Society’s view on virginity

Crystal Tran

She is overcome with confusion as she lays in her bed. A personal choice is starting to seem less like her own, and more like society’s. Walking through the hallways, she can hear people talking about how many people they’ve slept with, and jokes that are beginning to seem less like jokes. Virginity is a personal topic for everyone, and no two people view it identically. The idea of virginity in society and the way people perceive those who are virgins can affect people, even if they don’t realize it.

Our society forces certain ideas of what people “should” think about a certain topic, these ideas can have a negative or positive impact on how people view things. The idea of virginity is no exception, and for some, it can be seen as a bad thing.

“There is definitely a stigma against virginity,” freshman Emma Bryant said. “Like if you’re a virgin you’re too good for anyone else.”

For others, virginity is just one of the many things stigmatized in today’s society.

“As far as stigmas and things like that I mean at this point I feel like there are stigmas for everything,” counselor Alyssa Wysong said. “So I think it’s, unfortunately, part of society now.”

People may notice a difference in the societal idea of virginity between males and females.

“At this age, I think people normalize men and they’re going to say ‘oh they’re just going through a phase, it’s just a fun phase,’ but then that’s not normalized for young women at that age,” Wysong said. “It’s not considered a phase, they’re not just having fun, it becomes a bigger problem.”

People can see these stigmas in the form of peer pressure.

“Historically there has been more pressure towards women to keep their virginity, while to men, loss of virginity can be viewed as a positive thing,” senior Noah Burch said. “These traditional stigmas are changing a great deal in our modern culture, however.”

Just like the stigmas, some can see peer pressure affecting males and females in different ways.

“I’d say males are definitely more peer pressured into doing it,” freshman Jackson Thompson said. “And I guess the guys will peer pressure the girls, I’m not a girl so I can’t say this, but in my experience, I don’t think girls talk about it as much as guys.”

Some students think that the idea of virginity has become more normalized today.

“Personally, I do not see the stigmas as much,” Burch said. ”They may have been more prevalent in the past, but today I do not feel as if they are a major issue. While I do believe that the stigmas are not as prevalent nowadays, I do believe that there can still be a great deal of pressure towards losing virginity. These pressures may be related to our modern social ideas, rather than peer pressure.”

On the other hand, others say that virginity is slowly becoming a bigger topic.

Regardless whether of it be now or when I was in school, that pressure has always been there, but I think social media plays into it and makes it even more of a thing now.”

— counselor Alyssa Wysong

“Regardless whether of it be now or when I was in school, that pressure has always been there, but I think social media plays into it and makes it even more of a thing now,” Wysong said.

Virginity is a personal topic, and the idea of it can be affected by everyday things in your life.

“It’s always been a big topic, but I think it always goes back to your choices, your actions, and the environment you’re raised in,” health and physical education teacher Tony Sonsini said. “If you’re raised to be an abstinent family or to be a family that’s waiting for a certain time then that’s going to influence you, but if you’re in a family that’s very open or a family that doesn’t talk about it, and your friends influence you more than your family then you’re going to make that choice.”

Just as someone’s personal bubble may affect how they see virginity, social media can also make an impact.

“I think social media has a big play on that, I think it’s not necessarily something that’s normalized now in society,” Wysong said. “I don’t know whether that goes back to education within the schools, how people are raised, and I think that will continue to change, and I think it also looks different in different cultures. America’s a melting pot, so when you have those different cultures and things that come into play when you’re gonna have different ideas of what that looks like. The things we see on social media, the music that’s around now, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong I’m just saying the reality of it, is sexualized.”

These stigmas can affect people’s thoughts and decisions regarding their virginity.

The first time for a lot of things is a big emotional thing. They kind of base everything else on that one particular moment.”

— freshman Jackson Thompson

“I think people can feel bad about it or they can feel good about it, or they can not really know how to feel about it,” Thompson said. “I think people would refrain from it because they’re scared of what could happen and they’re scared of actually doing it and people not refraining from it because they want to be like everyone else and it’s the cool hip thing to do.”

There’s more of a discussion over the topic of virginity and not as much afterward.

“I think it’s just always been something that’s seen as important, it’s kind of a societal norm,” Wysong said. “After that first time I guess it’s just not talked about as much and then it just becomes a normal part of being a human, but I think the conversation needs to continue after that.”

Others say it’s just human nature to add importance to it.

Not only can losing your virginity have consequences mentally, but also physically.

“I think at the end of the day it’s important that it’s something that’s discussed,” Wysong said. “So that the right information is out there and the understanding of STIs and pregnancy, what that looks like, how that can affect the rest of your life, is very important.”

Virginity is a personal choice and making sure you are 100% sure of that choice is important.

Crystal Tran
Health and physical education teacher Tony Sonsini

“If you make a choice, you can live with it for the rest of your life,” Sonsini said. “It’s hard to make those decisions when you’re fourteen, fifteen, sixteen years old, but that’s the reality we live in.”

Virginity is different for everyone and has a lot of room for interpretation. It’s important to make sure you have a good understanding about the topic.

“I think it’s a choice, it’s something that people need to think about, and how it will affect their lives,” Wysong said. “I think it’s important that it’s a conversation to have with your parents regardless of how uncomfortable that conversation would be, because it’s important that you feel like you can go to an adult in your life and have that conversation and know that you have the correct supports in your life, good information and that you take care of your body, that’s important.”

At the end of the day, the idea of virginity and how society views it can be daunting, but it’s a personal choice and idea for every individual.

“People need to make their own decisions about virginity,” Burch said. “They should not cave to social pressures and make virginity about themselves, not about others.”