Guest Blogger: Sarah Canavan

Dear Virgins,

How are you? Are you feeling sad? Lonely? Unfulfilled? Apparently, that’s what the world assumes you must be feeling. Because obviously any college student who has not yet lost their v-card must either be (a) waiting for marriage, (b) a nun, or (c) a failure at adulthood.

A friend at Boston University recently sent me a picture of this poster:

I admit, when I first got the picture, I thought it was pretty funny. Turns out, it’s a poster for a movie (although I don’t know which one—I’m a bad blogger, I know). But before I discovered that it was an advertisement for a movie, I started thinking about what the poster was really saying, particularly as it is posted on a college campus. It’s saying that being a virgin is bad. And, not only is it bad, but that if you are still a virgin by the time you get to college, there must be something wrong with you. And you must need help by calling toll free to 888-743-4335.

I’m not arguing for or against virginity. I have nothing whatsoever against people who choose to wait for marriage or choose to not. I think it’s a personal choice when and with whom you choose to have sex. However, my question is when did it become a bad thing to be a virgin? When did it go from a private personal choice to a public joke? Not too long ago it was a bad thing if you weren’t a virgin, and there are still plenty of examples in the media (and real life) in which girls are ridiculed, ostracized, and called sluts and whores because they choose to have sex.

But don’t overlook the fact that many of these constructions are specific to girls. I’m not exactly sure what guys’ take on virginity is, but I’d be willing to bet that being a virgin as a college guy is not nearly as accepted as being a virgin as a college girl—and it’s not all that accepted for girls to begin with… This raises all kinds of questions about why it’s worse for guys to be virgins, which I assume has something to do with masculinity. When we talk about virginity itself, we generally tend to talk about who we lost our virginity to, rather than just that we lost it. Taking a girl’s virginity is a big deal. And obviously we can’t bypass the language here. A man takes virginity. He takes it from her. It’s language of power and dominance. When girls talk about taking a guy’s virginity, we tend to say things that are more along the lines of, “it was his first time,” or we just don’t talk about it at all (because we would never want to emasculate you, guys).

This poster seems pretty gender-neutral to me, though, so it could be intended to be talking to either gender. Which means, as I said before, that college society labels virginity bad no matter who you are. But again, there are all kinds of contradictions. On this campus (and I’m guessing most other campuses), if you’re a virgin you’re a prude, but if you sleep around, you’re a slut. So which is it? Is it bad to keep your pants on, or take them off?


43 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Sarah Canavan

  1. Katie Smith says:

    I think the question of whether or not it is a positive or negative thing to be a virgin is impossible to answer. There are so many different ideologies when it comes to sex, and like we discussed in class the other day (briefly), it is viewed very differently by different people. Institutions also have a major influence on sex. The most influential one (in my mind anyways) is religion. Different religions have different takes on Virginity, and when the right/wrong time to “lose it” is.
    It is very difficult to look at sex without some sort of bias. Personally, I don’t really think it matters when one choses to lose his or her virginity, since it is a personal choice. I do however think that it is an issue when people feel pressured into having sex because “everyone else is doing it.” I went to a boarding school, so losing your virginity was a serious commitment. You hear these wonderful, fairy tale stories about people losing their virginity, but in high school, most of my friends lost the V card in a class room, the auditorium, the Chapel Basement (i know, disgusting but one of the THE MOST common places) or if it was nice out the athletic fields. I never felt that pressure in high school, and I knew that I wouldn’t be judged about my own sexual ideals. I know that this isn’t the case in many institutions. It seems as though in today’s society that younger and younger people are having sex, some even before they reach puberty. Losing one’s virginity is supposed to be a personal choice, but it seems as though in today’s world, that choice has already been made for you.

  2. Yanli Guo says:

    I certainly consider people are normal when they’re twenty-one and are still virgins. However, peer pressure or other bias may force them to feel they’re not. I am sure there are plenty of twenty-one-year-old virgins around, but you will never find out because they will not tell you. To me, sexual life should be considered a private matter and personal choice. People don’t have to lose their virginities because they want to be sexually knowledgeable and experienced. Some people might want to save their first special encounters for people who they really LOVED. This is nothing to be ashamed of; as a matter of fact, it’s actually something that should be admired of. We all have to interact with so many different things and people each day; keeping one’s virginity is definitely not an easy thing to hold on to. It’s a beautiful thing to do when you are able to share that intimate moment with that special person who you feel comfortable with and most importantly of all: LOVE should always be included before having sex. You don’t do it just because you feel lonesome or all your friends are doing it. Either way, it’s important to be true to yourself – to have sex, the kind that you want, with a consenting partner, because you want to, and not because of anybody else’s influence. Overall, sexual intercourse will always play an important role for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.

    • mike says:

      I agree 100 percent with this post. Yanli makes a good point. society has created this stereoptype where virgins are viewed as abnormal and because they have chosen to remain sex-free, there has to be some kind of problem. this stereotype includes both men and women. If a male is a virgin then there must be something wrong with his masculinity, whereas for virgin women are looked at as being a prude. either way, being a virgin is wrong. what society has failed to realize is that sex should be something that people cherish not an act of exploitation. dont get me wrong, I have no problem with people who like to have sex just to have sex but i dont think virgins should be viewed as inferior and picked on because of their personal choices. one of my best friends is a 21 year old virgin and not because he cant get girls to have sex with him, he simply hasnt found the right one. yes he gets ripped on for it but at the same time we respect the choices he makes or else he wouldnt be considered a friend. you shouldnt have to rush having sex in order to be socially accepted.

  3. Ashley Yang says:

    This may be neither here nor there, but in my adolescent psych class last semester, in a textbook published in 2008, there was a statistic that cited that 2/3 of graduating high school seniors (so maybe 17, 18 years old) have had sex.

    Has anyone found any stats regarding the virginal status of COLLEGE seniors? Now THAT would be interesting–albeit, probably really really false, because people would lie–because that’s our culture. Interestingly enough.

  4. Cory Andrews says:

    This is a classic example of Marylin Frye’s “double bind” concept, where women are put in situations where both options are undesirable. If women are sexually active (no matter to what degree) they’re labeled sluts, and if a woman is not sexually active, she’s a prude. But one of the key regulations, according to Frye, for a double bind is that men must benefit from the outcome in some way. So how does this benefit men (as a sociocultural group)? My thoughts are that either option open to women in this double bind somehow allow men to maintain dominance over women. If a woman goes the route of the sexually active, men may begin to inappropriately sexualize that woman/women in general and feel “entitled” (“Do you see what she’s wearing? What do you expect?” or “She was asking for it”). This subordinates women to a state of powerlessness where men remain dominant. If a woman chooses to not be sexually active, men may see that woman as not being valuable, as so much value is placed on sexuality. This leads to her being personally dismissed and outcasted, again subordinating her in position to not only men but also sexually active women. It’s a very deliberately constructed lose-lose situation.

  5. Kathryn Bowering says:

    Sarah brings up a point that is certainly a buzz topic on college campuses. The age-old virgin/slut categorization for women seems to be becoming more black and white and harder to escape. In many groups of friends here on campus, if you are single and are not casually hooking up with others, you are not only considered a bit weird but are also on the outside of many social conversations. I feel like I constantly overhear my own friends and women I don’t know talking about one of two things: boys and drinking. I can’t believe how often this is the subject of conversation, and it gets tiring to those of us whose lives don’t revolve around weekend hookups and partying.

    Also, it is definitely true that both men and women are considered “abnormal” if they are still virgins in college. However, it is never really considered strange if someone has never had a serious relationship before college. This leads to a seemingly obvious schism, to me. No relationship, no problem. No sex? Big problem. I was taught to at least care about/trust another person before you sleep with them…but this doesn’t seem to be a major deciding factor for many people anymore. If meaningless sex is fun for you, by all means, have it. I’m all for tolerance of sexual practices–it is an individual choice. However, we can’t deny the obvious lack of tolerance for more “old school” sexual practices on college campuses, in the media, and in general. Students shouldn’t have to face such enormous pressure about sexual choices, and the fact that sex is the main topic of so many conversations really reflects on our society and “normative” cultural practices.

  6. Nick B says:

    I think that Sarah raises some interesting points in this piece about sex and gender. Even something like being a virgin has implications for each gender. I have to agree with Sarah in that if you are a virgin and a male then guys will definitely assume there’s something wrong with you, as it would only get worse with age, i.e the movie 40 Year Old Virgin. So, losing virginity for men does not seem like all that big a deal, you have either had sex or not. It is almost like there is a different kind of issue for women. That first time is a bigger deal and has different implications than it does for men, as Sarah said women “lose” their virginity and men “take it.” That use of language shows the gender issues that exist within sex, and the idea of power is often seen in the men. Another important point Sarah made was the difference between being a virgin and a slut. It is difficult to realize what people find acceptable but I guess there is a happy medium. It is just interesting how men can have as much sex as possible without being labeled a whore or some other derogatory word. For women it is easy to quickly become viewed as a slut, especially within a small college campus. However, as the poster clearly displays being a virgin by the time you reach college is simply unacceptable, for everyone. But I do think that it is mostly directed to men and that is because of the difference in views that exist between genders. And these are differences that we constantly see, like men always going out to try and find a girl to get with.

  7. Wow, I’ve never seen this poster before. I did some poking around online, and apparently it’s for Will Ferrell’s newest flick called “The Virginity Hit.” Go figure.

    The fact that the poster was on a college campus speaks volumes about the movie’s target audience and what our society thinks about sex. Way back when, it was considered inappropriate and taboo to talk about sex or anything sexual. Case and point: My grandma couldn’t believe there was a series of “Sextember” events on campus. She was appalled to hear about the free condoms and other, shall we say, goodies that were handed out. However, today’s culture is much more open to sexuality—it’s everywhere. The media, the television, the advertisements, everything. It’s something younger generations aren’t afraid to talk about, which I think is a good thing.

    In terms of sexuality for girls, there are two stereotypes our institutions have created: the virgin and the slut. As Sarah said, if you’re a prude, you’re a virgin; if you sleep around, you’re a slut. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground, and it’s a lose-lose situation for the women.

    The language and discourse associated with sex is incredibly gendered. I’m thinking back to two articles we read: Martin’s “The Egg and the Sperm” and Cameron’s “Naming of Parts.” From the empirical level of the egg and the sperm, Martin discussed how the egg was characterized as a passive, inactive object, while the sperm actively does the penetrating. This directly coincides with the patriarchal power structure in society today (i.e. the virgin). Martin later says in recent years, the egg has been depicted as an “aggressive sperm catcher,” which alludes to a different female gender role (i.e. the slut). Again, this shows the lack of middle ground, and our need to categorize everything.

    Cameron’s piece serves as further evidence to the patriarchal society. The college men all personified their penises as masculine, powerful, and aggressive. As we know from class, a threat to the penis is a threat to masculinity … so perhaps if it goes “unused” (read: the guy’s a virgin) that is a threat to masculinity as well. What do guys have to say about this?

  8. Chris Bramwell says:

    When men loose their virginity, they don’t discuss who they lost it too, usually; instead they boast that they lost it. The theorized goal then, is to loose it as quickly as you can and to have as many partners as possible, as these goals makes you an authority on sex.

    Furthermore, men have an ability to just walk away from their sexual partners. There is not a necessary emotional attachment to their sexual partners because Men cannot possibly carry children. For this reason, men can indulge in the proverbial sexual equivalence of fast food, while women cannot because they could get pregnant by their 5 dollar meal.

    Sarah, you raise interesting points. I feel as though the general assumption among college students is that everyone is not a virgin, just as it is in the “real world.” My question to everyone then is where this assumption that nobody college-age or older has their virginity originates? For college students, is it a function of trying to be like “real world” people? Or, for “real world” people, is not having your virginity a function of the assumption that everyone has gone to college, the place where people loose their virginity?

  9. ecgove says:

    Virginity is one thing that is universal to humans. We are all virgins until a certain point in our lives and inevitably we all need to make the choice to have sex or not. Obviously our society is enthralled with sex. We see it on T.V., in movies, in music, etc… With teenagers being bombarded with sexual material from all angles, it’s no wonder kids get harrassed for both having sex and waiting for the right moment. Theres a certain assumption for college students that once we get to this level, virginity is a challenge we’ve already overcome. We find it funny when someone is a virgin when society dictates that they shouldn’t be. Take the movie “40 Year Old Virgin” for example. We assume that someone has had sex by age 40, and when they haven’t it’s suprising to us. We laugh even though it may be a sensitive topic for that person.

  10. Michael Rivera says:

    I will not lie when I first saw the poster I laughed, but isnt that what society has taught us to do? Laugh and make jokes about things we take serious today such as being gay, being a person of color and for this example a virgin? Sometimes I think we turn these things into jokes in order to decrease some of the tension between people and modern day issues.

    Although I agree with making things into jokes can help decrease certain tensions, I think it is essential to understand when there is a time to joke and a time to be serious. In a generation where girl are becoming mothers at a much earlier age, I frown upon the movie for making fun of the fact that both guys and girls are still virgins. Not that I am pro virgins or pro sex, I do not mind either stands. I just mind when we do not know when its okay to turn things into a joke or to take it serious. I am curious to see exactly what the movie is about.

  11. Gabrielle Perez says:

    I find this poster/piece on it to be quite interesting. It is definitely true that our generation has changed the way society views sexuality, and therefore if you are holding on to your virginity, you are somehow holding on to traditional views of society rather than the modern ideas around sexuality.

    I don’t know if anyone remembers the movies about college life where the “virgin” was usually sacrificed in a fraternity or whatever they were doing, but there is this culture around maintaining virginity or feeling free to sleep with whoever you please. There is also a culture of the “Walk of Shame” vs. “Stride of Pride”, which implies that sexuality is in fact gendered. Women are targeted as shameful when walking down the hall/down the street from someone’s building, whereas men have this sense of pride when doing the exact same thing. When did this culture become acceptable for college campuses? It happens everyone and we are so quick to pass judgement on someone just based on how many sexual partners they’ve had (or how little as well).

  12. JoJo Ragon says:

    Well, this is a topic that tends to make me ridiculously nervous and upset. I am the oldest of five and have three younger sisters, ages 19, 10, and 5 and one brother who is 15. The stigma around virginity, the “black and white” prude/slut(‘the man’) categories make me feel like my younger siblings have a low chance of 100% choosing the right time that they want to have sexual intercourse.
    I know in high school I was seen as the “girl who guys couldn’t break.” I had more guy friends than girl friends and they knew that first, I was not allowed to date, and that they had a slim to rare chance of getting anywhere with me. It was not until my senior year that I had my first real boyfriend and I will never forget my guy friends being pissed because this guy “came out of nowhere and wasn’t even my friend first.” Apparently they thought they were a much better fit, but what guy friend doesn’t
    Anyway, I have to give major props to my younger sister who is still a virgin and is not ashamed to say so. Her friends, like my old high school peers, find it hard to believe that is the case but I know its because of how we were raised. My mother always told me that it was “the one thing that I could give my husband.” Granted that has gone to s**t now, I am grateful that I was never allowed to date because all of the middle/high school relationships I’ve known were bulls**t and never did any good. I’m not saying that they can’t be, this is just my personal observations growing up. Even with my younger brother, I feel like going to see Shrek 3D and trying to touch your date is just unnecessary at that age.
    Personally, I am not a “wait for marriage” type of girl, but high school should be the earliest if anything. Of course statistic wise, we know that this is not the case, but I guess I am making a compromise (and not being a hypocrite). I think that what needs to be enforced among youth is safety rather than abstinence because any idiot knows that the more you tell a child that they cannot do something, they are going to want to do it more. Believe me.
    As you can see, I am NOT the biggest Palin fan and this is for obvious reasons–to force someone to have a baby because you do not want them to “murder” whatever it is that you think is inside them is not anyone else’s choice but the person who is pregnant. Abstinence and anti-abortion are two of the worst ways to go about protecting our youth and they seem to be our ideologies. To me they are more like fantasies that only cause more problems. Obviously I am pro-choice (not pro-abortion) but I feel that every girl should be able to decide for herself what she does or does not want to do with her body.
    The government makes me laugh when they believe that making abortion a right/amendment that can be taken away or brought back to order is a question of administration and not the individual. I don’t believe we have any laws concerning men and what/how they choose to use their body.

  13. Allison May says:

    You know, I have seen this poster before. One of my friends uploadeda picture of it from her blackberry onto facebook and I had to do a double-take because I was so confused. Now that I know it’s from a movie, somehow I’m even more confused. I don’t really understand why being a virgin is such a bad thing anyway. Why should the fact that you’ve had sexual intercourse or not define who you are? I enjoy how Sarah posted that if you are still technically a virgin in college, you are “(a) waiting for marriage, (b) a nun, or (c) a failure at adulthood”. I hate how in society, especially in the college setting, this belief is drilled into our heads daily by movies, music, television shows…maybe even the news (well, if Chelsea Lately counts as “news”).

    I also really enjoy what Sarah said about the different meanings for virginity when it comes to boys and girls. The movie that this poster is promoting (which I remember because I really liked the song in the trailer) is about a boy’s race to losing his virginity, simply because his friends chide him endlessdly about him still having his v-card. And although I do agree that guys may seem to have it easier than girls when it comes to virginity, I think what society says about taking a girl’s virginity is much worse. For example, when a sexually experienced girl talks about taking a boy’s virginity, most often she and her girlfriends will talk about it in a joking, playful tone, usually because the guy is viewed as a dork for still having his v-card (I’m not judging! I’m just saying how virginity is viewed in a college setting). ex: “Awwww, he’s still a virgin? Go for it.” But when a guy takes a girl’s virginity, or is planning to do it, the joking and playful tone turns slightly more dominating. ex: “Dude, when are you gunna pop that cherry? She wants it bad” (not made up, I’ve actually overhead this statement uttered from the mouth of someone on this campus) When I heard this, I was appaled. This statement made me cringe. Although I think that the topic of virginity will always be a controversial one, I am hoping that one day it will not be such a big deal as it is now. WHO CARES IF SOMEONE’S HAD SEX OR NOT?!

  14. Olivia Carb says:

    I see everyone discussing this idea of there needing to a “happy medium” between being a slut or a virgin. Hasn’t that medium already been stereotypically created and reinforced within society? In order to women to escape this dichotomy of being either a whore or a prude she needs to be in a relationship with a man, she needs to be “controlled” under the “possession” of a man. He takes her virginity, he takes her singledom. Men have bestowed these labels on women and women, in turn, have seemingly accepted them and reinforced them in their own language (like omg she’s such a whore, like omg is she a dyke? she like never hooks up with anyone!). In order to us to escape these labels, we have to label ourselves a girlfriend. There, in the safety of our man’s arms, no one can harm us and call us a slut or a whore because we have reached a state of validity, we belong to someone else and thus cannot be a slut or a whore but rather the property of another. I think this language-epidemic can be seen as stemming from the enlightenment period and the construction of the two-sex theory where women were seen as autonomous biological beings. This autonomy made men believe that women were “out of control” and that in order for control to be obtained and maintained she needed to get married and sent to the kitchen and the midwife (a woman’s period was also seen as her body “crying for a baby” and rejecting her denial of domestic bliss). If a woman deviated from the “happy mother” ideal set in place as political and social propaganda, she was seen as a whore, or if she ran off to a convent she was saintly (and probably couldn’t find a man to marry because she was heinous). This is almost still the case today, especially in our generation where girls who aren’t in a relationship and seek sexual fulfillment are deviant and whorish, and if they’re running off to the library instead of getting hammered and waking up in a strangers bed, she’s a weirdo prude. WHAT THE HELL DOES SOCIETY WANT? That answer is easy… find yourself in a heterosexual relationship and you aren’t a whore or a prude, you have finally found “balance” and “control” under the authority of a man who validates your newfound “social stability.”

  15. Esther Altomare says:

    Males are expected to be strong, powerful men here on earth to dominate. The women of society, as De Beauvoir so eloquently has stated are nothing more than the Other. The oppositipe of the strenght that males in our nation have come to define. If is for these reaons why college aged males are expected to not be virgins, and are proud of this assertion. Males are ridiculued for being virgins especially on college campus’ whre this poster is so proudly displayed. While many males take pride in the fact of coming to conquer a pure, innocent virginal girl bragging to other males about veing the one who got their girl to
    “give it up” that is not the case in male relationships. I of course, do not understand the ails that may come with college age virginity.

    This poster also has great implications for the female sex aswell.I cant help but think about how in society it’s almost as if girls cant win. If you haven’t lost your virginity into your college years, youre a prude, something is wrong with you. While at the same time, if youve lost it too early, youre labeled an easy slut. There is no winning this sytem of namecallling in society and poster like this arn’t helping.

  16. Ashley Yang says:

    Reading all these posts reminds me of a very relevant, and in my opinion, very sad story about a girl I used to be very close with in high school, and have since fallen out of touch with. Sometime last year, she was playing “Never have I ever” with her new sororitymates, and it came up that she was a virgin. They started to taunt her endlessly. Now in our circle of friends from home, this was a complete non-issue. Some of us are virgins, some of us aren’t, but apparently, for those girls, it was a giant ordeal.

    They were all a little drunk by the time they actually went out to the bar, and the sorority girls continued to hassle my friend until she finally decided she “was just going to go through with it.” So basically she hooked up with the first freshman she could find (she was a junior), went back to his place, and did the nasty. Just so her new “sisters” would stop making fun of her.

    I was just sick when I found out about it. Knowing this girl for years as I did, I know she’s a huge romantic–and when she really finds a guy she wants to be with, she’ll never get to have that first experience again. I know she regrets it, though she doesn’t talk about it much with us. She just folded under the drunken pressure of a new crowd she was trying to please, confirming to societal standards of virginity as something to be ashamed of, and she ended up doing something she’ll never be able to take back.

  17. Kyle Tritten says:

    When i saw this poster i laughed also. But after the fact i realized that the poster wasn’t right to posted, but finding it was for a movie makes it a little more acceptable. Although the whole issue dealing with virginity is a little more complicated. Now generally being a male you don’t admit to being a virgin for the mere fact that everyone else has hinted too , it emasculates us. So even if you are a virgin at this point in your life you come up with some crazy story to prove your not or to make sure your not emasculated by your peers. Men don’t want a girl to be a slut that they hook up with or date, they would rather hook up and take a girls virginity becuase for some odd reason it makes them feel more of man, and gives bragging rights. Like some have said girls need to find a medium between being a virgin and a slut. Now for i don’t really care it is the girls choice as to what she wants to do, if you want to sleep around go ahead but know you will get made fun of by being called a slut, whore, etc. But if your virgin know your will endure some criticizum by men most of all. If a man is making fun of you for being a virgin that is because he is trying to humiliate you into losing it with him so he has a record or a story to tell in front of his guys. These titles will always be around, and the names associated with them will be so you must know that what you do is up to you no one else. And your choices you’ll have to deal with even if the other people are wrong in what they are saying to you. This society has a huge issue when it comes to sleeping around, and virginity it needs to be addressed and people of both genders need to lose their stereotypes with them.

  18. theonlinevoiceblog says:

    What an interesting question you’ve raised, Sarah. It’s brings up something that we deal with on a daily basis at a small, liberal arts school: gossip and labeling of people. I tend to agree with you that the “labeling” in terms of virginity seems to be “black and white,” in that you’re either a prude or a slut. It seems like no matter what, people will judge a given person based on how often or with whom they want to have sex. The bottom line is that people should not be judged based on the sexual decisions they make, but that’s a rather unrealistic proposition in the setting in which we live.
    However, I think the truly pressing issue that arises here is the notion of gender stereotypes in relation to sexual activity. Often times, masculine culture seems to praise (and almost idealize) men who are sexually active with multiple partners. However, women who sleep with multiple partners can be humiliated in public by being labeled “whores” or “sluts.” We often see this in the media by way of advertising as well as the celebrities we support. This appears to be setting an unfair double standard that could arise due to underlying gender stereotypes.
    So I wonder what is it that causes this unfair double standard? Why is it that sleeping with multiple people have such a negative stereotype for women, but not for men? I don’t know the answer, but perhaps others will have ideas as to why this occurs.

  19. Alex Cragg says:

    Society definitely plays a role in how we live our sex lives. Usually when I think of the word “virgin” I think of how they are portrayed in movies, like 40 Year Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers (stage 5 clinger). I don’t really believe that those aren’t accurate portrayals of virgins but someone must have thought that at one time to put it into a movie.
    I feel like the virgin/slut binary is something girls are faced with as soon as they enter high school. Everybody says they’re doing it but are they really? And you have to wonder, are they happy about it? Are there people who do it and say they haven’t?
    This reminds me of a movie I saw a couple months ago called Easy A. The main character was paid by guys to pretend that they had sex to boost both of their reputations. Of course this situation is a little farfetched but it makes you think, how far will people go to make you believe what they want you to believe about their sex lives?
    I guess the whole virgin/slut thing confuses me. How many guys do you have to sleep with before you can be deemed a slut? What is the “correct” age to loose your virginity? As far as I’m concerned, it’s no body’s business but your own.

  20. Becky says:

    With this topic there really is no right or wrong. It is so confusing for middle schoolers and high schools kids to see mixed messages in the media about sexuality and virginity. I remember thinking how scary this all sounded when I was younger. The media makes arguments about people who choose to wait but they also make arguments about people who choose to have sex before marriage.
    Children now grow up in such a confusing world. Girls feel that they need to lose their virginities before college and guys feel the same. But the difference between the genders is that if a girl has more than one sexual partner in her life she is known as a slut or whore but if a guy has more than one sexual partner throughout his life, he is seen as a normal guy. There is no real normal in this world. There are variations of what should be considered in society as normal but we categorize way too much a provide a hostile environment for children growing up and learning about sexuality and themselves.

  21. kelly olney says:

    Chris Bramwell brings up a good point discussing the difference between men and woman and how they are affected by sex. Basically men don’t get pregnant so they don’t have to go through the emotions, while women have that worry of getting pregnant after each session of intercourse. Men have nothing to worry about (pregnancy) and see no harm in having sex with more than one person. Within my group of friends sex was a huge topic to talk about and we were always arguing over who has done it the most. It sounds rather childish now but that is the way that men look at it. Women do have the worry of getting pregnant, which makes it a “touchy” subject to discuss among women. Some women may have been raped, are they virgins, another reason the topic of virginity and sex is touchy. The fact that there is a movie mocking virginity is wrong depending on the way you look at it, anything can be made fun of.

  22. Jillian McCarthy says:

    I really liked what Olivia said, that the only way for a woman to find a happy medium as far as her sexual activity goes is to find a man and get into a committed relationship. According to our society, women can’t be whole people without a man . God forbid we sleep with too many, though, because then we have become like men in having multiple sexual partners, thereby leaving the carefully-constructed gender role that society has assigned us.

    I think the more interesting question to discuss here would not be when it is appropriate to engage in sexual activity, but how our society defines sex. As a girl, you’re no longer a virgin when your hymen is broken. This leaves out anal and oral sex from the picture completely. It bothers me that female virginity is defined purely by whether or not we have a hymen when there is so much more to sex than hymens. Maybe we should define it in terms of orgasms; you have one and it’s sex. You don’t and it’s not. I think that this definition would do a better job of including women in the definition of sex, which is much more of a psychological and emotional experience for us than it is for men. When only vaginal intercourse is considered in determining virginity, it diminishes sex for women. I know many women for whom vaginal intercourse is not enough to have an orgasm, and when this form of sex is the only one considered “real” sex, where does that leave us? Answer: In a lower position than men as far as sex goes; while “real” sex will just about always result in fulfillment for them, for us it’s another story, and apparently our fulfillment just isn’t quite as important as theirs. Why should something that isn’t all that earthshaking for half of the people having sex (i.e. women) be the way in which our society defines it?

  23. PJ says:

    Virginity is a hot topic that I am disgusted with. Our society is too much based on sex and frankly I’m sick of it and embarrassed to be a part of my generation.

    Sex is not something that is supposed to be so openly talked about. It is the most intimate thing you can do with another person and I hate the fact people are so open about it and discuss it so much.

    Being a virgin, to me, is something to be admired and it is nobody’s business what a person does. It is not a question of whether or not people should look at someone a certain ay because they are a virgin or not. It is nobody’s business what someone does in their life. It is nobody’s business what I do, where I go to school, who I hang out with, what I wear, what I choose to do in my free time, etc. Some people’s lives are ruined because people need to be so involved in other people’s lives and judge the decisions they make.

    It goes beyond virginity. People need to mind their own business and worry about themselves. Some people base their lives on drama and don’t realize that life is so much more than just sex, social life, etc… It is about family, friends, enjoying life, and doing what makes you happy.

  24. Claire says:

    As other bloggers have stated, when I saw the picture of this poster I laughed a little to myself. My initial thought was could our society get any more invasive and judgmental? The issue of virginity, while seemingly a heavily discussed topic amongst groups of teens, is a personal topic. My opinion is who cares? Who cares if someone has or has not lost their v-card. As other people have noted, it is a personal decision that someone makes and thus shouldn’t have to justify it.

    One thing that I thought Sarah pointed out, that I myself had never really acknowledged, is the idea that guys TAKE a women’s virginity. This speaks volumes about the kind of society we live in. While it seems like equality has seeped into all aspects our society, our dialogue does not support it. The idea of taking something from a women, and taking something that is sacred, represents the patriarchal society we continue to live in. Girls say things like, “he took my v-card” or “i lost my virginity to him” as if it is something men can poses and are entitled to take. Like Sarah said, it feeds into the power and dominance men have in our society and over women.

    A common question among teens these days revolves around this notion of virginity. The idea of legitimizing one’s decision regarding having sex or not is sad because, as I stated before, its a personal choice. One shouldn’t have to feel like by college they must have sex, nor should they have to feel like if they haven’t something is wrong with them. Judgements made about this seem invasive towards something that is a private matter.

  25. Dan Dechert says:

    Virginity has long been a topic of significance in our society, but the way that it is discussed and evaluated has evolved a great deal with the emergence of sexuality in media and popular culture. Sex used to be a behind-closed-doors topic, and it did not play nearly as big of a role, at least directly, in popular culture. The biggest issue in our society today, in terms of sexuality, is the difference in acceptability in sexual endeavors concerning men and women. If a college-aged woman is practicing an open-bed policy then in the eyes of many she is a slut, while the same behavior from a guy lands him baller status. On the other hand, if a girl is holding off on sex she is in some eyes a prude but to many others she is prized piece for maintaining her purity. However, a college-aged man who is still a virgin is often seen as a failure and sexually inept because he hasn’t been able to smush with some girl. My problem with all of this is that there are too many social standards assigned here that are in place to tell us what we should be doing with our bodies in the most intimate and personal activity. Sexuality should never be about obligation or fulfillment to social requirements; with such a personal topic I feel that this information should remain private for only ourselves to decide the path that we desire to take. We need to follow our own values to determine what kind of sexual beings we would like to be, and if a life of abstinence is what makes you happy then male or female that’s an appropriate decision. I just think that we shouldn’t assign judgment to people for what we do sexually, because I think that it should remain a personal decision.

  26. Ryan Waffle says:

    One of the things I have noticed in regard to sexuality and mainly virginity in males around our age, is that if you are a virgin or less sexually active, other males may think you are somewhat weird but for the most part, we will try our very hardest to get you with a girl, or at the very least, we will strongly encourage meeting girls.
    Its probably not what we should do, as sex and losing your virginity are extremely personal choices that should be made if and only if you want to make them and only when you are ready, but its one that often happens. Perhaps its because we don’t want one of our fellow men to not experience something that we enjoy. I don’t know.
    Perhaps, as Chris brings up, it moves back to our desire to be boastful of our sexual conquests, and not necessarily the attachment to a certain person. Perhaps assisting in a friend losing his virginity is another way for us to consider ourselves more of an authority on sex.
    All I know is, even though I was encouraged to engage in sex while I was still a virgin, I never really felt pressure from my friends. Sure they wanted it to happen, but they still respected that I wanted it to happen on my terms and when I had found the right person.

  27. Emily Harris says:

    This advertisement for a movie is a testament to how highly sexualized our country has become? While it is wrong for a woman to be a prude or a slut, we shouldn’t be virgins. For men, you shouldn’t be too sexual as to be raping women, but you shouldn’t dress too feminine either or be too sensitive or you will be seen as not masculine – and forget virginity – that generally doesn’t mean nearly as much to a boy as it does to a girl. Having sex for the first time for boys is just like getting something out of the way so you don’t have to be harassed by your buddies. I’m not saying that virginity is something that needs to be held on to so tightly that teenagers are terrified of sex, but as PJ said why is it such a public thing? The focus needs to be shifted to safe sex rather than whether or not everyone is doing it. It most likely is going to happen at some point and if it doesn’t happen right away, no big deal. Instead of making teenagers feel almost obligated to have sex, just teach them to be safe and not worry about what everyone else is doing. Teenagers need to know that they feel something is not right for them or right for them for a reason. Movies such as these make teenagers feel that they need to have sex because that’s what everyone is doing, even if they are not ready.

  28. Ashlinn Barber says:

    To be a male virgin on a college campus is against the norm. Males are viewed as insensitive, and sex-driven. Females take their virginity more seriously. To a female (generally) sex is a personal matter. If you ask a female how she lost her virginity, she is likely to give you a long drawn out story about how it happened. Males on the other hand, are likely to recite the girl’s bra size. The issue behind the differences in males and females response to sex is that gender divisions have created social norms. Gender characteristics are the major division behind responses to sex. Females are viewed as pure, and innocent, while males are insensitive and pigs. As a blogger above explained, to be a female virgin on a college campus is not viewed as strange as a male virgin on a college campus. The reasoning behind this is ideology. Society has created norms in gender division. I connect part of the reasoning behind this ideology to the fact that females reproduce. Females must be responsible for their bodies and ensure a safe child birth. The fact that females “mother” a child creates a vision that females are pure and therefore less likely to be viewed as different for being a virgin.

  29. Maggie Bernay says:

    Just like everyone else has already posted, I believe that who and how a girl or a boy looses their virginity to and who and how often they have sex is completely a personal topic. People should be able to tell whoever they want and not feel pressured to publicize their loss of virginity to their friends as if it is an award they have been given. I think there is definitely too much emphasis on sex in our generation. It is turned into the private matter into a topic of gossip in the dining hall over dinner. While sex doesn’t need to be seen as scary taboo subject, it also does not need to be the main concern of young women and men. Movie advertisements just like this one are creating the pressure that young people feel today. If the media stopped emphasizing sex then maybe young teens would stop feeling pressured and start having sex when they actually wanted to and felt prepared.

  30. Conor Callahan says:

    yup, I laughed. But I have to be honest I’m pretty sure I laughed because I can’t imagine anyone calling that number. I mean if people are getting to the point where they call a toll free number because they’re still a virgin then they are incredibly insecure. If you’re still a virgin who gives a shit. Social pressures continue to rise within youth and virginity is probably one of the biggest during the years of high school for sure. As movies have informed us, if you are still a virgin in your senior year of high school you have one more chance to lose it at prom, when many students think they are supposed to lose it. I don’t know where this myth originated, but it’s certainly a subject that comes up in many conversations in high school. Obviously the media has a significant influence on people today and the subject of virginity, but it all comes down to the individual in my eyes. You are who you are, if you’re a virgin, then guess what you have a lot to look forward to, if you are a constantly involved in sexual behavior then that’s your decision.

  31. Obi Juan Breton says:

    My mental process when laughing at the picture was, “Imagine someone actually calling the number for the reasons Sarah gave…” The tower of virginity’s facade is one taken too seriously. When will people realize that it is a personal choice to remain a virgin? What if someone endured or experienced a traumatizing experience in his/her lifetime to make such a decision? My agitation is stemmed from our last class discussion in which Michele shared her experience when driving to get a check up. People who had absolutely nothing better to do with their time blocked her from LEAVING HER CAR. What kind of sh** is that? People need to start making it a point in there life to leave other people’s PERSONAL choice away from their Ignorance knows no bounds.

  32. jr. woodard says:

    This image is hilarious. I mean, funny in a fact that this was actually in public. Being a virgin is a personal choice. Sex amongst people is personal and liked to kept private at times. The poster to me shows some negative effects it could cause to those who seen this. First one that comes to mind in pressure to have sex. Some who read this poster might look at it as a peer pressure type of movement to get people to have sex. Sort of saying being a virgin is wrong. Which is not true at all because abstinence is the number one to be protected by STI’s and not have little rascals running around that are not planned. People are pressured everywhere they go for sex, like the locker room after football practice. People always talking about, “dude you gotta hit that” or “Son u didnt get that yet? Yo step your game up kid.” Or the classic one, ” Man if you dont use it you’ll lose it. You gotta get that thing going before it falls off”. These questions and statements are used enough in the world which is bad enough for those who are not comfortable about talking about it. Its upsetting that they are encouraging sex like everything about it is good. Not everything about sex is good, you got to think of the consequences and the crazy drama that comes along with it. The stage five clingers, the creeps, and the insecurites of your performance can hurt somebodys pride sometime. But remember, safe sex is great sex.

  33. Tristan Bartsch says:

    Virginity, to me, beyond all of the many taboos and various expectations, is quite subjective. How does one really judge what constitutes “sex”? How does one know when they are “ready”? What must one do to technically “lose their virginity?” If you’re like me and have had these discussions many times with your friends, you know the wide variety of definitions, theories, and answers to these questions.

    I believe that the idea of virginity is given much more weight in society than the concept of “readiness.” Of course, “readiness” to become sexually active varies by person, and many aspects such as age, upbringing, education, and personality come into play. Of course, readiness is not something anyone but an individual can judge. And ultimately, who a person looks back on their choices over time will be the only true indicator of positive or negative questions. But here is what I think.

    “Readiness” is a true understanding of the consequences and dangers of becoming sexually active, as well as an understanding of the many pleasures and joys. Society, it seems, has yet to find a middle ground between the two. On the one hand everything is sexed up, bombarding individuals with explicit and unhealthy images of “sexy”, while on the other, there are cases where teens are literally scared into abstaining from sexual activity. It’s all quite bizarre. Maybe I’m arguing for comprehensive sex education. But I think real preparation and “readiness” begins long before the awkward tenth grade health class. From a young age a woman should be made to feel empowered and confident in herself and her decision-making. I truly believe that if young girls taught to believe in themselves they will be more confident in making big decisions about their sexuality on their own.

    Easier said than done, yes. But it is always important to return to the roots of the behavior rather than try to cut it off on the surface.

  34. Amaury Ramirez says:

    This is an amazing post, it says a lot.

    “Are you still a virgin?” The idea that being a virgin at the tender age of 21 is something that is seen as odd because of how our media involves sex in everything. We can check out little girls like Noah Cyrus, at age 9, was already being made to look as a sexual being. This also happens to athletes, our women athletes are stripped of clothes and make models in magazines. And when the woman dominates in her sport but is not attractive, she gets less publicity than an attractive one that doesn’t dominate as much.

    This also happens to men. Justin Bieber is a little kid that sings about knowing about love and stuff and girls go “crazy” over him because of his appearance. This shows little kids that the sooner you lose your virginity you will be having fun. Music is notorious for having music that is very sexual, and you have little kids listening to the lyrics thinking that this is what is right.

    The power of words is very interesting. A man does take virginity, and a woman does too but they usually don’t say it the way a man says it. And if she were to say it like a man, then she would be judged. People are having sex younger and younger. This is why being a virgin in college is a bad thing.

  35. MEM says:

    I agree with PJ, it is no ones business if you are a virgin or not. Having sex is a personal choice when only you can decide when you are ready. I feel that is the major problem during this generation that it is not a personal choice anymore but one is pressured into losing your virginity sooner by ones peers and the media. I feel bad for those generations after me because it seems to only be getting worse the pressure of losing your virginity and the ridicule one faces if still a virgin. I admire people who are still virgins, because in this generation it is hard to accomplish.

    I have noticed that younger generations are already more knowledgeable regarding sex. This stems from the negative influence of the media. Younger generations now are influenced from the media and pressured to engage in sexual acts earlier than ever before. You see more and more teen pregnancies in this generation. I was shocked and mortified when I heard that my 12 year old brother knows about sex and how it happens. Maybe its just me being his older sister thinking of him still being her little brother forever, but I did not know as much as he did at 12. At twelve I was more worried about if Santa was real, rather than what happens during sex, and what oral sex is.

    I feel a great deal of influence comes from how you are brought up and I am very thankful for how my parents raised me. They appropriately educated me and allowed me to make my decision. They knew I had a good head on my shoulders, and respected the fact that it was a personal choice. On the other hand, you have the parents who are too strict and have such a tight hold on their children, which drives these children to want to experiment even more. I feel we can only educate children on comprehensive sex education and as they get older they will make that personal decision, hopefully when they feel they are ready.

  36. Salvador Forte says:

    When I saw this poster I laughed at how ridiculous the notion is. How crazy does the person who posted that have to be?(this was before I knew it was a movie poster) How much crazier does the person who would call “for help” have to be!? This then made me think that there are indeed virgins out there. Those who do not want to be virgins, but still are. People who do not know how to do it, when to do it, or even if they are ready to do it. These people are most likely socially awkward right?

    The movie,The 40 year old virgin is hysterical. It describes how socially awkward a 40 year old virgin is. Although it is fictional, it brings up several problems in today’s society. First, it associates being socially awkward with being a virgin. Then it makes being a virgin a negative thing. There are people like this in the world. There are also virgins who are not socially awkward and socially awkward people who aren’t virgins. Our culture is so obsessed with sex being the norm, that there must be something wrong with your ability to socialize if you’re a virgin. It really should not matter. It is a personal choice and a private matter. It does not and should not take away from his or her character. The fact that we focus so much on it and associate it with normalcy is quite ridiculous.

  37. Sam Higgs says:

    There are signs that read “Injured by a car, need help, call…” I never thought I would see a sign that basically reads, “Injured by the lack of men in your life, not attractive enough, not appealing enough to men, not portraying the 1900’s notion that women are subjective to men, need help, call…” What is society telling us? There is a reality show about women winning the chance to undergo surgery before their wedding in order to be more appealing to their husbands. Going along with the advertisements we spoke about in class, women are still being used as objects.

  38. Ben Ayres says:

    My cousin lives right near here and posted this on facebook with some of the same questions. At first like she was, i was in shock that this would be on the streets as an advertisement, just something that you dont see every day. Sex is both a social and private topic. But trying to push someone’s lifestyle or views i think is wrong. It is your decision to talk about your sexuality or not, not anyone else’s and i think it’s a force to put something like this up. No views should be forced upon anybody especially a topic like sex. However everythign revolves around the media, and it seems that theyre opinion soon becomes everyone’s opinion. Forcing this topic upon people i think is wrong and the media only pushes topics like this on people. I dont think that the media is ALWAYS portraying things in this manner, the media helps people find their individuality but for a topic like this, i think is out of bounds.

  39. Sean Harrison says:

    This blog is hilarious. Every time I read it I crack up. Its so funny, yet so true. If you come to college a virgin, you’re treated like you’re from another planet. The responses from people are crazy. Being a guy, Its just not normal to be a virgin roaming a college campus. Us men are all about sex. Its all over the news, magazines, internet, wherever you go there is sex. It reminds me of the pop culture assignment. There are so many things in society that are so influential, and so powerful. Sex is the biggest of them all. SEX SELLS! I had write a paper earlier in the year on how sex sells; its unbelievable how much sex can actually influence a persons decision to buy a product. Everyone walks in a store to buy something that makes them look “sexier” and more appealing to the opposite sex. Females, especially. They cant go to class without putting on their mascara and whatever else they have.

  40. Sheridan French says:

    So, i saw a comment that was talking about the percentage of high school students who graduated virgins, so i typed “percentage of students who graduate high school as virgins” into Google and i got to a article that was about virgins in college, thanks a lot Google… Anyways, it said that percentages are measurably different for different majors in college. topping the highest percentage of virgins… of course THE MATHEMATICIANS AND CHEMISTRY MAJORS tied with a whopping 83% . The lowest percentage was studio art with literally 0%. Though i know this can’t be true, there has to be a studio art major out there somewhere who hasn’t had sex yet, it was very interesting to look at.

    Personally, i really didn’t care about it in high school. I knew i would lose it at sometime, and i just let it happen. but, the fact that it is such a big deal, i find a little out there.

    Another point i wanted to make is that i feel like it’s more of a bigger problem for guys than it is girls. Or at least, i have been more exposed to guys giving guys pressure for not losing their virginity. for guys, it’s seen as not a good thing if you haven’t lost it by the time your out of high school. This might just be me but i know of a lot more girls who haven’t lost it they’re virginity, and they are in college. When time goes on, for girls, the longer you wait, the more crap you get for it.

  41. Jacqueline Murphy says:

    Different cultures have different ideas and thoughts on the subject of virginity. Those opinions are changing every so often and therefore, there may not be a correct answer to the question of virginity being a good thing or a bad thing. Years ago it was only accepted to be a virgin when one got married. As time went on however, that idea continually changed throughout the years and it is socially acceptable to lose your virginity at a younger age. Some people lose their virginity early in life and sometimes they wait. It is completely a personal choice in my opinion. As a college virgin it is interesting to listen to different people discuss virginity and their sexual “conquests.” I don’t feel sad, miserable or left out. Don’t get me wrong I have had the opportunity to lose it but I was not ready at the time and therefore chose to wait. My boyfriends in high school and these college boys may not be happy with my decision but since it is completely a personal choice I choose to keep my virginity until I am ready to lose it. No amount of people asking why I am or shaming me because I am a virgin will change my mind. If I can wait this long to have sex I midas well wait until I am with someone I care about. These day and at this school it would be easy to go out find a guy and bring him home just to have sex. In an earlier response I wrote I talked about how women are degraded in rap music because guys just want to have sex and kick them out. That is not the type of girl I am or how I was raised. I grew up a catholic girl with catholic morals. I went to a catholic school my entire life until college and I was continually taught that waiting until marriage was what was right. Now I don’t necessarily believe waiting until marriage is the route I am going to take with my life I just know that I am proud of myself for waiting until I am with someone I care about that way I don’t get screwed over and kicked out after sex.
    I do not judge people for not being virgins but I definitely don’t feel lonely or left out that I am virgin. I won’t be a virgin forever so I am not really worried about it. I have learned to not listen or care what people think of me. I respect myself, and that is all that matters to me. If people want to judge me for what I am doing/ done then that is their prerogative I will not let it get to me. I am just going to continue living my life and I will be all right.

  42. Gabby Mylod says:

    I have to admit, I laughed when I first saw this too. Just the concept of calling some random number to get in touch with someone that you can lose your virginity to is a ridiculous concept. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually happened. After reading someone else’s comment about how the poster is an ad for a movie with Will Ferrell, it makes it even funnier because Will Ferrell is hilarious. The line on the poster just seems like something that Will Ferrell would say in any of his movies.

    The poster definitely poses a problem for college students. In today’s day and age, it definitely seems like almost every college student comes into their freshman year having already lost their virginity. However, there are actually a good number of people who are still virgins, and that’s not a bad thing! Some people get so worked up about the fact that they are still virgins at the age of eighteen that they would have sex with anyone just to be no longer labeled a virgin. When I was a kid, I was always taught that sex was sacred and that you should never have sex with someone unless you were married. I kept this image in my head until ninth grade when I started to hear that people my age were having sex and I was in shock. Moving through high school and now college, I have realized that maybe the standard of no sex before marriage is unrealistic. In regards to losing your virginity however, I feel like it’s important to love the person in some way because if you don’t then the act is completely meaningless.

    When all is said and done, people shouldn’t have to worry about the label that is being put on them. People should only have to worry about the label that they are putting on themselves. If you’re labeled as a slut and you’re not ashamed of your actions, then carry on—as long as you’re not hurting anyone in the process. If you’re still a virgin and you’re still saving yourself for marriage then good for you! If you haven’t lost your virginity yet, it’s not something to get worked up about and it’s certainly nothing to cry about.

    College has given people this image that sex is essential to being happy. But if it’s not with the right person then there’s no way that it’s making you happy. If anything, having sex with some random person just to lose your virginity is going to screw with you mind in the long run.

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