Lifestyle & Health: Am I still a virgin?
Jan is a 17-year-old student who is getting ready to sit CAPE and enter university to further her studies. She says she's not really ready for sex, but is curious and has experimented a bit with oral sex. She has never had vaginal sex. She is concerned that a couple of her friends say that she is no longer a virgin. She asks Check-Up if this is true.
Well, you are definitely a virgin in the literal sense in that your sexual organ, your vagina, has not 'known' man. You've not experienced penetrative sex. Most people are referring to vaginal intercourse when they refer to virginity. This is traditional.
On the other hand, oral sex is a form of sexual activity. This is
different from being a 'virgin' for most people. However, another, smaller group of people suggest that loss of virginity refers to having personal knowledge of any form of sexual activity at all. That is, having engaged in any form of sexual activity.
In truth, although oral sex gives a limited knowledge of what vaginal sex is all about, some women prefer it. There are other questions which should be asked when any form of sexual activity is being considered. For example:
- Do I trust this person?
- Does this person care for me?
- Have we discussed how to stay protected against sexually transmitted illnesses which can be transmitted orally?
- Suppose things got out of hand and penetrative vaginal sex occurred? Have we discussed how to cope with an unplanned-for pregnancy?
- How do I feel about doing oral sex again? Did I feel safe? Or did I feel pressured? Some young men make it clear that they expect at least oral sex or they cannot commit to any relationship. Do I really need this?
- Remember, because you've participated in any sexual activity, this does not mean you have to continue. Think it through first.
The main point to hold on to at this time is that you do not feel ready for vaginal sex, which comes with possibly greater commitments. You want to keep away from vaginal sex - traditional virginity -until you feel ready for this greater commitment. Continue to wait until you are ready and don't let conversation with others, who may be trying to convince you not to wait (peer pressure), influence you at this time. When you decide to lose your virginity and participate in vaginal sex, make sure that it's fully your own decision! And that you are feeling comfortable with the change of status and happy with your knowledge of the person you share this event with.
Never forget that at age 17, you are embarking on the time where choices you make will shape the rest of your entire life. The studies you are doing are very important.
Note also the growing link between oral sex, human papillomavirus and oral cancer. Studies show that men and women who have shared oral sex with six or more partners during their lifetime have a ninefold increased risk of developing cancer of the tonsils and tongue. Whether or not oral sex is real sex, it has consequences.