“Imagine if losing your virginity meant learning how to do all that: absorbing all those egalitarian lessons, learning how to regard your sexual life as a holistic enterprise that encompassed pleasure, introspection, and caring mutuality.”
— Hanne Blank, ‘The Process-Oriented Virgin’
The two of us both followed a pretty standard storyline when it came to losing our virginities: girl meets boy, girl dates boy, one girl has intercourse for the first time in the back seat of a car and the other swiped her V-card on Valentine’s Day without much of a to-do. If we had another co-writer who lost their virginity on prom night, we’d have the stereotypical teenage trifecta. However, as our first campus wide Sexperts newsletter will show you, there is no formula for losing your virginity. No two people view virginity in quite the same light; some cultures value virginity above all else; others urge youth to engage in premarital sex; and then there are places like America that send so many mixed messages nobody knows how to feel about virginity anymore. I mean, how does one even define virginity? Do you lose your virginity during your first kiss? First time engaging in oral? First time having anal sex? Intercourse? Outercourse? Do you lose it more than once if you have sex with partners of different genders? Or is it the moment, for girls, that your hymen is broken, in which case you can “lose your virginity” while horseback riding. Do you only lose your virginity if the encounter is consensual? If the encounter is enjoyable? If one or both parties orgasm? Does it even “count” if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?
The concept of virginity is so fluid that there is no precise way to define how you should feel or approach losing your virginity.
Even the term “losing your virginity” has a negative connotation, as if you’ve misplaced one of the few valuable things you’ve been given as a human. While your virginity is valuable in the sense that it is yours to do with what you will, “losing it” should not be viewed in a negative light. We hope that this issue will allow you to see that losing your virginity should not have any negative connotation, but rather as the opening of a door to allow yourself explore your sexuality in new and fun ways. Please do not misinterpret this newsletter as urging you to lose your virginity. Instead, we hope to explore all the different aspects of your first time, whether you have already had it, want to have it here at Dartmouth, are saving it for a future partner or haven’t thought about it yet. May our virgin issue issue give voice to different perspectives on your first time, and information to allow you to make the best and healthiest decision for yourself.
Be safe and have fun!
Michelle and Kate