Virginity is in fact a social construct centered on the idea of breaking the hymen through penetration of the vaginal canal by a penis. This construct was design to shame, possess and commodify female sexuality.
Which, if we take no longer than a few seconds, we can begin to see the flaws of.
1. The hymen is made up of very thin mucosal tissue that generally surrounds or partially covers the entrance to the vaginal canal (see pic below for the various ways a hymen can be formed). This is why young vulva havers can generally insert tampons and excrete menstrual blood before having penetrative sex (unless they experience an abnormality with their hymen, such as with the imperforate hymen),
2. Hymens wear away, bit by bit, long before most sexual encounters through exercise and tampon usage.
3. Some vulva-havers are not even born with a hymen.
4, Some vulva-havers will never have penetrative sex.
Considering these four aspects of the body part of the hymen it is quite ridiculous to think that the hymen has anything to do with our sexuality.
The term virgin has itself been corrupted, as it once meant a womban unto herself. Meaning that a virgin was someone who was empowered in all aspects of being, particularly her sexuality. Which is few and far between when we think about the fact that vulva-havers far and wide do not even know how their vulvas look, let alone what their hymen actually is!
The way I like to re-write the narrative surrounding virginity is to see it as the first time we share our pleasure with another person. When we know our body well enough to experience pleasure, and we are comfortable enough to share this pleasure in a fun, safe and honouring container. It is our partnered sexual debut, so to speak. It is something that is shared, rather than "taken, lost or stolen". It is pleasure focused, and ensures everyone is having a pleasurable experience.
I find that when I share this with sisters who have experienced sexual abuse in their lives before they share their pleasure with another with consent, they feel so much more empowered. They see what as done to them as a violation, a criminal act involving body parts, rather than something special taken and lost forever.
I have written a children's book in the hopes to help empower our young vulva-havers in their sexual debuts with knowledge on their body, boundaries, and pleasure. You can find a free download of the book here.
Kiki Maree xx