Why Do We Shame Virgins?

June 13, 2011  |  

Only a few decades ago premarital sex was shameful.

Today, most men and women snicker at the thought of abstinence as a means of birth control. Talk show host Wendy Williams recently took to GSN’s Love Triangle to declare virginity “impractical.” Is it because virginity requires a substantial amount of self-control in an oversexed society? Is it laughable because it is something few of us have the will power to achieve?

With birth control and Roe v. Wade came a sense of female sexual liberation and power. Or so we like to think. In our quest for equality, we reject double standards and sexual freedom is often associated with indulgence rather than control. Yet, many modern women who have intercourse with multiple men lie to potential mates about their total number of sexual partners. Sure, men may say they prefer someone experienced; but, at the end of the day, who’s stuff is more valuable—the virgin or the woman who’s been “broken in?” For that reason, I find it interesting that women who choose to remain virgins or abstain are often mocked and criticized.

Virginity is perceived to be indicative of religious repression, a patriarchal society or desirability when some women and girls have simply decided to remain in complete control of their bodies. Sexually inactive women don’t have to worry about being labeled sluts, condoms breaking or the emotional baggage of a baby-daddy relationship. They don’t have to lie about sleeping with three guys instead of 13. Likely, when their moment comes it won’t be with a random bartender or the 20 year-old guy still attending high school parties. How many of us don’t have one or two we’d like to forget? There’s no buyer’s remorse for virgins.

We fight against sexually promiscuous women being called sluts, why not do the same for those who choose to abstain? Instead of shaming them for going against the grain, why not praise them for being examples of self-regulation? As we seek solutions to decreasing abortion rates, reducing the percentage of children born out-of-wedlock and STD’s, it might not be so bad to take a look at how some contemporary women are saving themselves.

LaShaun Williams is a lifestyle and relationship columnist, blogger and social critic. Her work has been featured on popular urban sites, such as The Grio and AOL Black Voices. She has made appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Santita Jackson Show. Williams is also the founder of Politically Unapologetic, a blog where she unabashedly discusses culture, life and love. Follow @itsmelashaun on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.

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