I present to you, upon entering this article, the bleached version of a pigeon. Or, as some know them, doves. Not the soap company, not the chocolate company, but the bird that supposedly represents ‘purity’, which is, plainly put, a ridiculous notion. This article will ruffle some feathers for sure, so if you happen to be offended by the mention of sex & profanity, I would skip it.
I don’t poke the bear, normally, but I was watching a Myth & Monsters documentary on CuriosityStream and came across the myth of unicorns. Now, Christian mythology and stories have invaded many creatures that would be far more interesting if certain narratives were not pushed with them. This is definitely one of them. For, you see, ‘unicorns’ only approach the pure, the good… the virgins.
Now, I fully respect people’s decisions to abstain from sex, but the reverse needs to also be the case, which just does not exist in many stories, along with the general attitude of, well, culture. I’m speaking from a western lens, of course, since I was born in the United States, and there is this obnoxious, puritan attitude prevalent here that we see in pop culture on the regular. That virgins are more valuable than anything, that non-virgins are impure. And, I gotta say, it makes for a bad story, is overdone, and is misogynistic (not to say the attitude against men having sex is bad too, by the way, it’s just not nearly as prevalent, as you see women virgins portrayed as being pure on a far greater scale than men.)
It all comes back to men being celebrated for having sex, and women being scorned for it. Why are virgins considered ‘pure’, and so much better than everyone else? Someone isn’t special for ‘saving themselves’, because there are so many different and valid types of relationships out there. People who actually want to derive pleasure from sex prior to marriage aren’t monsters. Women are NOT breeding sows. Yet it feels like we’re treated this way, and it sincerely hurts.
Which brings me back to mythology in general. “Save the virgin”, “sacrifice the virgin”, “the virgin’s blood is used in a special spell” yada…yada…yada. It’s all about purity, which as I said in the beginning, is a ridiculous notion because ‘purity’ is subjective. Someone isn’t more ‘pure’ to me because they abstain from an activity others enjoy. One person is no more valuable than another, sex or no sex, in this scenario.
This anti-sex sentiment, which is misogynistic as all hell, is far too prominent in fantasy, I feel. Not many people have addressed it, but the mentality that people are pure and therefore better for being a virgin needs to fade away.
I might be coming across as a tad bit aggressive, but I’m tired of seeing it. It’s likely one of the things that contributed to my absolute deep fear of sex for decades, only mended after years of therapy. The guilt instilled by society for just enjoying yourself in a consensual fashion is utterly unreal.
Not to mention, I’m always confused as to why people are obsessed with getting with virgins. The whole “you wouldn’t eat a sandwich that’s been fucked” or whatever has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard brought up with this issue. If you’re having sex for pleasure, why does it matter who someone was with before, so long as they’re checked properly for STDs? No, a person’s anatomy doesn’t change the more they have sex, and that myth seriously needs to die.
It all comes down to people being selfish, and society being puritan to the point of hurting/provoking guilt within those who don’t conform to the ridiculous anti-sex standards set by it. Point, blank, period: It’s none of your business who someone has slept with in the past or whether they have, unless you’re having a health-related conversation. I don’t know why some people need to be in everyone’s business regarding what they do for pleasure if it’s consensual and non-abusive. Yet, on a regular fucking basis, we see it being brought up by parties that really should not have a say in what other people do.
It also comes down to this. Being a virgin doesn’t make someone more ‘pure’ than anyone else. There is no hierarchy, and purity itself is a notion rooted in so many -ism’s that I won’t be listing them off here. It’s been done to death and back in mythology and fantasy, and in my opinion? It’s an ideology that can die. Right along with the disrespect toward sex workers, because that’s a lot of bullshit too.
As for me? I’m happy in my relationship, and I didn’t lose my virginity until I felt I was going to be with my lover for as long as possible, preferably for the rest of our lives. We’ve been together for 5+ years now. So yes, I lost it to him. I also don’t see myself ever doing sex work because it just isn’t my thing. It’s my choice. Guess what? I don’t judge other people’s relationship choices, or promiscuity, or career choice, because I’m not a bitch.
Well. Perhaps I am, in other ways. But in that one? No. And you shouldn’t be either. If someone wants to have fun and does it in a safe manner, let them. They’re no less ‘pure’ than anyone else, because purity is, and always has been, a false notion.
Be more creative with fantasy and abandon nonsense tropes like that, I say.
3 thoughts on “The Problem with “Virgins” & “Purity” in myth/stories”
Well said! The virgin trope is so annoying and degrading. It exists just to make people feel bad and to further control women’s bodies. Thank you for voicing your thoughts on this! The more people lay waste to this nonsense, the sooner we can rid the world of the stereotype.
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