Losing one's virginity: how important is it to the process of maturation?

I think my meaning is clear. Feel free to respond to this post alone, but if you want more details as to why I’m thinking about it, check the next post.

I wish Ob-gyns handled it. I ran into too many guys who were squicked out when I mentioned I was a virgin… so I stayed one. Same from several of my friends. Just get the freaking thing out of the way!

So this is thread #1,000,000,001 about Skald’s fantasy-novel-in-progress.

Here’s the context. In the first half of the novel, an evil wizard performs (through a proxy) a spell on a young woman named Rosemary, older sister/best friend to the story’s two protagonists, Andy and Hannah. The spell deprives her of a portion of her soul and slowly drains all of her soul from her. the first manifestation of the enchantment is that it deprives Rosemary, who is about 19, of the ability to speak or communicate in any way.

A good magical creature–Andy and Hannah’s guide on their quest to save Rosemary–explains that the wizard’s spell works best on children. Andy protests; Rosie is practically an adult, he points out. The Creature in question responds that she is not quite there yet, because almost of her love is still concentrated on her family of birth–her younger brother, her mother, her dead father. The strongest connection she has made outside her family is to Hannah, whom she treats as a little sister.

Now this scene is told from Hannah’s POV. Andy does not quite understand what the Creature is speaking of above, but Hannah believes that she does. Rosemary is so focused on taking care of her family that she never dates; she is probably still a virgin; she is, to Hannah’s mind, pure, in a way that Hannah is not. (As you might imagine, the point of the scene is more Hannah’s response to the Creature’s explanation than anything else.) Hannah thinks that the Creature means that, until Rosie takes the step of making love with another person, she will still be susceptible to the Wizard’s magic; she will not be fully adult.

Bringing me back to the question in the OP. Regardless of your impression of the synopsis in the two previous paragraphs, how big a role does engaging in sexual activity play in becoming an adult?

Thanks in advance.

Oh God. I know you meant professionally but that made me paint my monitor with water.
“Just relax now, you’ll feel a pinch.”
runs out of the thread screaming with laughter

Hijacking my own thread–in the creepiest memoir I’ve ever read, Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, Harrison mentions that her mother has her ob-gyn break her hymen with, ahem, plastic assistance.

I think that being able to have a healthy relationship with someone else is a part of maturity, and such a relationship includes physical acts in its definition. Sex alone doesn’t automatically confer maturity (yeah obviously), it’s more the fact that if you’re bonded with someone else in a loving relationship, you’re going to want to have sex with them.

So to go with the novel concept, I would think that Rosie is not an adult, not because she hasn’t had sex, but because she hasn’t had a healthy relationship that implies sex. She’d be “pure” (although, I hate that phrase when applied to female virginity) in some ways even after having a one-night stand. (And yeah, even if she cut her hymen falling off a donkey or something. The whole hymen-as-indicator-of-“purity” thing pisses me off even more. Women are not jars of peanut butter that’ll spoil if you break the seal.)

The “pure” remark isn’t me-the-narrator speaking; it’s Hannah revealing her own hangups about her unhappy life in her thoughts. Hannah, whose loss of virginity was involuntary, would probably say that she (Hannah) is spoiled. What the Creature means is that, because Rosie loves no one outside her family (except for Hannah, whom she has pretty much adopted as a little sister), she is, despite her maturity in other fields, still a only a child for purposes of the spell.

I guess what I mean in the context of the story is this. The wizard is stealing the souls of children, drawing them outside their bodies. This works only with children (by the definition given above) because, in this context, adulthood involves voluntarily making a connection with another person, letting that person touch your soul while keeping it inside. Hannah, because of her unfortunate history, misinterprets that to mean simply sex.

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that. Most men I know would trample each other in hopes of being a woman’s first. It’s a notch-in-the-belt kind of thing.

Um…if that’s the only reason you’ve remained a virgin, you actually can have the OB/GYN help you out with that. Or so I’ve heard.

That’s a common belief…and frequently wrong, IMHO. It’s true to some degree among younger men, but with older men (say, older than 30) it’s a different story. Assuming the older man in question is reasonably experienced himself, I think he would more likely think “breaking in a virgin” to be more trouble than it’s worth. Personally, I think that the deflowering experience is overly romanticized in our society, and I think that once guys reach a certain age they come to feel the same way. I saw a 30-ish virginal woman on a talk show a few years ago, and her experiences with men were such that when she told them that she was a virgin they said they respected her desire to remain so, and they said they admired her for her committment, but she said they couldn’t wait to leave. Sounds about right. I am 44. If I were to go out with a woman my age and she told me that she was still a virgin, I would thank her for the lovely evening and try not to run away screaming. Sorry, virgins, but at my age sexual experience may not be a sufficient condition for maturity, but it is necessary .

This brings me to another issue. My guess (dunno any guys who like virgins) is that the few older guys who like the idea of doing a virgin want to do a young virgin. A virgin their age probably doesn’t appeal to them.

If I may quote Dr. House, “You are what people think you are. Reality is irrelevant.” If society has come to a general consensus that you’ve got problems if you haven’t engaged in coitus by age x, then hey presto! You’ve got problems.

I saw tonight’s episode as well.

It’s very nice psychologically to have it out of the way, but I’d think ‘first serious relationship’ is a more important step in that process.

I found it to be a an important step in maturation, as I somehow thought that the entire world would magically know. When they didn’t and nothing really changed in my relationship with boyfriend or anything else, it made me realize that my choices are my choices and that the rest of the world would only know if I told them, which I saw as an important part of growing up.

If you’re preoccupied with sex, as I was (and, to some extent, still am), then actually having that first experience is definitely a big step in your life. I don’t know about aiding the process of maturity, but it did mean that I was no longer hyper-focused on that one event, and could now move on to bigger and better things.

I really don’t know anyone my age 43… who would want a virgin. why? It sounds good in theory, kind of like a threeway. In practice? It sucked, well it wasn’t awful it just was uncomfortable for everyone involved… lesson learned for me at least. YMMV

I meant to add: if, on the other hand, sex does not loom large on your emotional landscape, then losing your virginity will probably have less of an impact on your development.

Its because men think if she is a virgin when he met her, that she’ll be a virgin and stay one throughout the relationship. He assumes she has been in several relationships and not had sex, so he figures this one will be no different.

Yeah we’re pigs, but we don’t hide it. We even have a TV network devoted to the subject now.

Hows graduate school going?

Losing one’s virginity is much overrated. And connecting emotionally is too often underrated.

Children can have sex. It doesn’t make them mature. There are also mature adults out there who have not had sex. I don’t think maturity and virginity are related.