vergoldung: (you better know what you're fighting for)
[personal profile] vergoldung
(Argh, I'm already off schedule and this thing hasn't even started yet! Oh, well.)

So this fill is for [livejournal.com profile] laeryn's prompt virginity. This got very theoretical, I'm sorry! Also, I like to use spoiler cuts when things get too personal, but I've noticed that the lj-app doesn't hide spoilers? So just saying, there is one!

Ah, virginity… Fitting that this be the first prompt I have to fill.

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time thinking about the concept of virginity, because it's both so absurd and fascinating. I like looking at virginity as something abstract and theoretical - something I can analyze and discuss. And then there is my personal experience, which is real and hurtful - a story I'm learning how to tell, and something I've obsessed over for days, months, years… But obsessing isn't really the right word, it's more that I've been circling back to this moment in my life, repeatedly. Without understanding why.

In December, the pieces that had slowly been forming a picture finally came together to spell one heartbreaking truth: the night I lost my virginity allowed all the following nights, that night sealed the deal and made fucked-up normal. There are not a lot of things I have as much resentment towards as I have for this first night. (It took me years, years to admit that things had been wrong from the very start. So you can imagine that I was not ready to make peace with the idea that it could have shaped me as much as it shaped everything that came after.)

But in December, I realized what I'd lost that day: my innocence. (Ugh, in the context of virginity loss often being demonized as the loss of innocence, that statement loses all its power.) But a piece of me died that day, and it was my unconditional faith in people. The child within was slapped in the face at its most vulnerable, so it just resigned itself and kept silent, no tears, no anger, nothing, just resignation. And that realization knocked me out flat, because who the fuck does such a thing to somebody they claim to love?

This is the first time in my life I've experience such overwhelming self-pity. I didn't deserve this. I really, really didn't. There's nothing I could have done that would have made this an okay thing to happen.

I'm still mourning for child!Eléonore, who put blind trust into that person, bared all weaknesses, only to be trampled to death. (Yeah, I'm not really over it.) I know this must sound frustratingly cryptic and I wish I could stop self-censoring every other word… But I'm still feeling quite sorry for myself and I can't accept that others be pitying me while I'm in that place. So, just know that I was hurt, that it still hurts and that, given some time, it will get better.


But virginity is not just about my personal experience, it's also about the lies society tells us. Virginity has been at the core of the framing of female sexuality for such a long time, that to this day it still holds a ridiculous amount of power.

[Short disclaimer that I'm dealing with an 8K draft where I once tried my best to dissect that very topic - and no, I will never post it because it will never be finished - so keeping this short is proving to be quite the challenge. Sorry? I promise the next fills will be a lot shorter!]

[Second disclaimer: I cannot possibly speak for anything else but the environment I grew up in, so even though I tend to make general statements, they are nothing but. Please, feel free to disagree with the conclusions I drew and tell me how different your experiences are and what you've seen around you.]

I have a thousand reasons why I'm heatedly against first-time worship. But let's start with that : when does somebody even lose his or her virginity? The fact that virginity is still so strongly tied to the vagina-penis dichotomy drives me crazy. (I'm obviously more annoyed at the way it affects women, but it's honestly just as dumb where men are concerned.)

Yeah, oral sex is sex. But no, I won't take your virginity, there's not enough penetration for that. And the same goes for fingering.
A sex toy? You know it's not a penis person, right!
What? Are you serious? Anal sex? Dear, you already have a vagina, why should you ever want anal sex? (I mean, except to keep your hymen intact. #every radio advice ever)


Yeah, gross hetero-centric statements abound. Tl;dr get a dick in your vagina already, it's all truly that matters anyway.

So loss of virginity?

The reductive framing that's been so aggressively promoted to me growing up, made virginity all about the breach of the hymen, no more, no less. Of course that's not actually what's being said, but it's still the message to take home. Loss of virginity happens the first time there is a penis inside a vagina, end of story. It's not about pleasure, it's not even about discovery. (Of course, you can get lucky and have a wonderful first time, but that's not a defining requisite for it being your "first time". Not in the fucking slightest.) For some people, it doesn't even matter if it was your choice or not. You were raped? Oh, not a virgin anymore then. (Like, what the actual fuck.)

And since penis-in-vagina is bound to happen one day or another - if you're a normal girl/boy, that is - it would make no sense to question the legitimacy of that definition. The importance of whatever happens before or after holds no candle to the moment of "deflowering". Because that event apparently defines you forever. Even though it doesn't say anything about you, your sexual experience, your vision of sex (and love - because a lot of people don't know the difference), or anything that would really matter... It's fucking madness.

Additionally, women are taught to understand sexuality as something that follows love. From where I stand, the conflation between sex and love is a neat way to perpetuate the yoke of marriage as far as women's initiation to sexuality goes... Don't misunderstand, having sex with somebody you love can be a wonderful thing, but it's a big problem if "love" is the necessary factor to making female sexuality socially acceptable. It's not healthy for girls to be told that their sexuality needs to be tied to love. This makes young girls a lot more vulnerable to men* they are attracted to because it's supposedly vital that they develop feelings for them.
*as mentionned earlier the discourse about virginty/sex is mainly hetero-centric, very unfortunately.

I trust you have watched the same romantic movies I did. Those movies targeting young women, promising them that 'sex is meaningful, sex isn't something to give away, sex is a precious gift you don't want to give to the wrong person, etc, etc'. These movies are educating young women about sexuality. Not about sex per se. (Do women even have a genuine interest in that? About sexuality? Huh, what a queer thought!) Yet, there still is a giant pressure around women and sex, and the discourse teenage girls are tought to have about sex remains very fear-driven. How do I position myself? What is the right way to react? What is the proper thing to do? Do I want to be a slut? Am I a prude? What is the safer choice for my reputation? What will make me happy? These romantic movies give answers that are lacking elsewhere, answers that are somewhat comforting because they give an instruction manual - not to the physical mechanics of sex, but to the social mechanics of sex - and that's better than nothing.

The dictature around everything first-time is absolutely crazy. And unjustified. The thing is elevated to something that it's not. And my guess is that's it a very effective to scare girls. Honestly, how scary is this first-time-deal? You have to be ready, it has to be the right time, the right guy, the right place, the right dialogue and the right decor... So many things to mess up! So many things to be disappointed by... Girls are set up for desillusion and everybody applauds. Instead of actually educating them on what's really important. But fear is such a neat way to canalize female sexuality. Old news are old. (Need I say that I hate this? I hate this.)

So, first of all: don't have meaningless sex and especially not the first time. It will make you a slut and you will regret it your whole life. (…I can't even.)

Second of all: choose your guy well. Because, yes. Your virginity is all about a guy and the fact that you're giving him this piece of yourself. No, it's not really about you. What you will truly regret, is not being able to give this present (your virginity!) to Mr. Right once you meet him. So please, don't rush anything, 'kay?

Third of all: "Are you ready?" really means "Are you sure this is the right guy for you?". Be sure (see #2). It also means "Is this the right time for you? Are you ready to not be a virgin anymore ((socially))?".

No, "Are you ready?" does not mean "Do you want it? Are you prepared? Do you know what you're doing? Have you thought about what you would like to try? Have you thought about what you would not want to try?". Ha ha, no. It's not about you. It's about who you're supposed to be. Deal with it and move on.

As a social narrative (loss of) virginity makes a huge deal out of "giving" yourself to somebody. And I don't actually have that much of a problem with that framing per se - I actually think there is some accuracy to it. However, I am not okay with the way it overshadows the way losing your virginity is the first step into a new aspect of your life, or, you know, the idea of self-discovery.

There is a hyper-dramatic sacralisation of the first person you are have sex with, which totally disregards the fact that there is a first time with every new partner. Or that there is a first time every time you cross a boundary that was untouched… Oh em gee, right? Right. Why is the person you give it up to so important? Can we stop framing the female sexuality to be all about the dick at the receiving end of it? Newsflash: there is not always a penis involved!

Virginity loss should only ever be about giving yourself to yourself, not somebody else! (Not that it can't also be about somebody else, but never in first place.) Wanting for yourself is really important because it comes with a sense of knowing what you want. Not necessarily in a concrete, fleshed-out fashion, true. But when you want for yourself there is something there, a curiosity, a selfish need that can be explored together. When one party is at a complete loss re: what they want/desire, problematic student/teacher patterns tend to establish themselves real fast. Knowledge is power y'all. Knowlege is power.

So if girls didn’t have to worry so much about choosing the right guy/person, then maybe maybe they could focus on whether they are actually ready for sex. Because. What if you are ready but you aren’t sure the person is right? What if the person feels right and you aren’t ready, but you’re afraid of losing them if you don’t give it up fast enough? Waiting for the right person is the worst advice to give. Waiting for the right time is all that matters. (The right time can be with the right person, whatever. The point is where the focus lies.) I wish more girls were told that.
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