Yesterday, I experienced the privilege and honor of speaking at the Rethinking Virginity Conference at Harvard University. The seminar had been arranged by Lena Chen plus the Harvard Queer StudentsвЂ™ Association, and brought together a very diverse and impressive band of feminists, whom dropped some knowledge that is serious all things virgin-themed. Probably one of the most interesting components of the panel had been learning simply how big booty online much misinformation exists around dilemmas of virginity, intercourse, and our anatomies. IвЂ™ve compiled ten myths uncovered- and debunked- at yesterdayвЂ™s meeting:
Myth # 1:
The hymen could be the marker that is definitive of. There is absolutely no one trait that is physical indicates virginity or intimate activity- not really the clear presence of a вЂњhymen.вЂќ I put hymen in quotes because IвЂ™ve started to discover that it is an entity that is nebulous. At yesterdayвЂ™s meeting, Professor Kathleen Kelly of Northeastern University talked about the past reputation for the hymen and highlighted the way in which our comprehension of the hymen is now misinformed. As she puts it:
вЂњ everything we recognize once the hymen today had not been constantly considered as suchвЂ¦.If we trace the etymology for the term hymen from Greek through Latin to English, we are able to observe the way the term progressively narrows in meaning, first denoting any type of physical membrane, then talking about the womb, and lastly coming to mean very nearly solely вЂњvirginal membrane layerвЂќ within the very early period that is modern. ..The hymen is an overdetermined, commonly misunderstood indication correctly since it has not been a hard and fast element of anatomyвЂ¦the hymen is actually an anatomical component and a metonym.вЂќ
Therefore the indisputable fact that there clearly was some magical barrier that is vaginal only virgins have is oversimplified at most readily useful. In part that is why, back December, a Swedish intimate legal rights team renamed the hymen the вЂњvaginal corona.вЂќ
Myth # 2:
Valuing virginity protects girls and ladies. In reality, valuing virginity places girls and females susceptible to physical violence, punishment, and assault by people in a culture that believes a womanвЂ™s worth is based on her intimate behavior. When I talked about on my panel, вЂњVirginity: A Historical and Cultural Primter,вЂќ violations of girlsвЂ™ and womenвЂ™s intimate and reproductive legal rights and wellness happen every single day in the title of preserving and protecting girlsвЂ™ virginity, delaying sexual intercourse, or managing the circumstances under which girls and females lose their virginity. From forced youngster marriage, female vaginal cutting, and breast ironing to slut-shaming towards the deliberate withholding of data on reproductive and intimate wellness, the increased exposure of preserving virginity has pernicious effects for women when you look at the West and past. I am able to do without that type or sorts of вЂњprotectionвЂќ thanks truly.
Myth number 3: Queer intercourse does not вЂњcountвЂќ. Whilst the panelists yesterday stated, heterosexual intercourse that is vaginal usually privileged above other sexual functions due to the relationship with reproduction (and as a result of good antique heteronormativity and homophobia), and thus people frequently depend on a problematic idea of вЂњvirginityвЂќ that will exclude, marginalize, and disregard the experiences of queer people. But yesterdayвЂ™s panelists noted so itвЂ™s very important to us to generate and reinforce options for this heteronormative penetration-focused view of virginity and exactly how it is вЂњlostвЂќ. Think about a female-bodied person whoever sex will not include being penetrated? Are her experiences that are sexual less legitimate? Section of rethinking virginity has got to add integrating an even more nuanced and much more concept that is queer-friendly of and virginity that doesnвЂ™t provide to devalue the feeling of every individual or set of individuals.
Myth # 4: you can easily just вЂњlose itвЂќ as soon as. This misconception is false on range amounts. To begin with, the definition of вЂњlosing your virginityвЂќ is problematic, since it shows that one thing is inherently lost as outcome of sex and for that reason engages in slut shaming. Next, lots of people get the indisputable fact that you can just experience one thing brand brand new as soon as become restricting and/or oppressive.