I was speaking with a woman who wanted me to do a blog post on adult virgins (which I plan to do) when I was struck by something that she was saying. She was in her early twenties and considered herself a virgin yet when I asked her about her sexual history I learned that she regularly engaged in sexual activity like oral sex and mutual masturbation, she just hasn’t been vaginally or anally penetrated. This seems to be the distinction, for many, between virginity and lack there of. Penetration = sex. I feel it is my duty to proclaim that penetration ≠ sex…well, ok it does but it’s not the only thing that equals sex.
So here it is, the age old argument against defining sex as vaginal penetration. Lesbians and gay men. Now I hear your argument already, “Lesbians use strap-ons and gay men penetrate each other anally,” but here’s the thing, not all lesbians use strap-ons and anal sex isn’t as common amongst gay men as pop culture and pornography would have you believe. Many homosexuals have had non-penetrative sex their whole lives and you can trust me that most would not consider themselves virgins. Sex is what happens when two horny people consent to help each other feel pleasure in an erotic way. Ever notice how it’s called oral SEX. Now I’ll concede that the line get’s blurry when the people aren’t in the same room; are phone sex and cyber sex the kinds of sex that constitutes a loss of virginity?
If the question is “Did I just have sex?” I think that the answer must also come in the form of a question. “Do you think you just had sex?” if the answer is “Yes!” then you, my friend, just had sex! When two women are bringing each other to climax using their hands and mouths they most definitely think that they are having sex, and they’d be right. Sex is just one of those terrible things like art that is kind of subjective. Some people believe that anything can be art and in a similar way if you believe that you’re having sex that’s the only way to really know if you’re having sex. No one else can tell you.
So I get that this woman I was speaking to doesn’t think that she’s had sex yet but she also seems to be putting an inordinate amount of weight on one particular sexual act to the point of almost negating all her previous sexual experience. I don’t think that we should raise vaginal intercourse up on some pedestal of sexuality as the key sex act to which all other sex acts are lesser. It’s just one kind of sexual activity that can make up sex, and in fact, it’s one of the more high risk things you can do with a sexual partner. This doesn’t even cover the fact that considering vaginal intercourse to be the only real kind of sex is a highly discriminatory and heteronormative viewpoint and leaves people who do not engage in this kind of sex on the fringe. I for one believe that the sex act which we consider to be the primary and most important one should be masturbation. I think that would go a long way towards demystifying sex.