Sunday, March 02, 2008

virginity and other silly things

SBTB posted this lovely editorial in response to an MSNBC article that talks about a new fad some women are buying into--undergoing surgery to have their hymens reconstructed so they can be "revirginized."

I just have so many obvious things to say about this that I'm not going to bother to say any of them. I just thought everyone should know the article's out there.

But I bring up a semi-related thing I've heard: A major women's magazine estimated (based on a survey) that 80% of Americans say they regret their first time (one of my authors tipped me off to this study). Question--does that mean Americans feel pressured to have sex when they're not emotionally ready for it because it's cool, or does it mean that Americans feel pressured to regret healthy sex? Or a combination of the two?


angelle said...

re: reconstructive surgery. i'd recommend abstinence for X amount of years. that about does the trick.

re: first times. that's very sad to me that that many people regret it. i always vowed to never be one of those people. you bring up an interesting point though. feeling pressured to regret seems strange to me though. where does that come from???

Ello said...

I think it is a terrible thing to see this happen. But it is an interesting thought that it comes from people regretting their first time. I do think societal pressure is strong and leads to many young girls having sex when they are not emotionally ready for it. And I can understand the feeling of wishing you had saved it for the right person. But it can never be undone, no matter what surgery they do. Mentally, it's done. This is just sad.

Kaytie M. Lee said...

The surgery baffles me.

I agree with Ello, that some girls have sex before they're ready for it. I also think society puts too much pressured idealism in having a Perfect First Time in particular and on sex in general.

ChristineEldin said...

This surgery has been around for a while, at least in the Middle East. I wish there were an equal surgery for men who agree with this practice. Like maybe adding a third ball.

I think teenagers who have at least one open supportive relationship with an adult/mentor have less regrets.

I'm going to try not to read that article because I get too worked up from this stuff.

Precie said...

A coworker and I were floored by the MSNBC article.

$5000 for that surgery. Sometimes as an "anniversary" gift. No no no no no no no no no.

I'm horrified about the cultures that continue to demand virginity as a marital condition...who see losing one's virginity before marriage as a punishable offense. I don't care if that makes me seem culturally insensitive.

And I worry, too, about the pressure to have sex...I think our society pressures both boys and girls to have sex. It's ironic that the same society that values virginity this much also treats sexuality as a value (at least in popular culture--advertisements, toys, music videos, etc.).

Charles Gramlich said...

Is there a difference there for men and women? I would think men would tend not to regret any sex, ever.

The Anti-Wife said...

One word for the surgery - RIDICULOUS! What a collosal waste of money.

I agree that people who regret their first time probably weren't emotionally mature enough to handle it and - what Ello said!

Maria said...

I read a survey a LONG time ago when I was writing my thesis and was looking for topics. It was on people's views of their loss of virginity. In men, there was a very low percentage rate of them who regretted their first experience. In women, the ratio was MUCH around 79%, I believe.
I'm one of them. I lost my hetero virginity at the age of 17 to a boy who I dated all through high school and wanted his trophy before we graduated. I was smart, made him wear a condom, etc....but to this day, I regret it. Now, the first time I had a lesbian experience? I was 16 and it is still in the books as one of the best of my life.

I think women are pressured and men aren't. But...reconstructing your hymen? How stupid is that? And honestly, I thought we over that kind of idiocy.

You should lose it when you are good and ready and to someone you love or at least lust deeply. And be protected.

Redzilla said...

I wonder if regret isn't inherent in the first sexual experience for women. After all, I was a 28-year old virgin on my wedding night and I regret the hell out of that. Why didn't anyone tell me how awful it was going to be? I think my husband was permanently scarred by the crying and bleeding. Which brings me to the surgery...why would anyone want to be a virgin again?

Aerin said...

In high school I worked at a Hallmark store, one of those strip mall kind of places where we teenagers took over the evening shift from older women who spent evenings playing poker and celebrating their sixties & seventies.

I was in one of those really fundamentalist church groups talking about sex; I was telling one of these co-workers about a girl who'd been molested. She looked at me and said "Oh, honey. Sex is just overrated."

I go back and forth between thinking our society glorifies sex too much and that it doesn't give it its proper due as an emotional connection.

But as for the hymen reconstruction - who's to say that's not important for those undergoing the surgery? Why do we have such a problem with that and not with boob jobs or nose jobs or botox? I tend to think the money could be better spent, but who knows?

Now I'm thinking about the pressure to regret your first time...and thinking I should not take up too much space here. Maybe I'll go blog about it....

Lisa said...

I never regretted the first time, although there were some times in later years I wished I could have taken back. There's far too much guilt and shame associated with sex. The guilt and shame come into play when we do it and don't really want to and that's tied directly to our self worth. People who place too much importance on allowing or denying entry into their bodies are forgetting that sex isn't something you "let" someone have with you, it's something you choose to share. I think it's all about how much you feel you're consciously choosing to do what you do.

Sarahlynn said...

I can't speak for all Americans, but as for me:

Question--does that mean Americans feel pressured to have sex when they're not emotionally ready for it
because it's cool,
not in my case
or does it mean that Americans feel pressured to regret healthy sex?
I think that a lot of first sexual encounters are a result of heavy peer pressure, which isn't all that healthy. When I was a teenager, that was pretty standard. Girls had plans and back-ups and pacts and limits on how far we were going to let our boyfriends get on any given night. Wearing a tightly knotted bandana as a belt was one common strategy, but did require a very tiny waist. And, yes, I did graduate from high school in the early 90's. How could you tell?

Teens today, I think, are less naive/stupid. But they're also subjected to more sophisticated pressures.

cyn said...

i think every woman regrets her first time--cause it hurts like a mofo. haha!

but i'd rather not have some pimply teen groping at me not knowing what the heck he's doing. thanks.

and i'm proud to say i'm still a virgin! =D

Maprilynne said...


Nancy said...

I don't regret my first time. I was a full-fledge adult at the time, so that might have had something to do with it. It wasn't the best sex I've ever had but it wasn't bad either. I ended up marrying the guy and having a kid with him.

I think there are a lot of pressures from the world to grow up as fast as you can so you can get to adulthood and assume your place in the world, and sex is very much a part of the whole being grown up thing. I also think it is greatly romanticized in TV shows, movies and books. Sex is this wonderful, glorious thing ... and it can be, but it takes time to get there in a relationship. Kids are too busy/impatient to put the time into developing a relationship before they're starting to have sex.

Once you lose your virginity you can never get it back. You can have all the surgery you want to be able to "recreate" the moment of losing it but once the deed's been done the first time there's no going back. Heck, I have a great imagination and ablility to suspend belief but it isn't *that* good.