Why Do We Shame Virgins?

47 Comments
June 13, 2011 ‐ By L. Nicole Williams

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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  • Johnny

    That’s not the way it is at all, lol, who’s judging now?

  • Samanthafletcher

    The older i get the more emotion gets tied up in being a virgin and in such a sexualised society i don’t think any man is going to believe someone as sociable and intelligent and good looking can still be a virgin.

  • Samanthafletcher

    I decided to stay a virgin because i cannot seem to find the right man at the right time it always the wrong man at the right time or the right man but the wrong time sort of thing i just masturbate a lot. Masturbating for a decade gets annoying as it can make you question your own seduction skills i don’t want to get to 30 and still be a virgin i don’t want another decade of being manless.

  • Samanthafletcher

    What does virginity have to do with religion anyway just because someone is religious it doesn’t make them pure anyway and by the way it doesn’t even mean they even practice everything in there religion either.

  • Samanthafletcher

    when i was 15 i thought i would have lost my virginity by 18
    when i was 18 i thought i would have lost my virginity by 21
    when i was 21 i thought i would have lost my virginity by 22
    at 22 i thought i would have lost my virginity when i got married by 24
    i’m now 24 and still have no man its been almost a decade since having my first thoughts about sex.
    i have been called insecure and inexperienced by many but i don’t have all the problems they have just from having sex like having children and having to raise children i don’t want.
    I have tried to have sex but then guys just know how to turn me off and not on.
    I have even studied in male dominated fields such as physics, maths, chemistry and now doing accountancy, natural sciences i’m starting to feel like i may never get anyone now considering i have met so many men already and none asked me out even if they were interested.
    I am not even ugly either i have told by many that i am beautiful.
    Everywhere i work i find plenty of insensitive men who really wouldn’t care if i was dead or alive and i’m not going to give my body to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/UnsVogel Unsterblichen Vogel

    For me Doing Sex outside marriage is awful, and disgusting. It’s looks like after sex they throw you away, you’re just like experiment or lab rats. Except you dedicating yourself become a Pornstar, i will not answer that.

    BUT if you doing Sex outside marriage and your couple stay loyal to you until married, then it’s fine, it means you and your couple make a redeeamble responsibility.

    Doing Sex = Take Responsibility.

    Sex is not a Plaything

    Is the commiting act to create a new life.

  • Pingback: Women virgins | Ezfortz()

  • A Nobody

    I'm a 34 year old male virgin. I'd be looked at as a weirdo if people knew.

  • swimsoc

    Just like a lot of others that commented I am a very soon to be 19 year old second year in college, and yes I am still a virgin! I am also a christian, but I would like to say that just as much as it is about waiting until marriage (if that is your personal choice) It is also about meeting the right person. In my very short 19 years of life I can honestly say I haven't met the right person and that most of my friends who are now telling me to wait (even though they're having a lot of sex) I feel tell me this because they think back to their first time and see that it was with the wrong person and for the wrong reason. I also have to DISAGREE with those who feel that ANY FORM OF SEXUAL CONTACT is a loss of "virginity". TECHNICALLY you are swapping "bodily fluids" every time your sebaceous glands (aka skin) graze somebody else. I know that this isn't what you mean but I still think that is a stretch. Purity and virginity are two different things and everyone knows that a sinner isn't pure and we all sin and no one is perfect, bible thumper or not. At the end of the day, everyone will and should do what is right for them not what is right for society.

  • Heather

    Yes! Much more eloquent than mine. :)

  • Ashesmom

    For God's sake don't do it just to do it.

  • Heather

    Thanks for posting this. I agree with everything you said and I'm not even going to follow that statement with a "but".

  • Lauren

    Thank You for posting this, I'm 23 and I'm choosing to wait. I get such mixed reviews when people find out, half admire what I'm doing and encourage me to continue on, using their own lives as examples as to why they wished they would have waited longer and half give me "the look" like "are you serious?!" "Why?!" In a society that's all about choice and free will, Why can't I choose to abstain?

  • Karis

    yes girl!

  • Mrs. Collins

    I was a virgin until I was 26 (32 now), been married going on 4 yrs, my husband was my second. I’m glad I held on as like as I did, and don’t regret it for anything. There is too many diseases out here, and its just not worth it. I truly believe that when you have sex with someone your part of your soul is connected, and the only person you should be connecting that way with, is your husband or wife. Thats why there is so much infidelity out there….if you only been intimate w/one person (which I know nowadays is not realistic) how would you know what new sex was like, or if your partner was the best or not…..just saying

  • Daniel

    I dont believe it is a tool for men to control women sexually, as I firmly believe that men should have "control" over their bodies as well. There should be just as many virgin men out here as women, but this world does not promote men to excersie "self-control" and they wonder why men are dogs. By comments like yours, it is evident that it is even expected of men to be whorish, and yet women (especially black) wonder why infidelity is so high. What I have found to be true is that men and women dont marry the guy that is best in bed, because when you are in love decent sex is enough to keep you there but when you are not in love , great sex is not enough to keep you there. Think about it and tell me what you think? Oh, and a little advice though you dont know me. " when you become obsessed with being free, that very obsession can lead you into a mental prison that you arent even aware you are in, but is clearly evident to those around you" (Your belief that man/God/Society is trying to define you so you rebel in the form of sexual premiscuity and false ideas about faith, love and sex).

  • Daniel

    **side-eye** With all do respect you sound like a Jehovah Witness

  • Daniel

    I believe you are suppose to be on bossip.com with that statement !

  • Daniel

    @Mary-Norris-Ellis I am sorry to say but I think you have it wrong. The bible thumpers are usually the most permiscuous of all. They are just undercover freaks to the fullest. Everyone knows the preachers daughters are the most whorish (I know from personal experience on multiple occassions) and I also know that the bible thumpers when they get to college are the ones spreading their legs as often as they are spreading the books. Stop proclaiming righteousness by association, I too am christain but I too also know that satan does his finest work within the church (scadelous pastors around the country/world), and naivety like yours makes it very easy for him to do so.

  • jazz

    Saving yourself past age 20 will only reduce your dating pool by weeding out the men/women who only want to date you for sex…….so it works out for the person who is looking for a little more. So what was your point really?

  • Simone

    I am a 19 year old college student that is a virgin. I have chosen to save myself for marriage and i dont care what anyone thinks about it. My friends like to make little jokes and when ppl find out they always have questions but I have no problem teling them where I stand. Its not always easy, but at the end of the day I am able to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with the person that I see. I know GOD has somone out there for me and until that day I will remain a virgin. #simple

  • …..

    Um, I think you are my twin ;)

  • Brodie

    I'd sell my BFF for my VG back. I was 26 and it was awful. Plus when you are a VG you get to judge men/women harshly and get away with it:). Oh to have that power!!

    But I don't make fun of the chaste among us. They are rare, like good service at your college admissions office.

  • offthatBULL

    I'm 21 and I'm still a virgin, though I'm not religious. The thing is: I prefer to wait because I don't want to regret it. I know WAY too many females who gripe and complain about their first and how they should have waited. Just like someone else said, I get most of the side-eyes, giggles and snickers from females while the males tend to respect me more for it.

  • Kia

    Well I happen to be 20 (a month away from 21) and have yet to have my first sexual experience and I'm very proud of that. I would prefer to wait until marriage (not for any religious reasons), but I'm not going to be mad if that doesn't work out. I think that's one of the best decisions I've ever made and my head is on strong. I could care less what others have to say. In my experience, most people think it's a good thing and a lot of girls say 'GOOD! Don't do it. I wish I still had my virginity". lol what's the rush?

  • Mental Health Guru

    To all my people, male and remale that are holding it down and abstaining, keep it up no matter what…but I have the feeling you are and have been strong enough to do just that

  • Hmmn…

    "The only thing harder than waiting on God is not waiting on God." -Dr. Charles Stanley
    I'm gonna wait. I don't want the heart break, disease, and babies out of season.

    Ps 27:12-14

    12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

    13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

    14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

    King James Version (KJV)

  • ALM

    It is possible to be a virgin, even into your 30's. It's a personal choice. Those who choose to be sexually active must live with both the ups and downs that come with that decision, just as people who choose to abstain or choose to become celibate after being sexually active must deal with what comes with those decisions. It is your body. DO NOT let anyone pressure you into doing something to your body that you don't want to do. You DO have choices in life. If you are not in a committed, monogamous relationship with the right person, you can always buy a great toy for under $50 to handle your business until the right person comes along.

    • gold

      thank u soooooooooo much, u have just said everything that was on my mind. co-sign 1000000%

    • KeepItLowLowLow

      Hahahahahaha!!! That is hilarious. but yh totally agree

  • Jenny Lo

    totally agree…

  • Jenny Lo

    oh, and just for the record, not all women that ARE having sex are doing it to feel "loved" or for the wrong reasons mentioned above, a healthy relationship, within, or without marriage can include sex…

    The same way virgins would like respect, women that are sexually active deserve respect too….we should all respect each other's decsions….

    • nyob

      100% co-sign.

  • Jenny Lo

    Im 26, and sexually active, but I admire women that have chosen to abstain. As I respect myself and my decisions and celebrate my sexuality I applaud other women that do the same. As long as we are caring for ourselves, emotionally, spiritually, and physically that's all that matters. Get ur groove on, or dont! But we should all honor each other's choices.

  • Karis

    i'll be 20 this month and will still be a virgin. it's interesting because at my second high school, i didn't get picked on for being a virgin, but a lot of people were saying that i wouldn't make it past my sophomore year. [i actually bet one of my guy friends that i would still be a virgin after my sophomore year. he needs to pay up.] but i'll be a junior in the fall and i'm still pure. me and 3 of my good friends actually took a Vow of Purity and we let it be known [proudly] when the topic arises that we are virgins and we practice abstinence until marriage. and everyone who knows respects us [or at least does so to our faces]. i know its not all about religion and people wait to have sex for different reasons so i commend anyone, male or female who is waiting. and not doing it just to get it over with or just to feel accepted or "loved".

  • Lisa

    I’m 20, and still a virgin. My cousins as well as a few of my friends often make fun of me, but it was a decision that I made with my own mind and agenda. It’s not a secret how hard it is, especially when I have to constantly fight natural urges to “just give in”, but I think sex is way more than physical gratification; rather the joining of two people. Naive, possibly…but it’s how I feel nonetheless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lotusengineer Kelley Smith

    Self-control and self-discipline have never earned much respect in the area of sexuality. This wrong and unwise. Those smart women who love, respect and value themselves refuse to treat themselves poorly. They understand what they bring to any table.

  • mahogany

    I’M 22 STILL AND PROUD IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM KICK GRAVEL AND TRAVEL. Sorry had to get that off my chest I’m very happy satisfied to know I’m going against the regular crowd. I don’t have to worry about that extra drama instead I can focus on what’s really important in life and not a couple minutes of pleasure. It’s not impractical but rather necessary imo. When you remove that aspect you can really see who wants you for you or simply the golden treasure between your thighs. Some call me prudence I call myself different and I know my God is smiling at me call me a bible thumper really don’t care I wear the title proudly. It’s 2011 and time for a change don’t judge other people based on how they choose to live their life.

  • Manifestowhereareyou

    i'm waiting for Manifesto to come in here and start shaking his head…i'm sure most people read his article last week esp the little bit about his disdain for 'the Bible thumpers who are keeping the goods 'till marriage' …smh…

  • HeadSmackeroni

    People shame female virgins for many reasons. Guys do it because they're pathetic and got rejected by said virgin, or they like cheap skankts. Girls do it when they are ashamed at how many pipes they've smoked (which is probably A—LOT).

    Just pathetic really.

  • lovely

    i'm 24 and i'm a virgin too, i don't know why people think we're boring, overbearing, fat, ugly people who can't finish a sentence without inserting a Bible verse, UGGGH!!! i hate that stereotype!

    • Anonymous

      Well I am a 33 year old woman who is still a virgin. I’m not religious at all, I’m attractive, have dated – I just really haven’t found anyone I’m interested romantically. I’m not opposed to sex, I just haven’t found anyone, and I refuse to settle. No one in a million years would guess I am a virgin. We’re definitely a minority, and most of us I would imagine wouldn’t fit the “virgin” stereotype. *shrug* – my body, I get to decide who touches it.

  • HoneyGirl

    I agree with the article. I know some women who are still waiting until marriage and I do applaud them. AIDS is no joke and I luv them too much as does G-d to have them over to an evil disease. Your body is the temple of the Lord and needs to be treated as such.

  • Erin

    I totally agree with this I was a virgin until I was 27 and I am so happy I waited as long as I did. One of the best decisions I ever made. I celebrate all women who choose to abstian or remain virgins until marriage or whenever its a wonderful choice. I'm not opposed to going back to abstaining myself. Its rewarding and liberating.

    • Likewater4choc

      I was a virgin until I was 31 (that was about 4 months ago!:-) and I do not regret waiting. I felt that my head an heart was clear and I didn't have any unrealistic expectations. If I had sex at say, 15 y.o like most of my friends had, I am pretty sure I would have some regrets by now. I agree with "Lovely" people do have these preconceived notions about virgins being boring wallflowers. I am smart, cute (everyday someone tells me I look like Jennifer Hudson) have traveled a bit and am into outdoor activities and working out. I went to an HBCU (no lie) and all of my friends were sexually active and they would almost treat me like it was an exclusive club that I didn't belong to.

    • KeepItLowLowLow

      I was a virgin until I was 23. I too am glad that I waited for the right person. Although I didn't get married I wanted to wait for somebody who was worthy of my body and emotions and I am glad I did. I don't judge women who wish to sleep around be free with their bodies at the end of the day God gave us all free will so who am I to judge. However I do find that women judge me for not being that way inclined. they believe that I lack sexuality and experience. I like to be in control of who I let sleep with me and I like to keep my numbers low. Sex is to intimate. Each time you have sex with someone you are giving away a part of yourself. I don't wanna have to lie to my potential husband about the amount of men I have slept with otherwise my marriage would be based on a lie.

  • http://theculturepollution.blogspot.com/ Sheispolluted

    Each to their own ….

    I don't look down on anyone for their sexual activity (or lack of) as it's not my business.