Essay Virginity: Human Sexuality and Carpenter

Submitted By Marlee830
Words: 1038
Pages: 5

Virginity has a universal definition of never having sex. This definition can reflect many interpretations because of the vague description of the concept of sex. What is sex? This needs to be clarified before one can determine if he or she still holds or lost their virginity. But in today’s society, there isn’t just one sexuality. Because we live in a heterosexual assumed society, sex is usually defined as penal penetration to the vagina. In Laura Carpenter’s, Lost Virginity she examines this meaning, “Everyone I interviewed agreed that a woman or man would lose their virginity the first time they engaged in vaginal sex, provided that they had not previously engaged in another type of genital sex.” (Carpenter, p.47). this definition excludes homosexuality or any other sexual activity.
Growing up in Roman Catholic household, virginity was defined as this and was not lost till marriage; however, life doesn’t always work that way. Carpenter examines different types of virginity loss by grouping choices and behavior in categories; gift-givers, stigma, natural-step, and abstinence. I was told by parents to cherish the experience and it is for my wedding night, presume ably a gift. Virginity was seen and taught as a precious gift and should be given to someone who would appreciate it forever, someone would be reciprocate the gift back, Carpenter discusses, “The women and men I spoke with who drew on this metaphor invariably appraised virginity as a very valuable gift, based on uniqueness, nonrenewability, symbolic import, and status as an extension of the giver’s self.” (Carpenter. p.58). My religion views pre-marital sex as a sin; morally unacceptable, impure, and carries stigma’s of dirty and worthless. I struggled with this concept growing up, because of the friends that did not see virginity as a gift, but rather a stigma and natural-step. Carpenter explains the concept of stigma as, “Seeing virginity loss as an end in itself and remaining relatively aloof from love and relationships were typical of men and women who interpreted virginity as a stigma.” (Carpenter, p.105). My friends, especially the males, did not want to be seen as inexperienced so they engaged in sex for “practice”. This loss of virginity was seen as a step on the hierarchy of popularity in high school. I was never in the situation where I had to discuss my virginity with a guy, but rather something touched on with girl peers. So, for me, my “popularity” came from involvement in clubs and activities. And the relationships I was involved in, knew my stance of sex from my friends. However, I did question several times the idea of “waiting” and giving this as a “gift”. The other type of loss my friends engaged in was the natural-step, “Virginity loss accordingly came to be understood as a rite of passage through which boys were transformed into men and girls into women.” (Carpenter, p.141). As discussed in class, this is just part of the process and waiting for the right person was not a factor. I was seeing this process amongst the majority of students in high school. When discussing sex with female friends, the majority wanted it to be a gift with the right person, but felt their reputations would be questioned. My male friends favored their experience as a rite of passage. After reading about the natural-step, Meghan and Rich’s relationship was similar to one I experienced in high school, but I never went through with the next step. I was dating a guy for a very long time, several years in fact, and he never brought up sex until his friends were asking him about it. Being together for years and appearing madly “in love” people assumed we had taken the next step in our relationship, “Just like one of the many changes when I was a senior and graduating from high school. I don’t think that it seemed that much more of a change than moving or going off to college.” (Carpenter, p.167). My sex education was more or less a lesson