The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming
Posts by various authors, some Christian, some Non Christian, regarding the cultural phenomenon (also practiced by Christians, sadly enough) of Virgin Shaming / Celibate Shaming:
(Link): SHAME ON YOU, VIRGIN GIRL
- by By Adrianna Zappavigna on November 26 2013
Yes, I am 19 years old. And yes, I am still a virgin. And before you ask what’s wrong with me, let me make it crystal clear: absolutely nothing.
Because that’s what we do, right? Society assumes that to be a virgin you must be prudish, “uncool” or just plain undesirable.
Well, I refuse to be pressured into sex. Not by the guys I date, not by friends or colleagues and definitely not by social standards.
According to the stats I’m part of the meagre 6.5 per cent of women who are still virgins at the age of 19. 16 years or younger seems to be the trend, with just over 46 per cent of women and 33 per cent of men falling into that age bracket.
It really makes me question whether those who did were truly ready or simply did so for the sake of it.
For women, it’s something most often whispered discretely amongst our closest friends, as if it’s some dirty secret to be ashamed of. But why should we be stigmatised and made to feel uncomfortable about a personal decision that literally affects no one else? It completely baffles me.
Immersed in a generation that prioritises immediate satisfaction, abstinence (intentional or otherwise) just isn’t something that young people value nowadays.
We want everything and we want it now. Facilitated by a trending ‘hook up culture’ that depends upon lack of commitment, I think it’s sad that virginity, for many of us, has become not only a disposable commodity but a burden.
Being pressured into sex at any age is never okay, and being pressured to “lose it” as quickly as possible is even worse.
Of course, the media is notorious for hyper-sexualisation, and exposure to graphic images and ideas from a very young age is inevitable, nurturing beliefs that are reinforced into adulthood. However, society continues to condemn and censor sex whilst simultaneously promoting it as a necessity. By this hypocrisy, we are deemed either slutty or frigid with no happy medium in sight.
(Link): Forget Slut Shaming, Is Virgin-Shaming a Thing Now? – article on Your Tango site
- By Andre Moore
Women seem more ashamed of being virgins than they are of being promiscuous, but why should we care?
A recent survey in The San Francisco Weekly revealed that 1 out of every 10 San Francisco women admitted to still being a virgin.
Could this be possible in the ultra-liberal city of San Francisco? Even more surprisingly, these same women typically lose their virginity at 19 years of age, a year older compared to the national average. But what is really more surprising? The stats or our reactions to them as a society? Does this imply that young women are the victims of a new national trend: virgin-shaming? Is this the new sl*t-shaming?
To take a closer look at this Madonna-wh*re dichotomy, just compare how college students view sex:
According to a blog from The Huffington Post on the college hookup culture, UC Berkeley students describe their sexual encounters in explicit, erotic detail while New York University students describe their sexual encounters as conventional, even decorous.
They read more like personals that go on to describe likes, dislikes, personality traits, etc., conveying a deeper need for a relationship.
[omit examples cited in article]
… Lena Dunham superbly dramatizes in Girls what Leslie Bell describes in her article Women In Their 20s Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Wanting A Boyfriend as the emotional plight of today’s generation of young women.
Bell diagnoses it as a painful manifestation of cognitive dissonance. Women are continually torn between the need for their own career, independence and control, and the need for a relationship and vulnerability.
They are labelled as either “sl*ts” or “virgins” and there is no middle ground.
- submitted by Juniper on August 08th, 2013
I often feel like my fellow feminists are among the worst enemies of feminism. A trend I’ve noticed on a lot of feminist blogs is a tendency to decry “slut-shaming”– the trend of insulting, degrading, or judging women who have had many sexual partners. I completely agree that slut-shaming needs to end. As long as everyone is a consenting adult and staying safe, it’s none of my business (or anyone else’s!) to critique a woman’s sexual resume.
Here’s the thing I wish my fellow feminists would get: it’s ALSO not okay to judge a woman for having “too few” sexual partners! Not everyone who has had few, one, or no sexual partnes is a prude, a religious extremist, or riding a moral high-horse. A woman might have any of dozens of reasons for being a virgin, or for having sex with only one person. She may be asexual. She may be waiting until she finds the right person. She may be exceptionally cautious about avoiding sexually transmitted disease. She may only want to have sex when she’s able to accept the possibility and ramifications of an unplanned pregnancy. And she may– wait for it, I know this is shocking– be waiting for marriage. There is NOTHING wrong with any of these choices!
One of the main cornerstones of sex-positive feminism is the idea that we are not in a position to judge other people for their sexual choices. Let’s start acting like it! It is not your place to judge a woman for being a virgin, and it’s not her place to judge you for being a slut. We all have differing relationships with our bodies, our sexuality, our spirituality, and the people around us. The trend of shaming and judging virgins is just as bad as the trend of shaming and judging sluts.
(Link): Stop Virgin Shaming
- by Spencer Smith
… I am here to bring light to a very disturbing trend in our culture today. It is one that is commonly overlooked and viewed as noncontroversial. I am talking about virgin-shaming.
I can hear you now, “What?! Nobody shames virgins!”
Ah, but if you believe that, you need to take a closer look at things. Virgins are subject to much ridicule, especially male virgins. When people make fun of male “losers” how do they describe them?
Usually it is a variation of “fat slob who lives in his mom’s basement and is still a virgin.” People often insult others with phrases like “wow, you need to get laid,” and “wow, no wonder you’re still a virgin” or “you’ll never get laid.”
People say these things without even thinking about the underlying message.
They think it’s just a normal, everyday insult like “you’re ugly” or “you’re an idiot.” (Using those insults is wrong, too, but that’s not the point we’re addressing here.)
The underlying message is clear though, it is embarrassing and/or shameful to be a virgin; if you’re still a virgin after age X then there’s something “wrong” with you.
This reflects a wider cultural phenomenon, virgin-shaming.
Hollywood has given many teen sex comedies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, American Pie, and a host of others.
The movies vary in specifics but the common theme is usually that a virgin or group of virgins set out to lose their virginity before a certain deadline (prom, graduation, etc.) in order to rid themselves of the shame of their virginity.
Usually the ones who see the virginity as source of shame to rid themselves of are males, and females are given a double standard of having their virginity associated with purity and innocence; though Fast Times at Ridgemont High does treat virginity as something to get rid of ASAP for both males and females. Fast Times was once the exception in this regard, yet now virgin-shaming is so ingrained in our culture that it is being applied to women as well. (I guess I have to give them points for trying to knock down a double standard.)
… I think virginity is something positive for both men and women. The solution to the double standard is not to start virgin-shaming women, but to stop virgin-shaming men. Many on the left say that we should accept people’s sex lives and not judge them. Isn’t it time that tolerance included virginity, too?
Excerpts (click link above to read the whole page)
- Virgin shaming is just as bad, if not more prominent than slut shaming and yet barely anyone speaks of it.
Social justice warriors act like only women are getting shamed for their sexual lifestyle when that’s farther from the truth. Virgin shaming is something that affects all genders.
In our society being a virgin is associated with being a loser, being undesirable, being a prude, being naive, and much more. If you’re past a certain age and still a virgin people assume that there must be something wrong with you.
People, especially young boys call each other virgins as an insult.
If you like nerdy things like WoW then you must be a virgin. If you’re fat then you must be a virgin. If you dress a certain way then you must be a virgin and so on.
…We need to realize that we live in a society that both demonizes sex as wrong and dirty while also promoting it as the greatest and most necessary thing ever. Our society has mixed messages about sex and it’s important to acknowledged both sides and the affect this has on people.
(Link): Trending: Virgin Shaming
- Warning: This blog post is about to get personal, so buckle in or exit as fast as you can.
My husband and I waited to have sex until our wedding night.
For the record, not because we were prudes, afraid of going to hell, were ashamed of our bodies, or were afraid of getting pregnant.
Want to know why? This pretty much sums it up.
While this isn’t something I normally advertise because a)it’s not really anybody’s business and b)it’s kind of awkward, I’ve witnessed a trend and I think it’s time to talk about virgin shaming.
When I tell people we waited they want to know two things:
1. Was it hard for you to wait?
The answer is yes.
2. Was it worth the wait?
I have zero regrets.
I love that neither of us have sexual “baggage.”
I love that we both feel confident that our relationship was/is strong apart from the physical side of things, but now that we’re married we can celebrate our love and, sparing any details, it’s wonderful.
I love that sexual history and possibly guilt wasn’t a part of my decision to marry JL and vice versa.
(Not saying that anyone is “ruined” by sex, but it DOES bond a couple together and can cloud otherwise sound decision making. In other words, we both feel confident that we married each other for our more enduring qualities and sex is a great bonus/a healthy part of our relationship, but not what it is based on.)
… But here’s the deal:
Much like many (usually) Christians shame those who have sex outside of marriage, I’m growing tired of seeing virgins being treated like freaks of nature for making a decision about their own bodies.
Granted, I know that many of the jokes are at the expense of those who are seemingly so unattractive no one wants to sleep with them, but even in that case I still don’t understand why the level shaming our culture doles out is involved.
There are currently major ad campaigns are being rolled out to reduce the stigmas towards HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies (ads which I think are important), but why is it that virginity is becoming more and more stigmatized?
As I sit in on conversation after conversation and watch shows like Virgin Diaries and the 40 Year Old Virgin, I’m struck by our culture’s evident desire to expose the non-sexually active “freaks,” implying that there is something wrong with a person who hasn’t had their first sexual experience.
This simply isn’t the case.
Sex no more validates your humanity and worth than speaking multiple languages would–it may enrich your life in some ways, but you aren’t any less of a person without it.
Maybe you don’t think saving sex for marriage is important/ realistic/ possible. That’s fine. I have no interest in being the morality police and I hope this blog post doesn’t leave anyone feeling attacked or judged.
By writing about this, I’m merely hoping to offer depth, perspective and my personal experience to the conversation.
- May 2013
Somewhere along the line many of us conflated “sex positive” with “willing to have a lot of sex” – which is BS.
BY JOHANNAH KING-SLUTZKY
Good on them. But those of us who aren’t Christian evangelicals shouldn’t just spectate. We should use Christianity’s plangent sex obsession as an opportunity to reform our own conversations about sex and abstinence. I worry that the conflation of abstinence with fussiness does almost as much to churn up shame in the secular world as the focus on virginity does to women in the Christian world.
To demonstrate my point, here’s an excerpt from a series on The Hairpin called “Interview with a Virgin.” (Guess what the series is about.) Here are “Bette’s” thoughts on being a 32-year-old self-identified virgin:
So even though these are close friends, you’d still be embarrassed if they knew [you were a virgin]?
Embarrassed doesn’t even cover it. It’s this chest-crushing shame, like grief or something — although of course that’s a bad analogy, because grief is noble, and this is not. It’s walking around with this knowledge of something that has the power to crush you at random moments. On public transit, or at work, it’ll hit me sometimes and I just feel so vulnerable, suddenly, like someone’s about to smash me into little pieces.
Do you think that there’s any good reason you should be feeling ashamed?
Of course not! It’s so stupid! But not having erotic capital, not being a part of the sexual marketplace — and not being able to identify one satisfying reason why — that’s a serious thing in our world!
As with most things cultural, your mileage may vary, but in my own social circle the consensus is that somewhere along the line many of us conflated “sex positive” with “willing to have a lot of sex” – which is bullshit. My friends and I can’t be the only people who have made this mistake.
One commentor on the Interview/Virgin thread, for example, admitted that in her college’s queer scene the community “went beyond “sex positive’ to ‘sexual capital as sign of worth’.” Which, again, is bullshit.
To clarify, I’m not promoting virginity or even mass abstinence. But secular and Christian sex positivists alike need to be more welcoming of the broad variety of attitudes people can have toward sex, and recognize the many contingencies – biography, environment, emotional state – that affect people’s legitimate decisions to have or not have sex.
If sex positivity means embracing eros as beautiful in its many forms, a full account of sex positivity must include as many modes of behavior as possible, including abstinence from sex. The proscenium of sex positivity acknowledges this, but more of us would do well to actively remind ourselves not to equate sex with sex positivity.
Related posts this blog:
(Link): Gonorrhea Super Strain Becoming ‘Untreatable’ (in the UK; may be heading to the USA) – 2015 story
(Link): Secular, Left Wing Feminist Writer Marcotte on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity
(Link): More Virgin and Celibate Shaming in Article: How the New Abstinence Movement is Trying to Reshape Our Views on Sex (from Relevant Magazine) Another Christian Anti Virginity Hit Piece – Fornicators Need To Repent of Their Pride in their Fornication Testimonies Maybe?
(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage