In a world where we are trying to question social institutions and not let ourselves be limited by stereotypes, are we really going to let ourselves be defined by our virgin status?
Michael Foucault traces a history of sexuality in his research that serves to analyze the ideas of performance and performativity. Performance and Performativity refer to the modern act of defining actions and using them to group people into categories. In other words it is a form of discrimination. We are used to seeing this in terms of race and even religion but now a new category of virgin verse non-virgin has come to be.
In today’s age as pre-marital sex is becoming more and more casual, sex has adopted names such as “popping one’s cherry” and “doing the nasty”. Sex has become so casual that even the term “doing it” has come to be slang for having sex.
With all the hype surrounding ones first time having intercourse, it begins to be seen as a social barrier much like race, gender, and age. The Buzzfeed video entitled “College Virgin Whisper Confessions” depicts several college students who anonymously disclose that they have never had sex and are embarrassed about it.
One girl even says, “I’ve never had sex before. When my friends make assumptions, I agree with them. I’m the sluttiest virgin in college.” This connotes that one is looked down upon if they have not had sex by the time they are in college, so students feel the need to lie about it. It has become a very defining term and created a new identity for people to identify with. No one wants to be the last virgin and no one wants to feel left out. Part of the trend of having sex is being in this elite circle of people that know what you feel like and can relate to stories you tell. At my high school in California, sex was very open and girls were losing their virginities as babies at age 14. If you had sex you were automatically considered cooler than those that haven’t. Those “prudes” that haven’t had sex yet were never in on the loop because they “wouldn’t understand”: Sex was built up to be this huge defining moment and even movies and commercials played it out to be life changing. These include:
super bowl commercials
the film American Pie
and even Disney’s Hannah Montana
For those that haven’t had sex, losing one’s virginity was seen as something magical, much like a first kiss is portrayed to a kissing virgin. I remember after my first kiss, I was disappointed because there was no music or fireworks as seen in Hannah Montana’s first kiss with Jake in the link above. It’s the same way with losing ones virginity; it isn’t as big of a deal as it is made out to be.
The documentary Let’s Talk about Sex shows America as a country that uses sex to sell products and is virtually everywhere, but is also an act that is taboo to talk about. Sex shouldn’t be taboo, but it doesn’t need to be fantasized and overdone. I also don’t understand the need to identify with the category of whether one is a virgin or not. Similarly with race, it doesn’t change anything about the person. Because sex is controversial and taboo to talk about, I feel like it is a subject that is focused on a lot simply because it is “forbidden”. So my question is, why do we feel the need to categorize people based on their sex status when we are working towards a world that is accepting of it all?