By Alexie Aguayo
Virginity is a concept that bleeds across mainstream media platforms, but in recent years, artists have started to question the idea of virginity.
In her song “Mother’s Daughter,” Miley Cyrus sings, “virginity is a social construct.”
The lyrics have garnered backlash from conservatives, and support from liberals.
The idea of questioning virginity is prevalent in mainstream media today. Which brings the question, how does the general population feel about virginity in 2019?
Virginity is alive, but different
“I think virginity is alive,” says Cori Bates, who identifies herself as a lesbian. “I think it’s totally valid to lose your virginity to a female.”
Bates claims that she “lost her virginity” to another woman and that it’s nobody’s business to state otherwise.
“You can pop the cherry without a penis,” Bates says sarcastically, “[people] have the right to their thoughts but I also have the right to my thoughts.”
Cal State Fullerton LGBTQ Resource Center Coordinator, Nat Betancourt, says that sex is a topic talked about a lot at the resource center because many do not know exactly what sex is. Many students come to the resource center to be in a comfortable spot to speak about the topic and receive advice about virginity.
“Virginity is more emotional than physical, in my opinion,” Betancourt said. “It is based on personal preference and what the individual decides to identify as when it comes to virginity.”
Religious values on virginity
Dr. Jesse Battan, CSUF sex and gender professor, says religion is one of the main factors many choose to “keep their virginity” until marriage. This and other things such as staying away from STDs and emotional damage.
“Looking at the [religious] side, saying that sex is only purposeful for reproducing after marriage is restricting,” says Betancourt. “Once you get out of that, there is so much more to explore in sex physically and emotionally.”
Many agree with Betancourt.
“The number of women still being virgins on their wedding night has declined decade by decade,” says Dr. Battan.
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the average age Americans lose their virginity is 17.3 for both women and men.
However, Dr. Battan says that these research surveys about sex aren’t entirely accurate.
“The trouble with sexual surveys is that some do dispute the degree to which people answer them honestly,” says Dr. Battan, “do these surveys reflect actual behavior? We will never know.”
Even if the number is broad, around 17.3 is still a young age and it is hard to say if many people in this survey were married by age 17.
The future of virginity
Dr. Ritch C. Savin-Williams, the Director of the Sex and Gender Lab at Cornell university, recognizes the recent trend on losing virginity before marriage on PsychologyToday.com.
“If you are a virgin when most of your peers are not might stigmatize you, both to yourself and a potential partner,” says Dr. Williams. “You might as well consider your virginity to be a negative factor in your attractiveness to prospective sexual and romantic partners.”
He mentions that staying a virgin until marriage is a failing trend because recent surveys state that many individuals want a sexual partner that has experience, even if that sexual partner is a virgin.
This is due to a “cultural change” in millennials.
“Young adults today place greater emphasis on sexual engagement and ability in their partners than did those in past generations,” Dr. Williams quotes.
It seems millennials now and in the future are worrying less of “restricting” values on virginity and are focusing more on how to be an engaging person in bed.