Like a virgin

It’s time for more Yes Means Yes promotion!

The essay I want to discuss today is “The Process-Oriented Virgin” by Hanne Blank. The essay begins with Blank, who often studies and writes about virginity (she’s the author of the book “Virgin: The Untouched History”), meeting a young woman that has abandoned the traditional notion of what it means to lose your virginity.

The woman tells Blank that she’d decided that her first sexual experience and quite a few after that one simply did not count. Blank writes that the woman says, “I just didn’t feel like I’d really done it, you know, not for real. Not until about a year later. I kept feeling like I was a virgin. Until finally I had an orgasm while I was having sex with a partner. That was when I lost my virginity.”

Chances are you just yelled something like, “Is this chick serious?” at your computer. Blank admits her reaction was similar. In the essay she writes: I was fascinated, but at the same time, the more I thought about it, the more I felt my mental upper lip curling in scorn.

Blank eventually coins the term “the process-oriented virgin.” You know, someone who sees losing his or her virginity as a process, not a one time deal. And despite the fact she initially thought this idea was “ludicrous” by the essay’s conclusion, Blank declares herself a fan of the process-oriented virgin and believes it even has potential of being a feminist act.

Blank concludes that losing your virginity should be a subjective, not objective, transition and that it’s okay for it to be a process in which you figure out what sex should be — mutually pleasurable and positive.

Blank writes:

Think about what your own relationship to virginity might’ve been like had you been able to set the terms for it and decide for yourself what it meant to you, rather than having those decisions made for you, perhaps violently, by a parent, an abuser, a doctor, a church. It would change sexuality, gender roles, and maybe the world.

What are your thoughts on the loss of virginity being a process, not a one-time act? Do you think this idea is potentially empowering or completely ridiculous?



  1. Quite interesting…I need to think about my answer for a minute.

  2. Physically, there’s no denying that losing your virginity is a one-time act.

    But mentally and emotionally, I can sort of understand someone feeling that they hadn’t enjoyed the full scope and intimacy that sex has to offer until later on. (Especially if your first time, like you said, was against your will.)

    I think the physical, mental and emotional parts all play into it, so it’s hard to say.

    This is interesting. I’ve never thought about this before. And I may change my mind a little bit after thinking about it more. 🙂

  3. Playa, please!

    You can’t say, ‘the sex was wack so I’m still a virgin’ or ‘I don’t like him anymore so that doesn’t count – I’m still a virgin.’

    Now, a strong argument can be made for rape, but in any other circumstance it’s ridiculous.

  4. yeah, i think that it is wsck too, but you gotta hand it to her for being creative.

  5. Oh wow! Well, I do agree with Maisy about the fact that physicall it is definitely a one-time act and that’s a wrap for that! People will come up with all kinds of stuff tied to their emotions and mental state to validate anything these days.

    Now, I’m not saying that I don’t understand where she’s coming from because I do but is she for real or just trying to validate the fact that she had sex but didn’t have an orgasm until a while later so that makes her a virgin til she has an orgasm?? Does she know how many people would still be considered virgins if that was the case?? Lord have mercy…I am laughing over here.

    Now, if she actually didn’t feel anything, she might have an argument (that’s all I’m going to say on that one).

    I’ll give her an A for creativity and for exploring her mind for sure. However, I don’t know about process-oriented virgin being the new thing. Sorry chica…but when it’s gone, it’s gone. Just pray about the bad experience and hope for a better one next time.

  6. Totally love this concept. I think she has a point. A lot of girls and women seem to have had less than fully participatory experiences their first time and there is I think a huge difference between merely having sex and being sexual.

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