Why I don’t like saying ‘virginity’

I started having sex when I was eighteen. Looking back, I sometimes think it would be better if I did it a year earlier and with someone else. I’ve worded it this way because I try my best to not use words like ‘virginity’ and phrases like ‘lost virginity’. Especially when I talk to my younger cousin about sex.

My cousin has been going through a difficult times as a teenager dealing with depression. I try to help her the best I can and part of that involves being honest and frank with her about sex. I know that’s what I needed when I was growing up, but I failed to get it.

I don’t like the word virginity and the references to it as something that you lose, particularly for women and girls. It suggests that you lose something of yourself when you have sex, that you will be changed forever or that you are now a lesser person for it.

The word virginity and the cultural aspects around it are problematic to me. It creates shame for people who have had sex and pressure/expectation on those who haven’t.

There is nothing wrong with someone waiting to have sex for the first time. What matters is that the person has a choice to do so that is not put upon them by shame and fear.

We not to stop encouraging the idea that sex is inherently dirty and wrong. We should give it the seriousness it deserves, but we should stop attaching that to shame and dishonour.

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