There's More To Sex Than Putting Things In Holes

Photographed by Dan McCoy.
A recent interaction I had with a customer reminded me of something very important that often gets overlooked: the fact that penetration isn’t the only way to "have sex.”

If the word “virginity” arises, most folks probably think something along the lines of a girl who’s never had a penis in her (specifically, in her vagina) or a guy who has never put his dick in a vagina. This is a binary-gendered, heteronormative assumption, and it also assumes that the goal or endpoint of a sexual interaction is penis-in-vagina action — not mouth-on-balls, not mouth-on-vulva, not vulva-on-vulva, not rim-job partying, not flogging 'til you come everywhere, and definitely not a sensual massage. Yet, plenty of folks LOVE these things, many can orgasm and/or ejaculate from these things, and many even prefer these things to any type of penetration.

Maybe virginity should be thought of as an infinite concept, like the first time you do something — anything. Like, “OH! I just lost my vaginal-fisting virginity! Yay me!” Or maybe (and I prefer to think this way), maybe there’s no such thing as virginity at all. 

Related: Sexuality & The Arts

There are some societies that determine whether a woman is a "virgin" based on whether her hymen has been torn. I find this ridiculous for many reasons, a big one being that the hymen can be torn from exercise, a tampon, day-to-day life…there is essentially no reason to correlate a broken hymen with having been penetrated, although this is also a way it can be torn. Some people don’t have hymens. Some have hymens so thick that they can have intercourse and their hymen won’t even tear. See? Ridiculous.

I thought I had personally lost my virginity when I had a penis in my vagina. But, do you know what was a much more exciting first? Basically, everything else I did sexually for the first time. Losing my vibrator virginity was way more dope. I am definitely not alone here, folks. 

Going back to the customer who inspired this post: This person's issue was that something was getting in the way of having penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse. I spent a very long time talking with this person. We chatted about anatomy; I recommended books pertinent to the specific issue. But, I mostly talked about all the other awesome sex things to do that didn’t involve PIV sex. 

Related: Let's Stop Using Gendered Genitals As Insults

By the end of our chat, this person was glowing and genuinely excited to try out other ways of sexually connecting with a partner. We agreed that this was, after all, a positive situation that would open the grounds to connect and communicate more intimately overall. I felt like a badass sex educator, and the customer left smiling.

Virginity isn’t like some type of mystical threshold that you pass across all of a sudden, throwing away your flower crown in order to become a "real" sexual being. To me, virginity might as well not exist. I still feel like a "virgin" in terms of all the cool sexual (and non-sexual) things I haven't done, but at the same time I feel that I don’t have a single drop of virginity in me in terms of all the things I have done. Maybe virginity is a mindset. Maybe it’s the name of a white horse that rides through the desert at midnight. Maybe defining virginity is a waste of your fucking time.

Next: Pregnancy & Unsolicited Body Critiques

More from Sex & Relationships