How to prepare for Valentine’s Day

Let’s talk about sex

Francesca Ffiske

I’m sitting in bed with three friends eating chocolate fingers and drinking tea – yes, I know this sounds like an intensely English version of Sex and the City, but I’ll continue – with a text burning a hole in my brain: “Wanna write a sex article? ;)” Am I concerned that this text was sent to me of all people? Slightly. Will I do it anyway? Yes.

My laptop is open on a packet of deflated Maryland cookie packet while my three friends laugh at the fact that between us we make the full spectrum, a conversation prompted by my trepidation at being singularly approached to write about sex. The Virgin, The Half-a-Virgin, the Almost-Virgin and The Definitely-Not-a-Virgin.  So there we are, we have a topic. I’m doing the opposite of what I was told to do and am writing about the apparent antithesis to sex: Virginity.

sex

With Valentine’s Day coming up there is a huge stress on the romantic side of love. There are the reduced Tesco flowers and sickeningly big-eyed teddy bears, not to mention the inevitably forced date at The Adamson which neither of you can afford (even if you have the red not-so-discount card). Warm nostalgic memories of that Empire pizza you shared in bed the other night will warm you as you are forced to awkwardly sit a socially acceptable distance apart and sip tap water, because adding drinks to the bill would be a step too far. All the while your friends will be giggling at the back of Fifty Shades of Grey or blackout drunk at FS. FOMO abound.

The problem is that social expectations tell us in cursive pink font exactly what we should expect out of a relationship. This is then echoed in every form of media portrayal of sex: men are apparently sex-crazed demons who flit from lover to lover, women are creatures of free-love and easy-orgasms. In Cosmo couples talk about their sexuality with ease and, as a result, are mind-readers to every whim roused in the heat of the moment. That brings us back to our main topic: Virginity.

The first use of the word virgin came in the Middle Ages to describe a young maiden. This then became a term used to describe women of, shall we say a reduced status. Women throughout lost their virginity the way they lost their morals and social status, a half-finished, half-broken creature shunned by society. In the 21st century it’s become a term of grown complication. Can homosexuals lose their virginities? Yes. Can men lose their virginities? Of course. Virginity is inherently outdated.

The social hold over virginity is absolute, creating an aura of magical inexactness around sex that those who have never partaken view with a mingling sense of horror and trepidation. Having sex isn’t a religious experience, it isn’t a social experience, and it’s not a trip to Narnia. The reality, for women at least, is that generally it’s something that gets better with time. That inevitable disappointment and twisted lip of is that what all the fuss has been about is something triggered by doe-eyed Hollywood portrayals of lakes, flowers, and candles with immediate attraction and elegant missionary complemented by fireworks and a crescendo of violins in the background.

My point is, whether you’re a virgin, half-a-virgin, an almost-virgin or definitely-not-a-virgin, it really doesn’t matter. I’ve known friends to be broken by their first times, sobbing that it wasn’t what they expected, or gripe that they’ll be “a virgin forever”. If your first time has yet to come, or it’s something you regret, just remember on this consumerist haven that is the 14th February: it doesn’t matter.

To sound like a cliché, your body is your own and, virgin or not, it deserves to be treated with the respect that is often forsaken by your perception of self. To worry about what has been in, not in, near or almost-in your vagina is the most absurd thing on this earth. Have a drink, enjoy the weirdness that is Twilight fan-fiction on the big screen, or wrap up with your other half with that pizza and let yourself be happy.

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