Living Myths About Virginity
I notice that this page goes on quite a bit about people’s bodies and the physical act, but says nothing about emotional effects of sex or possible emotional ramifications of having sex.
It’s an interesting read, but I’m not sure I agree with all of its implications – there is some subtle virgin shaming going on here, suggesting that sex should be thought of as fun, so you should get right to it, and don’t worry about it.
I’m not saying people should fear sex or dread it or be legalistic about it, but, there are people who willfully choose to abstain from sexual activity, at least until they marry, due to personal or religious conviction, and I believe that should be respected.
(Link): Living Myths About Virginity
Vacuums of reliable information and sexism in popular culture can have serious consequences for women’s health.
… Through interviews with historians, abstinence advocates, sex educators, and self-described virgins and non-virgins alike, Shechter learned she’s not the only one who had certain ideas about what sex is supposed to be like.
There are a number of pervasive and loaded myths about virginity: That having sex for the first time will be an irreversible transformation that changes your body and mind; that there’s a “right” way to lose your virginity, and how you lose it will affect the rest of your life; that it’s going to be the most pleasurable, magical feeling; that it’s going to be the most painful experience of their lives.
These myths persist in part because of a lack of information about what happens to the human body, specifically the hymen, during sex—information that’s often not taught in schools, that’s not always found online, and that’s not always available from medical providers.
“I’ve spoken to lots of women who are just terrified of having sex because they think it’s going to be this horrible pain and [they’ll] bleed gallons of blood,” says Shechter, whose documentary makes its broadcast premiere on February 8 on the Fusion Network and is airing in cities across the U.S. and internationally in coming months.
Abstinence-only education in U.S. schools isn’t to blame for creating these myths, but Shechter and Green say the programs, which have received more than $1.5 billion dollars and counting in federal funding since 1996 despite mounting research about their ineffectiveness, do create environments where this kind of misinformation thrives. (Even some schools with more comprehensive programs, Green notes, are guilty of getting the facts wrong, too.)
Abstinence-only education promotes marriage as the proper venue for sexual activity and the only prevention method for STDs and pregnancy—it doesn’t offer information about how, once someone becomes sexually active, to make sure sex isn’t painful or how to avoid the kind of bleeding Green talks about.
(Fewer than half of all women bleed during the first time they have sex; they can bleed a little or a lot, or not at all, and it can be painful or painless. There’s a range of experiences that vary from individual to individual and depend on factors like use of lubrication and levels of arousal.)
Reliable information is out there, but it doesn’t always find its way to young women (or men) who could benefit from it.
Kiki Zeldes, a senior editor of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the landmark book about women’s health and sexuality published by a Boston-based non-profit, says the Internet can often lead astray young women looking for answers.
Continue reading “Living Myths About Virginity – article from The Atlantic”
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