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.
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?