with scandalous remarks and unpopular ones. Risen members will talk about how they see the topic personally and how they observe the world sees it as. They will talk about virginity and the responsibilities, social values, problems, and other concepts embedded into this one word.  We are not forcing anything on you as writers, but simply giving you our raw thoughts on virginity and what comes with it. 

Laura F: "I always hear how, many people wish they would've waited until marriage to have sex. It made me feel ashamed because I always knew I wouldn’t wait until marriage. I always had a curiosity for it. I felt sinful and dirty while others described how they would wait to “give themselves for the right person.” But I didn’t understand how you couldn’t just give yourself whole every time you have sex. I mean that’s what sex is right? I have no experience with sex itself, but I do know that sex doesn’t have to mean anything if you don’t want it to, but if it’s a big part of your relationship, then you can make it a big deal. Don’t feel like you have to wait for marriage because it’s what other people are doing, if you want to and you feel ready, and the other person does too, you have the right to it. Don’t worry about what others will think or what others are doing. Do it for yourself."

Derek H: Virginity is not something you lose, as it is not a “real” thing. It is a construct used to control adolescents (mainly females) to stay “pure”. The idea of keeping your virginity was to reinforce the notion that you’re more valuable when you’re not “damaged goods”. What does "losing your virginity" even mean? The most common definition is to have the hetero-normative intercourse but not all have this type of sex. When you want to have sex for the first time, you should be comfortable with yourself. Check out your groin area; have a feel for what your body feels like. It sounds weird, but you should masturbate to get a feel of what you like in bed. Talk to your partner about sex before you jump into it. Having sex or not isn’t the biggest thing that everyone makes it to be. To have sex when you’re a teenager or wait until marriage or maybe even have sex at 40 is up to you. Wait until you’re comfortable with yourself before you make your sexual debut.

Jayana R: Personally, I don't believe in the concept of virginity. I believe that it's meant to control female sexuality and put us in a box. Also, virginity is indefinable. There's no concrete definition of what virginity truly is--it all means something different for everyone. Some dictionaries will tell you that being a "virgin" means that you haven't experienced penetration. But what about all of the people that aren't having penetrative sex? Does that just mean that they're virgins forever? Your experiences aren't suddenly invalid just because you aren't having penetrative sex. Virginity is completely subjective. I think that the weight of importance that virginity carries is different for everyone. Some cultures may value it more than others. Some people may believe that losing your virginity completely changes you as a person. I believe that your worth is not defined by your sexual behavior or lack thereof. It doesn't matter whether you've had sex dozens of times or whether you've never had it at all. The only thing that matters is how you see yourself. If you think virginity is something worth valuing, then that's okay. If you don't find it important at
all, that's fine too. Don't let society put you into a box--you don't have to live up to anyone's standards but your own.

Jazmine A: Virginity is a concept with values and importance attached to it that are completely subjective. Growing up, I've always been taught that being a virgin was an equivalent to being a good person, a one-way ticket to heaven I suppose. I grew up looking down on people who had sex before marriage because in the environment I grew up in that type of stuff was wrong. Religious values play a vital role in how you see virginity. I'm not saying people who believe that sex should be saved for your husband are wrong but isn't it weird how in that situation, we kind of treat sex as a prize? Like oh, you've stayed with me long enough without cheating on me and generally treating me like a human being so you get my pussy!

What if you partner's really bad at sex? What then? Cause both of you are having sex for the first time now that you're married and the sex is balls (no pun intended...well maybe a little), how do you go on? Sex is a really important part of a relationship, believe it or not, you guys need to have chemistry in the bedroom in order to have a happy and healthy relationship. Now, I'm not saying that sex should be the basis and groundwork of a romantic relationship because it's definitely not the most important thing but it's very important.

Honestly, as a virgin, I do want to wait for someone I genuinely care about and trust, who also feels the same way about me, to lose my virginity to. I can't have my first time to some random hookup at a party, I just can't. But some girls are like that and they're not bad people for it. If their sex life is casual, it's not a bad thing. Being a virgin doesn't make you a saint and having sex doesn't make you a sinner. Neither invalidate or lower your value as a human being. 

Viewing virginity as important or not important is completely up to you, but you should never put labels on anyone because of their lack of or enjoyment with sex. If girls wanna fuck, let 'em fuck. If girls wanna wait, let 'em wait. It's not your vagina, it's theirs. Virginity is just a social construct built to shame women for expressing themselves sexually, tear it down but don't tear others down in the midst of telling the world that women are here for themselves and not to serve their body on a silver platter as some kind of dog treat for boys or girls.

Priscila H: I often see the expressions of friends and acquaintances drop to a mouth wide with shock once I slip the phrase "I'm not a virgin." from my lips. At first, I was ashamed of losing the title of "Virgin". Not only did the topic feel like I was hanging up some REALLY dirty laundry, it came laced with awkward, seemingly taboo conversations, odd questions from curious peers, looks of pity, and faces that screamed of disgust. It was not until I was late into my junior year of high school that I realized that "hooking up" was nothing to be ashamed of. You and your peers, colleagues, friends and family, all lead different lives. You all have different plans, and seek different kinds of affection. Having consensual sex is a form of physical affection, and is a very personal moment shared by two people. Losing your virginity does not make you dirty or make you lose your purity. A loss of virginity does not equal a loss of innocence, and it does not bar you from being the bride all dressed in white, being a respectable guy, or being a good person overall. The construct of virginity thrives on the need for superiority and confidence in others. People feel better about themselves once they think that having sex is the equivalent of not having worth. Virginity not only invalidates the experiences of those who have gone through sexual assault, but invalidates the experiences of members of the LGBTQ community by constantly being defined as male penetration of a female. That being said, your sex life does not define you as a person. If it is safe and consensual, it is nobody's business but your own, and gives nobody the right to ridicule you or make you small. Do not allow the social construct of virginity to bar you from being content with who you are.  

Ruthie Z: I am still of the age and maturity level where sex is more of a lofty future transgression than an actual reality. From a young age, I was fascinated by intercourse, the sweat, the blood, the pounding anthem of intensity that pulsated through the sheets of the movies, books, and music that I have been surrounded by my whole life. My parents never really believed in censorship, and because of such I was allowed to enjoy any form of art, no matter the sexual meaning or depiction. Virginity is sacred. Or it’s not. People I know have said they are saving themselves for true love, but we will never actually know when that time comes. In mainstream media, I’ve seen a lot of religious correlation with the whole maintaining your virginity until marriage. Ultimately, that’s fine for people following a close religion, but I’m not one of those people. Sex should be a mutual pleasantry, a shared desire, and if “done” responsibly, with the proper means of safety, then why not? Virginity to me seems like a false categorization, a before and after. It implies that there is some sort of drastic change to your character. Often times I get the feeling that there is some hidden negative connotation when people say no, they are not a virgin, as if having sex, the very creative machine, producer of the human race, is dirty or wrong. It’s not. Yes, I’m sure the first time you have sex you will experience some sort of mini evolution, but does it really need an entire label? Doesn’t that go against the very idea that labeling people based on their external characteristics, thoughts and feelings is wrong? Virgin kind of sounds like vagina, anyway.

Malea M: The thing about virginity is that: it doesn’t exist. As kids, we’re taught that virginity is dick in vagina. And once you have experienced this, you are no longer a “virgin”. In truth, all virginity really is is a heteronormative societal construct that shames you both for having sex and not having sex. Virginity comes with a landslide of negative connotations, and for females especially we are used to hearing the phrase “lose your virginity” as if it’s something that needs protecting. Once you are no longer a virgin, you are suddenly less pure, a tainted thing. Males on the other hand, are used to hearing the term “taking a virginity” like it is this masculine rite of passage. This perpetuates the idea that sex is unclean, never sacred. When a girl has too much sex, she’s a slut. When a girl doesn’t have enough sex, she’s a prude. The word virginity and our ideas on what sex is in general, are incredibly non-inclusive to trans people, bisexual people, pansexual people, gay people, and really every other person who doesn’t fit into this conventional box of dick in the vag. Quoting Laci Green, sex is giving or receiving pleasure via genitals. Sex is all about personal preference. Different people are into different things and have their own individual thoughts and feelings towards sex and intimacy in general. All of these things are okay, but what isn’t okay is forcing opinions on everything sexy down everyone else’s throats, and making them feel bad when they don’t live up to your own sex standards. This being said, it’s okay if you want your first time to be special and it’s okay if you don’t. The only thing we should really be focusing on is consent, safety, and comfort. Everyone deserves to be comfortable, whether they don’t want to have sex ever or they desire it frequently. Sex isn’t impure, it shouldn’t have that connotation. Your virginity isn’t something that needs to be lost by a certain age, and it certainly isn’t something that needs taking.