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“He’ll say it feels good, but it having sex one day, and another girl in our class had already had some guy’s penis in her butt and hadn’t liked it.
The difference in our sexual experience made me feel like I was humiliatingly behind — was I supposed to be familiar enough with sex to prefer some acts over others?
To solely define the loss of virginity in terms of whether you have penetrated someone’s vagina with your penis doesn’t leave much room for those who don’t want penetrative sex to describe or validate their experiences.
Jacques Derrida called this phenomenon — basing the entire world’s understanding of the human condition around the specific experiences of men — “phallogocentrism.”Though many organizations have tried in recent years to develop a more nuanced definition of virginity — one that makes room for sexual behaviors which don’t involve a penis — no one definition has really taken root in the zeitgeist.
The Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health corroborates this data, though it simplifies the number and says most Americans, as we did in the 1960s, first have sex around age 18.
It sucks to police the attempts of a marginalized group to define its own experience, but once orgasms are introduced into the virginity equation, things get even stickier.
In 2014, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that less than 63 percent of women experience orgasms with familiar partners.
Women having sex (of any definition) with new partners are far less likely to have an orgasm; the American Sociological Review reported in 2012 that less than 40 percent of women surveyed said they had an orgasm with their last casual sexual partner.
If we’re searching for a way for women to define virginity loss without men, an orgasm isn’t the place to hang our hats, either, simply because the female orgasm doesn’t come as easily as the male one, even in loving, supportive situations.