What Counts As “Losing Your Virginity?”
Sexual empowerment and liberation for women globally have brought a new understanding of how we perceive the presence or absence of ‘virginity’. So then, how can you tell when you have lost your virginity? Are you still a virgin? Let’s start with the basics.
What is virginity?
That’s obvious! Right? The word virginity is usually used to mean someone who hasn’t had any type of sexual penetration. The truth is there is no one definition of virginity. For some, being a virgin means you haven’t had any penetrative sex — whether that’s vaginal, anal, or even oral. Others may define virginity as never engaging in vaginal penetration with a penis, despite having had other types of sex, including oral stimulation and anal penetration. However you define it, the most important thing to remember is that you get to decide when you’re ready to have sex, the type of sex and whether you’re comfortable with that choice. Also, try not to think of it as “losing” or “giving” something away. It’s more like gaining a whole new experience.
What is a hymen?
There’s a lot of confusion about hymens out there. Many people think the hymen totally covers the opening of your vagina until it’s stretched open, but that’s not usually the case. The hymen is a thin, fleshy tissue that’s located at the opening of your vagina. Often, hymens naturally have a hole big enough for period blood to come out and for you to use tampons comfortably. However, some people are born with so little hymenal tissue that it is likely to tear even without sexual penetration.
So because I have a hymen, does that mean I am a virgin?
There is a highly held belief that you’re not a virgin if your hymen doesn’t bleed on your first vaginal sexual penetration. But having a hymen and being a virgin is not the same thing. Many other activities besides sex can stretch your hymen long before engaging in sex. Therefore, it's ignorant to conclude whether a woman is a virgin or not due to the presence or absence of blood during their first sexual encounter.
With that in a mind here are a few questions tied to sex and loss of virginity:
The word 'sex' can be used to identify gender or mean intercourse between two individuals.
Does masturbation count as sex?
Well, not necessarily! A number of sources define masturbation as an activity that entails touching one's genitals or other sensitive parts of the body for sexual arousal or pleasure. If you’ve masturbated before, that cannot be expressly taken to mean you’ve lost your virginity. However, it’s normal to masturbate before or during sex to lead to a better orgasm. What it is, is a super safe way to learn about your body and prepare you for sex, as it’ll help you figure out what does and doesn’t turn you on. Learn more about it here!
What about outercourse? Is there a direct linkage with virginity?
For those who are wondering, outercourse is a way to engage in sexual activity without intercourse. Examples of outercourse include: making out, masturbating together, playing with sex toys, grinding, and dry humping. Outercourse is considered non-penetrative sex, but again, it’s completely subjective.
What if it was just oral or anal sex? How do the two relate to virginity 'loss'?
Sexual experiences vary. They can involve, penis penetration, fingering or sex toys.
What if it was just the tip?
Unfortunately, there’s no ultimate guide that states what percentage of the penis has to penetrate into a vagina for it to be called sex or constitute a loss of virginity. Tip or the entire penis is still considered sex, or an attempt at sex.
Sex and virginity can mean different things depending on the person. While some facts are almost non-negotiable, many of the terms are still up for debate.
Stay informed, stay in control. Did we miss something? What other questions might you have about this topic?