Monday, March 18, 2013

How I'm "Finding My Virginity"

Confession: My blog is no longer “Confessions of a Virgin.” Not because Beau and I have had coitus—we’re still unwedded, and thus unbedded, in at least once sense of the word. Nor did I change my blog title because I want my writing to be less confessional and more typical.

I am constantly evolving as a person—as a Christian, as a feminist, as a bibliophile, as a girlfriend, as a writer. My blog thus evolves with me. I started by writing mostly about virginity. I expanded a bit to include stories of online dating. I added feminist issues. I started writing book reviews. The central focus of my blog is still virginity, but writing about all these other topics provides context to my own virginity.

From when I was a debutante. Photographer information available upon request.

Virginity is a social construct. I’m aware of that. As a social construct, virginity is tied into sexual purity which is an arbitrary measure of goodness which conservative societies regularly use to control women while enforcing heternormative beliefs. But healthy conversations about virginity can be had, and even a Christian/other religious approach to virginity can be healthy, depending on how we discuss it.

To an extent, the Christian ideals from my childhood and adolescence shape some of my ideas on my own virginity. When my mom gave me “the talk,” she included the Christian perspective of saving sex for marriage. The Christian organization I attended all four years of undergrad—and served in the leadership group my sophomore and junior years—gave sermon series on dating, relationships, sex, and marriage every three years (so autumn of my freshman and senior years). Considering how conservative most of the members were, and the parent Protestant denomination, the sermons themselves were fairly relatable and borderline-egalitarian.

But I also took “Feminist Biblical Interpretation” my senior year, and my senior seminar for my history major was “History on the Margins,” which looked at marginalized peoples during Early Modern Europe. Both of these classes provided a wealth of historical and cultural context to the ideals of virginity until marriage.

Add that to my personal examination of how I feel about sex, all of it. I have literally been questioning my personal beliefs—how I would treat sex in my own life, not how I feel about other people’s choices—for about ten years now. For a very long time my evolving thoughts were theoretical, because I had yet to meet a man with whom I even desired to have sex. Obviously the theoretical became the practical when I met Beau.

I’ve been blogging for a year and a half now, during which I’ve enjoyed a variety of non-coital activities with Beau. That said, I started this blog the day after our first date, after spending months thinking about sharing my “virginal” experiences in some sort of anonymous fashion. Some of my decisions on what I can and cannot do in bed before marriage have changed during the course of our relationship. This doesn’t make me a hypocrite—this makes me human.

I’ve seen the phrase “choices aren’t made in a vacuum” oft-repeated in online feminist discussions. I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit that my desire to wait until marriage to experience coitus with my husband is largely influenced by my religious upbringing. I can make this decision for myself without believing that premarital sexual activity is a sin.

I’m also aware that by calling myself a virgin, I’m partly accepting virginity as a real thing, beyond a social construct. And by drawing the line at coitus,* which can technically only happen between a man and a woman, I’m perpetuating heteronormative beliefs, even though I’m a bisexual woman.

I acknowledge this has been a long-ish and convoluted blog post. It mirrors my journey of discovering what sex and virginity mean in my own life. My journey has been (and continues to be) how I find my virginity.

Hence my new blog title.

This is me, Belle Vierge
the demi-vierge,  
Finding My Virginity.

*Beau pointed out that we’ve also drawn the line at anal sex, but it’s not a line we ever intend to cross. TOTALLY fine for other couples if both parties are enthusiastic about the idea, but I have Crohn’s Disease. That part of my body will forever be associated with all Crohnie activities.

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