A student at the University of California, Santa Barbara argued in a recent newspaper column that “virginity doesn’t exist.”
Anabel Costa, a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, argued in a recently published student newspaper column that “virginity” is a problematic heteronormative concept.
Everyone likes to talk about sex, and growing up, virginity always seemed to take the spotlight. Sleepovers are riddled with questions like, “When will I lose my virginity?” or, “How did you lose your virginity?” These questions always plagued me, yet at the same time, they brought immense curiosity. As a queer woman, I have a lot of confusion and frustration with the word itself. Over time I’ve come to realize that virginity doesn’t even exist; by definition, it refers to the first time someone has sex, but sex can mean different things to different people.
Costa goes on to argue that “sex” is defined by the presence of male genitalia. As a result, gay women often feel like their sexual activity doesn’t rise to the level of other forms of intercourse.
My issues with this only come in when queer women who have had sex with other women are considered virgins simply because they’ve never been penetrated. My girlfriend has been called a virgin by our friends because they don’t readily accept what we do as sex. So if my intimate experiences with my girlfriend are not sex, then neither is your “in and out three times on the fourth floor of the library.” Ultimately, sex is culturally defined by the presence of a penis, or at least some form of penetration, and this is just wrong.
Readers had mixed responses to the piece. “As an atheist, reading this article makes me consider becoming a Christian,” one user wrote. “Proof positive that the California Education System has failed miserably,” another user wrote.
Some readers said that they were moved by the piece. “Love this piece so much! Means a lot as a queer woman to hear someone having a similar experience,” another user wrote.