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Myths About Virginity. Exposing False Stereotypes About Female “Innocence” - Self-development, Sex, Society
Myths About Virginity. Exposing False Stereotypes About Female “Innocence” - Self-development, Sex, Society

Video: Myths About Virginity. Exposing False Stereotypes About Female “Innocence” - Self-development, Sex, Society

Video: Myths About Virginity. Exposing False Stereotypes About Female “Innocence” - Self-development, Sex, Society
Video: The virginity fraud | Nina Dølvik Brochmann & Ellen Støkken Dahl | TEDxOslo 2023, June

Female virginity is a phenomenon surrounded by an aura of shyness and a kind of fetishism. Even educated people can believe in the myths about the physiological processes and behaviors that accompany the "first time". What stereotypes about virginity is high time to send to the landfill?

Double standards of purity

The very notion of "innocence" in relation to female corporeality is a direct indication of double standards in relation to female and male sexual experience. It contains a clear hint that a girl who has entered into an intimate relationship (it does not matter, voluntarily or forcibly), is found "guilty" of some sin, whose name is sex. A large number of sexual partners in a woman is still condemned by the public, while a rich experience in men is proof of their "brave prowess" and a kind of reason for pride.

The roots of this phenomenon go back to those (not so old) times when contraception practically did not exist, and the inheritance of property, titles and even the throne depended on consanguinity in the male line. The need to preserve virginity before marriage, enshrined in ecclesiastical and secular laws, was a kind of epidemiological measure to somehow contain the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and to some extent ensure that the father of children born to a woman is her husband.

In practice, it turned out to be impossible to determine whether the men had sexual contacts, and they themselves were in no hurry to follow their own invented moral standards. Therefore, the call to “preserve innocence” began to be addressed almost exclusively to women, serving as another reason for tightening men's control over the lives of their daughters, sisters and wives. At the same time, all this became the basis for the formation of a huge number of myths that persist in the mass consciousness even after two sexual revolutions and several scientific and technological revolutions.

Myth 1. Virginity can be easily identified by the presence of a hymen

The myth of the hymen - the film that blocks the opening of the vagina and tears at the first penetrating sexual contact - was considered an infallible truth until recently. It was believed that the presence of the hymen, or hymen, was guaranteed to confirm the status of virgo. The most progressive doctors, however, admitted its congenital absence in a number of women, but this option was considered rather as an exception to the general rule.

In 2009, the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education issued an official clarification exposing the hymen myth 1. In fact, the hymen is a thin and highly stretchable fold of mucous membrane, which would be more correct to call the “vaginal crown”. Its shape is individual and can take the form of a crescent, a ring, a circle with several holes, etc., and its high elasticity allows it not to tear, but simply to stretch during vaginal penetration.

Myth 2. The first sexual intercourse for women is necessarily accompanied by bleeding

In many regions, there is still a tradition of displaying blood on bed sheets as proof of the bride's virginity before marriage 2. Leaving aside the humiliation of such "checks" for women, let us dwell on the question - why after the first sex the bed linen can remain clean.

In 63% of women, defloration is not accompanied by bleeding 3. This is due to the structural features of the vaginal crown: in most cases, its shape and extensibility do not lead to rupture and, accordingly, damage to the capillaries. However, the blood on the sheets can be the result of microtrauma to the genitals - it occurs when there is a lack of vaginal lubrication, if the woman is not aroused enough and is not ready for intercourse.

In cultures where the bride and groom may be unfamiliar until the wedding itself, on the wedding night, “checking” relatives are on duty under the bedroom door, and marital sex is more like rape, a similar situation, alas, is not uncommon - but this has an extremely indirect relationship with virginity. attitude.

Myth 3. If a woman is still virgin at 20 (25, 30 …) years, something is wrong with her

Surprisingly, "late" virginity is subjected to almost the same condemnation as the sexual emancipation of a woman. The authors of the articles, positioning themselves as psychologists, profoundly talk about "childhood traumas" that prevent them from going through the "mandatory stage of growing up," which apparently means penetrating heterosexual contact 4. Simpler people are content with labels like "old maid", "overdone" - and sometimes openly unprintable expressions. These positions have one thing in common: a woman who refuses to have sex with men for whatever reason is “strange”, “notorious” - in a word, “wrong”.

Meanwhile, meticulous researchers take a different point of view. The age of onset of sexual activity of girls is largely determined not by personal characteristics, but by social attitudes and the degree of social control over their lives by the family and society 5. At the same time, in recent decades in Western countries there has been a steady trend towards an increase in this age, and the value of sexual relations among young people in itself is steadily decreasing 6… Moreover, a late "start" to a certain extent reduces the risks of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections: young girls often cannot insist on the mandatory use of barrier contraception by a partner, and hormonal and emergency contraceptives are not used due to lack of experience and knowledge in this area 7

Myth 4. “Inexperience” of a woman can be determined by her constrained behavior in bed

In Internet communities, where people anonymously share stories from their lives, tragicomic situations are often described: a young man leaves a girl, "catching" her in a lie about virginity 8. The basis for "exposure" is that during the first sexual contact, the partner does not conform to the stereotype of "innocence" - for example, she takes initiative, demonstrates her own activity, etc.

Perhaps, in closed societies, where knowledge about sexual practices was considered "vicious", "dirty" and, accordingly, was inaccessible to girls until their "wedding night", the myth of the constraint of virgins had real grounds. However, in today's world, which offers the entire spectrum of information from scientific and educational blogs to candid videos, it is strange to expect such behavior from women, to put it mildly.

As a rule, by the time of the first intimacy, girls already have certain ideas about sex, formed on the basis of books, texts, TV series, etc., as well as on their own experience of bodily interaction with a partner: kisses, hugs, caresses, etc. All this influences emotional attitudes and attitudes, shaping the individual behavior of each woman, which often does not correspond to outdated stereotypes.

Myth 5. First sex for a woman cannot lead to pregnancy

The belief described by the simple proverb “You won't fly in for the first time” is, firstly, mistaken, and secondly, rather dangerous. Under his cover, men may refuse to use condoms, hiding behind the imaginary contraceptive effect of virginity and false concern for the comfort of their partner. Meanwhile, the risk of unwanted pregnancy during the first intimate contact - just like with any other - depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle and the characteristics of ovulation, but is never zero 9. "Safety" is not guaranteed even if the girl has not had a single period: the first ovulation, preceding menarche, may coincide with the moment of intercourse and lead to conception.

It is important to remember that barrier contraception protects not only from the unplanned appearance of children, but also from sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers emphasize that sexual behavior directly affects the health of young girls: the correct use of contraceptives significantly reduces not only the risk of developing gynecological diseases - including such serious ones as cervical cancer - but also contributes to the maintenance of psychological health, reducing the likelihood of self-blame, reducing self-esteem and depressive disorders 10.

In short, any of the listed myths breaks down on a single postulate: all people are different. There are no “average women”: physiology, psychological characteristics and sexual behavior are always deeply individual.

Настоящий залог хорошего секса – как, впрочем, и любых близких отношений – добровольность, обоюдное желание и взаимное уважение партнеров. И неважно, первый ли это раз, или двухсотый, – главное, чтобы участники процесса заботились о безопасности и удовольствии друг друга.


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