When virginity becomes an identity
Imagine I give you an envelope and tell you that the envelope and what is written inside makes you special, so very invaluable, but you’re never ever to open that envelope under any circumstance. I praise you for holding this envelope. I brag about your ability to keep it sealed, I tell your family and friends how you, The Keeper of the Envelope, hold something that no one can have. You are bold, brave, pure, self controlled, mature, dedicated and empowered. You, Avenger of the Envelope, are a role model for ALL people around the world. Your sacrifice in holding this envelope will be like no other. The people you care about start talking about how amazing you are for holding your envelope and how no one else compares to you, because they opened theirs a long time ago. No one wants a dirty, filthy, sleazy, slut who couldn’t hold his or her envelope sealed. Hollywood makes movies exaggerating the fact that people with sealed envelopes are special and sought after. The fact that you sing well, or you make good grades plays a smaller role in your identity. If everything else goes wrong, at least your envelope is sealed. You’ll always be someone of worth as long as you remain the Champion of the Envelope.
When virginity becomes a threat
As you get older, one day I tell you there’s a way you can open your envelope that won’t make you a terrible disgrace of a human being. You can get married. When you get married, you can give your precious, pure gift of an envelope to your partner and once it is opened, there is no going back. Then, and only then, should you explore what is written inside. In the meantime, you’re getting more curious, but if you touch the envelope to try to understand its purpose, you’ll be punished. Now is not like before when you were younger; you’re facing real temptation. You’ll be stoned to death if you disobey. You will be cast aside as the worthless trash you apparently have always been, if you tamper with your envelope in any way. You’re being watched, always. Your curiosity is disgusting. You are weak. You’re one mistake away from ruining your entire life and burning in hell for eternity.
By now I’m sure you’ve understood the stupidity and the flaws in my story. But this is not my story; it belongs to every woman raised in a highly religious home, which focuses on the importance of the purity of virginity. It’s one of the oldest tragedies ever told. Life long atheists and people with weak religious background may not understand the forcefulness and painstaking tactics the church and hyper religious parents take to trick their children into staying virgins. You may not understand the toll it takes on young women and men.
When virginity becomes a lie
God does not give virginities to us at birth. We happen to be virgins based solely by definition. It isn’t special. It isn’t sacred and honestly, it isn’t anyone’s business. Believe it or not, to all of you religious reading this, you were all atheists by definition at birth too. Babies haven’t grasped the concept of god/s therefore, can’t believe in one. To focus on virginity and turn it into some gift, something that makes someone special, can create a terrible effect. It can cause insecurity, fear, mistrust, suicidal idealization and anxiety where there otherwise would be none. It can create an atmosphere of tension and repressed curiosity, which can later transform into something dark and disturbing.
To take a child and make their sexuality a sick, religious pawn to use against them is abuse. Let’s stop lying to children, there is nothing special about virginity. There is nothing about it that makes you pure or impure. It’s something you’re born with and something that is not “lost” as it wasn’t anything to find in the first place. Sexuality isn’t anyone’s business aside from the two people contemplating doing it together. Educate your children about sex, birth control and protection. Abstinence as a form of birth control is a proven failure. Let’s get real about sex. But parents, please, stay out of your children’s pants so to speak. Don’t worry about their virginity; it’s creepy and gross. Teach them to think critically and make wise choices when they are ready to start having sex.