Virginity is a social construct

I made reference in a recent social media post that something I learned coming out of Christian fundamentalism is that virginity is a social construct. Someone asked me what I meant and here's my response.

Virginity is a social construct because it’s not a biological reality.

You probably can’t conceptualize a way to check biologically for a penis-owner’s virginity.

You may be able to think of a way to check a vulva-owner’s virginity, but the hymen thing is mostly a myth, born out of patriarchy and primogeniture (link)

Virginity is typically conceived as being a status that ends once one engages in one event of penis-in-vagina sex.

A couple of assumptions are built into this conception:

  1. That virginity ends upon the completion of an event. We don’t conceptualize adolescence this way (at least in the West). Why not see the ending of virginity as a process, a gradual growth in the ability to grant consent and competence?
  2. That hetero relationships are normative. Does that mean that all gay and lesbian relationships are inherently chaste and maintain virginity? I doubt Focus on the Family will fall for that.

Different definitions of virginity could lead us away from slut-shaming, prevent the harm done primarily to young women who are supposed to keep pure and eliminate a lot of unnecessary shame.

Anthony Parrott

Anthony Parrott

Washington, DC