What The Word Virgin Means – It’s Not What You Think

the word virgin
Thom Masat

The word virgin used to define me as a woman.

I (thought) I was a virgin for 26 years. Right up until the day when I finally had sex.

And on that day, it felt like I’d lost something. That I’d given away a part of me that I’d never get back.

There was even a time when I thought I would wait until I got married to have sex. Mostly because of the way this has been romanticised in books and movies, and taught to be what a good woman does. And I’m so glad I gave up that idea. Because it would have been a HUGE mistake.

We’re taught the word virgin means purity. Abstaining from sex. Innocence, and inexperience.

The most infamous example is the Virgin Mary in the Bible. She gave birth to Jesus without having sex, right?

Barbara G. Walker in The Woman’s Encyclopaedia of Myths and Secrets suggests not. She noted that Mary was a young, unmarried woman, and that’s what made her a “virgin.” But Christian translators had other ideas.

The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, claims that in the name of chastity, the Church didn’t want a sexually independent woman to be worshipped. So for her to be seen as “God-like,” her womb had to be “pure” and untouched.

And because of the rise and popularity of Christianity around the world, the definition of the word virgin was completely turned on its head.

Her story, was pushed aside and replaced by His story.

What the word virgin really means

Forget everything you’ve ever been taught as a woman. Because most of it is patriarchal lies fed from one generation to the next.

The word virgin derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, and skill.

It never meant sexually chaste, it meant sexually independent.

It was used to describe women who were free, and not owned or tamed by anyone. A woman who was a virgin was her own sovereign.

But now, it has been reduced to a slur word we throw around at men and women who are yet to have sex.

It’s the reason why we wear white on our wedding day – to show everyone how innocent we are.

It’s the reason why many women – and men – continue to abstain from sex outside of marriage.

Unsurprisingly, the word virgin is yet another way that we name and shame women

It’s how we determine whether a teenage girl is pure or a slut.

It’s how we determine whether a woman is wife material or easy.

And it’s how the patriarchy attempt to control women’s bodies, and stop us from having or enjoying sex. We are taught that sex is no more than something we do to conceive and give birth. Sex is not for female pleasure.

Porn teaches us the same thing. But we’re all so surprised when we hear statistics like at least 1 in 3 women will suffer from sexual dysfunction in their life.

We wonder why rape culture exists, while we teach men that sex is good and their’s to take, and we teach women that sex is taboo, and something which we give away.

We continue to try and restrict women’s access to birth control and her rights to abortion. In other words: if you have sex, then you’d better be ready to be a mother. And if you’re not, then why are you having sex?

Women’s pleasure is entirely absent from the conversation. They pretend that it doesn’t exist.

It’s time to reclaim the word virgin

I’m 29 as I write this, and I’ve had plenty of sex. And I’ve enjoyed it.

And I am a virgin.

I am a strong and independent woman, who will not be tamed by anyone. 

If you feel the same, then you’re a virgin too.

But I know it’s going to take a while before the word virgin gets reclaimed in society.

I’m sure the Church and the patriarchal powers that be will do all they can to prevent this from happening.

So naturally, it’s going to take time for women to read or hear the truth, and embody the word virgin with pride, while simultaneously being sexually liberated.

But in the meantime, I invite you to remember that your virginity is not something you can ever give away. It belongs to you. Always and forever.

It’s your strength, force, and freedom. And it is your power.

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