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Inside Beat

Virginity rocks: Why sex doesn't determine your worth

Whether you've already "popped your cherry" or not, having sex is a personal choice and does not dictate your self worth.
 – Photo by iStock

I’m just going to say it guys: I am sexually frustrated.

And no, I'm not in some “dry spell” that high society has deemed “unnatural." I mean I am literally frustrated with the concept that is sex.

Don’t get me wrong, living on one of the most sexually active college campuses in the country definitely has its perks. But, it has its downfalls as well, one of them being the pressure to be humping at every waking moment of the day.

“Virginity” is not a word we hear often at Rutgers, and because of this, it has become somewhat of a taboo to the mainstream.

We live in a culture where we attribute our value as humans, our contributions to the world, our attractiveness and our worthiness of a healthy and stable relationship all to one defining number — how many people we have slept with.

If this number is too high, we’re "damaged goods" that have been passed around the block one too many times, and if it's too low, we’re undesirable, ugly, unseasoned and inexperienced.

You don’t want a girl who has been with everyone — then how are you supposed to make yourself feel special? But you also expect a girl who's going to make love to you like a porn star and do cartwheels around you in the bedroom.

Sadly, there's no room for a happy medium. The ideal girl is unsoiled, pure as the driven snow. She is completely virtuous and innocent, but she's also an erotic, intimate and passionate being.

This obligation of purity falls exclusively on the shoulders of women. The idea of virginity is one of the most dangerous social constructs that we've created. People form opinions about others around it, define their self-worth by it and project their outlook on reproductive rights on it. Virginity is not a gift that can be “given” or a prize that can be “stolen." It simply is or it isn’t.

Since the dawn of time, women’s bodies have been a vessel for sin. Take Queen Elizabeth I, for example. Elizabeth I, one of history's most powerful and prominent leaders, never married, never had children and never had sex. She was even titled England's "Virgin Queen."

But in turn, her ability as a leader and her femininity were called into question.

It's the Queen’s job to provide an heir to the throne — failure to do so warrants speculation about her morality, and so begins the thousand year-long process of antiquating morality with a women’s sexual conquests.

Somewhere along the way, probably in the '60s during the era of “free love,” the script was flipped. It became normal, even encouraged, to have one or more sexual partners. Now, everyone was having sex! And it was either get in line or be left behind.

This brought about a whole new laundry list of problems: Women started to feel pressures from their partners to have sex. They felt pressure from their peers to have sex. They even started to pressure themselves to have sex, as if by choosing to abstain from it meant that they were somehow depriving themselves of some grand luxury that everyone else was enjoying.

Fast forward to 2016, where a young, naïve girl who was eager to take life by the horns felt the consequences of these insanely unrealistic, intense standards set forth by the women who came before her. A girl who grew up believing she was unworthy of love and affection because society told her that love and affection looked like sex.

This girl thought that validation came from who she let enter her. She saw what she thought at the time was “everyone and their mother” getting together, while she was completely and utterly alone.

And because of this, she felt ugly. She felt worthless. She felt cheated out of something that she had never even been a part of, not knowing that years later she would long for the feeling of innocence that she spent so much of her time wishing away.

This girl craved intimacy so badly that she never actually experienced it without some sort of accompanying pain, and that is what her idea of love looked like for the years to follow.

She thought love would come to her if she lost a couple pounds or wore more eyeliner or less clothes and taller heels. She put all of her energy into trying to attract someone that would give her the self-worth she couldn’t give herself — and she did attract lots of energy — but not the kind she was hoping for. Not the kind that would treat her with dignity, and most certainly, not the kind that could restore the self-confidence she had lost.

I've done a lot of emotional work to try to rid myself of the girl I used to be, the one who let herself believe that all she could ever be was what she could give to the people around her. I’ve grown a lot since then, but the ideologies and stereotypes surrounding this sacrilegious idea of virginity have not.

Sex can be very therapeutic. It can be gratifying, liberating and empowering if you allow it to be. But, it can also be dangerous if you give too much of yourself away emotionally in the process.

We can still love and be worthy of love without being sexually active. We can still be empowered, respected women while having sex.

And even if we never receive the validation of sex, we can still be beautiful, bold people with a lot more to contribute to this society than how far behind our head our legs go.

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