Virgin Mary

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A while back, I talked about losing my virginity and how the age at which I did so occasionally attracts judgment — a common problem, as I found out from your comments and feedback. The idea that not having sex somehow makes you better or worse than other people, particularly depending on your age, is a ridiculous myth that needs to disappear. But it’s certainly not the only one!

According to this clip from How To Lose Your Virginity, a hilarious/enraging/engaging film about virginity (duh) that premieres in New York this Sunday, there’s a ridiculous test involving your neck and a piece of string that can determine if you’ve ever had sex before:

As you can see, it is dubiously accurate! And by “accurate,” I mean “I’ve never feared a piece of string so much.”

I asked our writers, as well as those from our sister sites, what they feel are the worst, dumbest or most ridiculous virginity myths. Here they are, as well as our various outrageous, incredulous and furious reactions…in GIFs, naturally. Because that is how our generation feels feelings.

1. Using tampons makes you not a virgin.

Just because you don’t want to wear pads and instead opt for tampons (or Diva Cup/similar apparatuses!) doesn’t mean you have somehow had sex, unless that tampon is actually a penis.

2. You’ll always bleed.

Untrue. I, for one, did not and I know plenty of others who didn’t. The notion that every woman will winds up perpetuating a lot of untrue ideas about how a female’s body is “supposed” to react to sex for the first time — and that any woman who doesn’t, but claims to have been a virgin, is a liar.

The hymen is just a thin membrane near the opening of your vagina — it isn’t some magical door that people speak passwords into until it opens and you evolve like a Pokemon into an adult.

3. The dumbest myth is that that most guys lose their virginity before college and therefore know whats goes where freshman year. False. They lose it on the first night of college. Then take several years to figure anything out.

I knew lots of people who hadn’t had sex until college or after graduating. Most felt kind of uncomfortable with that, even if it was a totally conscious choice not to do so. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of societal pressure to not be last (especially when you’re a man, just as there’s a lot of societal pressure not to be first if you’re a woman), but don’t do it until you personally want to.

4. Young boys losing their virginity to much older females is okay because they’re male.

No. No, no, no. Losing your virginity as an 8-year-old to a high schooler is 100% not okay, regardless of gender. This is a messed-up double standard that can cause serious emotional harm in males who have been abused or raped, as it makes them feel guilt, confusion and shame for not having “appreciated” something that was violent and wrong. Male consent is just as important as any other person’s consent.

5. The ‘virgins don’t know anything about sex/are terrible at sex’ thing is misleading. If you passed health class at a school that educated you about such things, there’s not much to stress about. I was ridiculously terrified about having sex for the first time with someone who had also not had sex before. I was completely convinced that since we were both virgins we were going to fuck it up or something terrible would happen. I don’t know what I though was going to happen; it’s not that complicated. As long as you both know how protection works, the rest is simple.

While everyone goes at their own rate, there are lots of people who suck as partners who have had plenty of sex, and lots of people who are amazing partners who are just starting out.

6. Probably the idea that girls are intrinsically bound for life to their first sex partner. And that losing your virginity WILL be a big deal emotionally if you’re a girl, no matter what.

Common misconception that encourages the oh-so-stupid belief that (A) women are inherently more codependent and obsessive than men, (B) that women can’t detach emotions from sex, and (C) that sex has to be a big deal to your life.

7. That “purity” or “innocence” is a useful or desirable quality in women. Purity is meaningless, and innocence is something that’s charming in small children, not grown-ups. The way some people talk about purity, it’s as though they think we’re Eloi until someone comes and defiles us with dick and turns us into regular people who are somehow lessened by the experience.

Liz summed it up perfectly, so I’ll just leave it at that.

8. That there’s one single definition of “virginity.”

There isn’t. Some people define it as having oral sex for the first time, some define it as any sexual contact whatsoever, some define it as nothing except vaginal penetration (which thereby excludes gay men altogether)…the list goes on. It’s up to you how you want to define it, not somebody else. Unless you can’t drive, in which case, you’re on your own.