Languages are amazing to me on so many levels. Words and phrases can evoke emotions of all kinds and intensities. They can be both the weapons to hurt and the bandages to heal. Certain languages carry with them differing perspectives that color the way that we go through life. Despite this fact, we seem to be less inclined to use the magic that resides within language. The flourish of Shakespeare has been replaced by the convenience of the text message. While I don’t believe that we need to embellish the daily and mundane with flowery language, it may be helpful to say something more meaningful. Or say the things that have a meaning that will propel us toward a better future rather than maintain our status quo.
Along those lines, I’d like to suggest that no one “lose” their virginity. Depending on your particular background the phrase probably means one of a variety of things. If you’ve been raised in some religious background, there may be twinges of guilt or sin involved with this idea. If that is not an issue, the word “lose” can even create a feeling. Loss is generally seen as a negative and therefore it evokes feelings of that kind. Either because it was something that was supposed to be held onto until it was lost. Or because it was something that was undesired in the first place. In that case the losing is not the negative but rather the having has the negative connotation. With all of this convoluted word talk, it should be evident that the phrase does not actually serve the action well.
Rather than “losing their virginity”, people should be “earning their sexuality”. In the long past, the idea of losing virginity probably worked because of the pervasive religious beliefs about marriage and sin. In a modern context the phrase no longer serves. In fact it probably harms, more than it helps. So rather than an instantaneous change from virgin to not, why not embrace the idea that this is a process. Sex has been sold, contorted and embellished in so many ways that it’s perception barely resembles what it is. Perpetuating this will only lead to disaster for young people. So why not, “earn sexuality”?
The reason for “earn” is that it should not be viewed as a right. Also the process of earning something does not usually happen in an instant. Therefore it requires a more involved set of steps. In my opinion, the initial steps should be small, subtle and unrushed. At all times, it should be the individual and not the force of society that decides on the most comfortable pace to progress. Again the reason for the use of the word “earn” is extremely deliberate because it suggests a transaction of other actions to eventually received the privilege of the next step. Perhaps these actions will come from self-reflection or partner discussion. Regardless it puts the idea of process to the forefront rather than bravado or shame. So whether you’ve lost it already or not, perhaps consider the idea of changing the language around first sexual encounters. Maybe the shift in wording will change the way that we think and that might be enough.