This week The Man of Mans had a date night. We went to a screening of The Purity Myth, a documentary by feminist legend, Jessica Valenti about the American moral majority and their focus on female virginity as a gage for their moral value in society.

It was a good film in the “clearly illustrates why people who use sex as a tool to control people and retain privilege give Nadine angry headaches” kind of way. Both the film and the audience (hooray for post-documentary debriefings) had a discussion that the whole “virginity=virtue” philosophy is asspants, not only for it’s sex-negative perspective but because at best, “virginity” is nebulous designation.

For reals. Depending on your definition of sex, virgin can describe any and all of the following:

  • Someone who has never engaged in any sort of sexual activity whatsoever.
  • Carpet munchers
  • Fondling with clothes
  • Fondling without clothes
  • Friends with anal benefits
  • All manner of queer folk
  • Cocksuckers
  • Carpet munchers
  • Masturbators
  • “Just the tip”
  • A kind of really good olive oil.

At the end of the day, however people define virginity is their own business. So is their choice to retain it or not. As for me I may retire the word from my vocabulary.  Well maybe not totally retirement. Maybe something closer to the vernacular equivalent of a part-time greeter job at Wal-mart.

I don’t know that I have a lot of use for the word in my personal life. However you define virginity, that train left my station a looooong time ago. None of my gods are jonesing for ritual sacrifice and I certain don’t see it as a measure of anyone’s character. I will still use it to judge the oil. Promiscuous olives are the worst, yo!

So, sorry virginity. In practice and in parlance you hold little meaning for me.


  1. Thomas McKinlay says:

    Thanks Nadine. Where did you see the movie, by the way. I read the book several years back and I stunned myself myself by realizing how I had a vague suspicion of the issue, but had never really clarified my thinking about it. It’s something I like to share with people, but a movie is always easier than a book.

    • nadinethornhill says:

      It was a special screen at Carleton University. Apparently the rights to the film are somewhat expensive, but if get a chance to see it I do recommend it!

  2. “However you define virginity, that train left my station a looooong time ago.”

    Ha! And good riddance. When else do we prize inexperience or ignorance?

    When I was a young Mormon girl, I read a cartoon in which a young Mormon guy is telling his bishop he’s “still technically a virgin.” I didn’t get the joke at the time, but found it hilarious once I grew up and started hastily making up new, arbitrary rules: “Okay, so I won’t ________, but I will let myself ________!” As my best friend asked me, “Where do you draw the line when you’ve already passed the line?”

    I’d love to see that documentary.