Flash back to the ’80s, when Madonna reigned supreme.
Madonna cast a vulgar and tantalizing persona. She vocalized some aspects of the Virgin Mary in a questionable and “impure” style. Madonna was loud, extravagant and definitely not a virgin.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of Madonna’s work, but my 10-year-old brain was puzzled by the song “Like a Virgin.”
Why did she have to sing a song about feeling pure and “shiny and new?”
It hit me my freshman year of high school why it was so revolutionary. It’s a song that millions of high school students would hear because it was talking about the most “taboo topic” of all time: virginity. And not just about losing and recovering virginity, it is about the Madonna Ideology of virginity.
The song might not seem to make sense. But that’s likely its purpose, because virginity is confusing.
I am not here to tell you the definition of a virginity or when you should lose your virginity or if losing your virginity even matters. Because you and your virginity follow your own ideologies.
However, to be a respectful and aware person, there are some things we need to understand about the concept of virginity. Here are three ideas to be mindful of when understanding your own virginity and the virginity of others:
1. It is not a source of power.
For thousands of years, people have used sex and ideals of purity to oppress and ostracize people. We have to move past this. It puts men and women in a position where their social status is determined by a personal choice.
The conversations about having or not having your “V-card” likely arose when you were in high school. Unfortunately, in high school many students attempt to compete with each other in regards to, well, everything.
Right next to discussions about who got the best test scores, who had the highest lifting records and who was cast in the school play, peers size up one and another about each other’s sexual status.
Peers would constantly be sharing who was a virgin and who was not, who said they were and who said they weren’t. Remember in “The Breakfast Club” when Bender (the criminal) was interrogating Claire (Molly Ringwald’s character) about whether or not she was a prude or a slut? That’s not OK. Whether you are male or female, your virginity is not something your partner, your friends or you should hold up as a Scarlet Letter or Medal of Honor.
2. The definition of virginity is not found in a universal textbook.
No matter who you talk to, there are differing definitions of what a virgin is and how virginity is lost. Some say it has to do with when the hymen breaks; some say it’s when any kind of intercourse is had (vaginal, oral or anal), and some people don’t believe virginity is a real thing.
Whatever your virginity ideology is or how it was constructed, you would be hard put to find several people with the exact same conception as you. In peer groups it’s important to be mindful and respectful of those with a different ideology, but you are not required to believe someone else’s. No one should put you in a position that makes you feel like you must defend your virginity ideology. If that happens, the aggressor likely does not respect you or your choices.
3. Be proud about your ideology.
You constructed your virginity ideology from your own experiences and opinions. Whatever it is, you have to find confidence in your choice. This doesn’t make you special and it doesn’t mean your ideology is the one that everyone should follow. Being proud is being self-satisfied with your achievements.
There should be no shame or regret in your decisions. To do so can lead to negative feelings toward yourself and others. If you are struggling to find solace in your virginity ideology, it’s important to talk to a mentor. This could be any individual who can guide you in a non-threatening and accepting way. This could be a spiritual leader, physician, guardian, friend or experienced educator.