Virgin-Shaming

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Post by Wondering on Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:24 pm

I think part of the problem with that is that too many women don't actually know how babies are made due to our (lack of) sex ed in the US. Sad

Sometimes, too, the pregnancy question is part of screening because if you're pregnant, there are certain drugs they can't use and procedures they can't do. But, yeah, that's usually asked in a totally different way than assuming your medical problem is that you're pregnant.

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Post by azazel on Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:41 pm

Let's see... my worst virgin shaming experience was when someone mentioned the 72 virgins/72 raisins passage from the Quran, and someone "joked" why anyone would want 72 virgins since there was obviously something wrong with them.

I've got a friend who consistently asks about my love life while she knows it's nonexistent, because she has a boyfriend and still wants to rub it in even after 5 years. She was bullied in high school for being ugly, which is why I still hang out with her even though she ignored my "[girl], you know it's nonexistent. Can we never mention it again?".

And yeah, the neckbeard virgin insults that are thrown around, plus the "no wonder you're a virgin" that keeps popping up on the main blog don't help either.

embertine wrote:celette, I went to hospital with a blocked duodenum once and even though I explained repeatedly that the swelling in my belly had been there three days, rather than gradually expanding over nine months, and that I had not had sex in the preceding year, they didn't believe me.  I had no problem with them taking a test just to be sure but it was the assumption that I was either lying or genuinely wouldn't know how babies were made.

Might lawsuit culture play a role here? I.e. if you say you're not pregnant, and they give you drugs, but you were pregnant and your baby turns out wrong, you might file a lawsuit although it's your own damn fault? So they play better safe than sorry?

I ask it because I've never heard this from friends around here when swapping medical comedy stories. If it was as common here as in the states I would expect at least some horror stories.

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Post by reboot on Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:47 pm

It is common in the states too. I get asked it even though my tubes are tied and it says it right there in the chart

EDIT: Azazel is correct that it is asked to avoid giving drugs or treatment to someone who does not know they are pregnant. The pressing the issue is because people lie about sex all the time. In some cultures I work with we will have mothers of 8 living children and 7 that died say they have never had sex because of slut shaming.
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Post by Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:51 pm

The Wisp wrote:I've never been virgin-shamed directly, but there is a lot of ambient virgin-shaming going around, and I feel some shame anyway.

DerailDude made his point in the wrong place and did so in a confrontational manner, but he did have a point when he talked about otherwise sex-positive people virgin-shaming people on "the other side". I acknowledge that most sex-positive people don't do this, but I saw  it more than I should have back when I lurked around feminist blogs. I often hear that "well, it's okay because those guys feel that way, I'm not implying anything about virginity". Yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that. I feel like it is a rationalization for using problematic insults because you happen to be attacking your opponents. The problem is, you're just reinforcing the cultural narrative around virginity being shameful to innocents who read that article.

Wait, can you fill me in on who this DerailDude is? I don't know how to internet.

Sex-positivity technically doesn't exist. Technically. It's primarily about being allowed to have sex without being shamed for it, which is all well and good, but these people tend to backlash by attacking virgins. "Ha ha, you're not attractive/confident enough to get any and I am!" It's pure high school shit, those types tend to be pretty hateful towards my kind. We're the opposite of them, thus we're the enemy.

OR they assume that because we're virgins, we must be rapists (yes, even women, I have seen female virgins be accused of molesting people in public because they were virgins. Made no damn sense to me). We get shunted in with the neckbeards and the MRAs and the PUAs and the opinion eventually becomes "if you can't have sex, if nobody wants you, you must be a creep."

So the whole sex-positivity movement is full of shit, just like the hippies were. Nice on paper, vitriolic in execution. It's an excuse for people from religious backgrounds shamed for their sexuality to have a new whipping post. That namely being me.

So statistically, it's the ones who aren't involved in that (and aren't religious) that tend to give the least amount of shits about sexual experience and number of partners and so on. Eventually it turns into a desperate rush to have as much sex as possible so people wont' lob insults at you. I've discovered that's why a lot of people tend to tolerate awful lays. Girls especially. It's actually kind of sickening the stuff I've heard.

They also tend to take sex really seriously. It's a little odd, it's almost religious for them (most come from religious backgrounds and are atheist because it's "in"). I will admit that I don't live in Hippie Dippie Sex Positive Paradise, I live in a deeply backwards area of the country and thus everything is messed up. So maybe my experience isn't exactly average, but sex is a competition around these parts. People compare their sex histories here the way middle-aged guys play fantasy football.

I'll expand on this because it's pretty funny in hindsight. Let me list a paraphrased example from a couple days ago (not including the dirty looks thrown at me for laughing my ass off):

Girl 1: Well Guy 1 fingered me last week, and then I sucked another guy's dick, but that's not a hookup.
Me: So only PIV is a hookup?
Girl 1: Right.
Girl 2: You said you're a lesbian.
Girl 1: I'm a lesbian when I'm drunk. I fuck girls when I'm drunk. But I hook up with guys when I'm sober. I've fucked three guys in the last month.
Girl 2: How were they?
Girl 1: Collectively, about a 4, 5, 7. Last guy had a big dick, that helped. Guy 2 couldn't eat out to save his own life.

And this isn't just with women, they just both happened to be girls. Everyone I know discusses this, like it's a football play. If you made John Madden read out how they describe sex, it would be like the Super Bowl. Weirdest damned thing. I don't know if where I live has anything to do with it, but it's definitely VERY rural.

TL;DR: Sex positivity is horseshit. It's the reverse of "men's rights." People I know talk about sex weird.

Werel wrote:While my personal feelings on male virginity are kind of unorthodox*, I also see a lot of ambient virgin-shaming in mainstream media and, yes, sometimes in sex-positive circles as well ( Disapproving ). I think/hope we all already agree that such messages are deeply lame and hurtful, but beyond that, I'm curious about two things:

1) Whether you guys perceive female "virgin-shaming" as such, or whether you'd call it something different than the canonical "loser can't get laid" variety leveled at men because the underlying gendered values are so different;

I think it's pretty unisex, girls get shit for it too. They're called prudes, we're called losers, but it's all the same. Not having sex, or being unable to find a mate, will cause people to look down on you regardless of gender. Most virgins are also perceived to be "socially retarded" (I don't know how else to put it), and unable to communicate like a human being. They're all thought to be neckbeards. People jokingly talk about how that nude pic scandal was "The Virgin's Revenge." They're deficient genetic mistakes, God hates them, and they try to get back at the superior people by violating their privacy (according to people). All of this has been said about my kind by so called sex positive people.

I'd like to make a note that BEING sex positive is not the same as being a sex positive PERSON. The former is what you guys are, the latter is what those assholes are. It's a part of their identity, they're obssessed with it. I don't want any of you thinking that I'm saying that about you.

Human value today is entirely determined by this and popularity. Nothing else. Not popularity in the high school sense, popularity in how many people are aware of your existence. These things are definitely linked, the sex partners thing is just another "Facebook friends" metaphor if you think about it. You know that South Park episode where that kid is completely socially isolated because he has no Facebook friends? Virginity is the real life version of that. If it's discovered and you're not sufficiently charismatic enough to talk your way out of it, you will be completely rejected. It has actually happened to a couple people I know.

That's why I complain about it all the time: these things are identified with you. The age you lost it, the length of each relationship, the amount of partners, it's like this mental statistics sheet everyone associates with you. It's like major league baseball, if your stats aren't good enough, you can't play. It's exactly like this where I live. The people with the highest social clout have the highest rates in these areas. The people who were sexually active at 13 (yes, this happens far more often than you think) have much more clout than, say, someone who lost it at 18.

it all sounds ridiculous because I'm a bit younger than most of you, but that's what I deal with on a daily basis. The only reason why I haven't lately is that previous generations don't care so much, and I'm the youngest person at the school I go to now.

2) and, particularly from the virgins 'round here, how do you wish people would speak up when they hear/see virgin-shaming comments? What would your perfect hypothetical ally say to the girl in nearly_takuan's anecdote, or a commenter on a news article that throws around "virgin" like a combo joke/slur?

Usually the best thing to do is highlight exactly how stupid that logic is. It's not just virgins who are shamed, it's also people who abstain from having a sexual encounter. Say a girl has someone make a move on her and she refuses. She will be shamed for it if people find out. The same applies to guys, either you have sex with whoever made the offer (unless he/she is a creep/is bad at sex/is unattractive/has small genitals) or you're a fucking prude. I've been on the receiving end of this, when I panicked during a party and refused a direct sexual offer because the girl creeped me out. I was shamed for this because she was physically attractive. In fact, I still get crap for it.

But anyway, generally when someone makes a virgin wisecrack, I tend to respond with something like "oh no, I didn't rub my genitals in her for thirty seconds!" or if it's someone else, "it's OK, you can fuck them. Problem solved." It's just another form of bullying, and outclassing said bully is still the only reliable way. Laughing off the insult or insulting worse is still how you deal with a bully. A kid hits you in high school, you hit them harder and somewhere more sensitive. Same logic applies.

So maybe I'll bring up some horrible sexual experience they've had, or some physically unattractive feature about them. As long as they get shamed for making the virgin joke, they learn through negative reinforcement not to try it again. Mean, sure, but the only way to stop it.

Or you can just highlight how obsessive they are about the subject. "You sure pay a lot of attention to my sex life, I'd love to fuck you if I didn't have standards." "If you wanna be alone with me, all you gotta do is ask." The mocking seduction tactic also works great, and when you're defending a fellow virgin.

Similar tactics work in dealing with misogyny or racism. Someone makes a racial slur: "OH NO NOT THE BLACK PEOPLE! ANYTHING BUT THE BLACK PEOPLE!" You highlight what makes the prejudice stupid and they'll learn to shut up.


nonA wrote:The really big annoyance about the overlap between people who call themselves sex-pos and the people who virgin shame is the way that they use the former to say "My choice!  Can't judge!" only to turn around and judge the hell out of other people.  It's the ever popular hypocrisy hiding behind social justice.

Don't have that many personal stories.  There was a certain vibe in a lot of my circles before I lost mine, but that had more to do with being around a bunch of wacky high school/college kids.  Did have a few instances of being virgin fetishized - ironically happening after I stopped counting - but that again has more to do with the circles I ran in then general society at large.

I see no overlap, those two groups are identical. But social justice is fun, especially when you use it to make yourself look good and not to help anyone else. They enjoy being sexually superior and rub it in our faces. Which makes them serious sore winners.

My own personal story, and really the moment when the whole "being a virgin" thing became obsessive for me, was when someone found out I was a virgin when I was 15 and straight up told me to kill myself if I was 16 and a virgin.

celette482 wrote:

I am by the official, serious definition "a virgin." It actually has some real medical meaning and some real world consequences (or lack thereof, really).

Lemme introduce you to a very certain type of virgin-shaming that you, as a man?, have never and will never experience: pregnancy shaming.

Me:*go to doctor with complaint*
Doctor: Have you taken a pregnancy test?
Me: ....Er, no.
Doctor: Let's do that
Me: Er.... I haven't had a visit from the Archangel Gabriel, so I'm expecting it'll be negative
Doctor: ...Oh. *entire life falls apart*

People cannot, will not accept that a young woman, in or outside a relationship, is *not* pregnant.

That's really really odd, and also a clear sign that the guy was asleep during medical school.

reboot wrote:
Mel wrote:
nonA wrote:The really big annoyance about the overlap between people who call themselves sex-pos and the people who virgin shame is the way that they use the former to say "My choice!  Can't judge!" only to turn around and judge the hell out of other people.  It's the ever popular hypocrisy hiding behind social justice.

Can we not talk as if hypocrisy is something particularly "popular" in social justice circles?  I'm pretty sure you find just as much hypocrisy in any group of people focused on a particular attitude, because hypocrisy is popular among human beings, not specifically social justice folks. And frankly, attitudes about sex are pretty hypocritical in society at large.

It's popular in all circles, but the "sex negative" thing makes such behaviors expected. I expect the Westboro Baptist Church to hate on gays, I don't expect LGBT movements to do that. I expect that the KKK are racist bastards, but I'd be surprised if the NAACP was.

I compare the sex positive movement to the hippies: preaching peace and love and practicing the exact reverse. Like I said earlier, difference between being sex positive and being a "sex positive person." You are the former, and actually believe in allowing people to express themselves. The latter simply want attention, just like the hippies did, and have no interest in making anyone's lives better.

Hell, sex negative circles are just as hypocritical. And nobody is particularly fair when it comes to asexuals and recognizing that it is their sexuality, not a choice.

Well yeah, that's fair. This is a bit off-topic, but do you think asexuals receive a particular kind of shaming as opposed to people who are "forever alone" or involuntarily celibate? Do you see any differences?

nearly_takuan wrote:
celette482 wrote:You can use whatever word you want to to say "I don't *do* sex with other people" but keep in mind that there is a medical, physical aspect to it and, for women, a medical, physical aspect to virginity. STDs can happen to people who have never had PIV sex. Oral, kissing even. Meanwhile, pregnancy is sorta a PIV thing.

So I see people cannot, will not accept that a young man, in or outside a relationship, is not sexually active.

I'm not looking for a word that says I'm not looking for sex because I already have one. The word is asexual.

I want a word that gets across that I am lonely and society as a whole would judge me for that. It need not be virgin. I propose bandersnatch. Can we move on? Do you have any meaningful input about bandersnatch-shaming?

What's a bandersnatch? Sounds like Anderson Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch's love child (who would be quite refined and charismatic).

\"azazel' wrote: "no wonder you're a virgin" keeps appearing on the main blog
.

Wait, when has that happened? I haven't really read the main blog for a while, but why isn't the Doc doing anything about that?

Also, I respectfully request permission from the mods to call Azazel's friend a cunt. And if that's not acceptable, calling her a bitch would suffice.


Gman wrote:As far as virgin-shaming goes, about from near the end of my high school, I started getting this general "being a virgin is weird" vibe from my social environment. The worst that I have experienced is during my military service, where other people kind of teased me about it when they found out I had no experience - nothing blatant but a lot of teasing. Thankfully, once I was out of there it pretty much seemed to dissapear, except for general culture vibes here and there. 
When I met my ex gf, she seemed to be a bit suprised with me being inexperienced, asked me once "how can that be?". I explained to her that I guess it was a combination of not being mentally ready and not finding the right partner to do it with. Sometime later, she told me that she was pleasantly suprised at how "mature" I was about the whole thing. 
Now that I think of it, I simply got really lucky - from the moment she learned I was inexperienced, she asked me several times to try certain "things" with her (and I'll leave it at that). I think she was going out of her way to give me the best experiences she can give.

Well that's true, it definitely seems to be the worst around younger crowds, and maybe folks will stop giving a shit eventually. At film school, I haven't heard a single virgin wisecrack and it's actually a little weird, it's weird to be treated like a full human being again. Happened a lot in undergraduate, still happens a bit in my old social crowd when I see them.

I've dealt with that too, apparently I don't "look" like a virgin. I dress nice and I exercise and I eat properly and so on, I have a social life and all that. People just find it odd. I don't even act all flustered and stupid around most girls, it's not "virgin behavior." So I'm viewed as this strange entity, and people either assume I'm asexual or gay because the idea of a well-dressed (albeit a 4 on the looks scale) hygienic social guy being unable to find a mate is alien to them. Am I let off the hook for not being a neckbeard? I dunno.

Which reminds me, I need to shave.

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Virgin-Shaming - Page 2 Empty Re: Virgin-Shaming

Post by azazel on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:15 pm

Glides wrote:
Wait, when has that happened? I haven't really read the main blog for a while, but why isn't the Doc doing anything about that?

Most often it's a reply to a red piller who complains about being such a nice guy and how all attractive women think you're scum yadayadya. I mean, it ís no wonder women wouldn't want to touch that with a fifty foot pole, but it does invoke the "if you're a virgin there's something wrong with you" trope.

Glides wrote:
Also, I respectfully request permission from the mods to call Azazel's friend a cunt. And if that's not acceptable, calling her a bitch would suffice.

I'd rather have you didn't, if it's all the same to you.

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Post by Mel on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:35 pm

Glides wrote:
Mel wrote:
nonA wrote:The really big annoyance about the overlap between people who call themselves sex-pos and the people who virgin shame is the way that they use the former to say "My choice!  Can't judge!" only to turn around and judge the hell out of other people.  It's the ever popular hypocrisy hiding behind social justice.

Can we not talk as if hypocrisy is something particularly "popular" in social justice circles?  I'm pretty sure you find just as much hypocrisy in any group of people focused on a particular attitude, because hypocrisy is popular among human beings, not specifically social justice folks. And frankly, attitudes about sex are pretty hypocritical in society at large.

It's popular in all circles, but the "sex negative" thing makes such behaviors expected. I expect the Westboro Baptist Church to hate on gays, I don't expect LGBT movements to do that. I expect that the KKK are racist bastards, but I'd be surprised if the NAACP was.

I compare the sex positive movement to the hippies: preaching peace and love and practicing the exact reverse. Like I said earlier, difference between being sex positive and being a "sex positive person." You are the former, and actually believe in allowing people to express themselves. The latter simply want attention, just like the hippies did, and have no interest in making anyone's lives better.

I don't want to get into a big thing about this, but it's one thing to say, "Some sex positive people are hypocritical/virgin-shaming" and another to claim that hypocrisy is especially popular in social justice movements at large or that all people who call themselves sex positive "simply want attention" (or the other generalizations you've made in your post that I didn't quote).

To the former, in addition to what I already said above, sex positive folks =/= "social justice" as a whole, and jumping off from this discussion into a snarky negative comment about social justice in general is not only unfair but to some extent violates the basic forum guideline #5--this forum is operating under the premise that social justice in general is a good and needed thing, and attempts to undermine that premise are not welcome.

To the latter, there are many people here, including myself, who consider themselves to be sex positive, and it's unfair to us to say that we all have these nasty attitudes toward virgins when that should be clearly untrue. I have no doubt that there are some sex positive people who shame virgins, just as there are indeed some LGBT rights supporters who have problematic attitudes toward trans people, for example, and race activists who discriminate against other minority races, and so on. But virgin-shaming is not a stated tenant of sex positivity and indeed I think you could reasonably say that anyone who claims to be sex positive but shames others for their (lack of) sexual behavior is proving that they are not, in fact, sex positive at all, just like you could tell someone who claims to be a feminist but slut-shames women that they're not acting like a feminist.

<mod>To sum up, I see no problem with discussing the fact that sex positive attitudes have led some people to turn around and shame those who are less sexually active, but I think we should be able to have that discussion without resorting to broad claims about what all "sex positive" or "social justice" minded folks think or do. And I don't think that should be debated--just follow through on it, all right?</mod>
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Post by nearly_takuan on Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:41 pm

Glides wrote:Wait, can you fill me in on who this DerailDude is? I don't know how to internet.

A banned guy who made a big fuss on Paging about something totally unrelated to Friday's article.

Glides wrote:Human value today is entirely determined by this and popularity. Nothing else. Not popularity in the high school sense, popularity in how many people are aware of your existence. These things are definitely linked, the sex partners thing is just another "Facebook friends" metaphor if you think about it. You know that South Park episode where that kid is completely socially isolated because he has no Facebook friends? Virginity is the real life version of that. If it's discovered and you're not sufficiently charismatic enough to talk your way out of it, you will be completely rejected. It has actually happened to a couple people I know.

That's why I complain about it all the time: these things are identified with you. The age you lost it, the length of each relationship, the amount of partners, it's like this mental statistics sheet everyone associates with you. It's like major league baseball, if your stats aren't good enough, you can't play. It's exactly like this where I live. The people with the highest social clout have the highest rates in these areas. The people who were sexually active at 13 (yes, this happens far more often than you think) have much more clout than, say, someone who lost it at 18.

it all sounds ridiculous because I'm a bit younger than most of you, but that's what I deal with on a daily basis. The only reason why I haven't lately is that previous generations don't care so much, and I'm the youngest person at the school I go to now.

Yeah, I can get that the medical use of the term is descriptive, but colloquial use is more prescriptive: the connotations include what kind of person you are and what your future looks like, not just your past.

Glides wrote:This is a bit off-topic, but do you think asexuals receive a particular kind of shaming as opposed to people who are "forever alone" or involuntarily celibate? Do you see any differences?

Beats me. That one I manage to avoid bringing up with people I don't trust to understand (or at least make an effort), so any misunderstandings with those types tend to be more that they assume I'm making a choice (which would be respectable) rather than that I'm deficient in some way.

Glides wrote:What's a bandersnatch? Sounds like Anderson Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch's love child (who would be quite refined and charismatic).

It's from a Lewis Carroll poem: Beware the Jabberwock, my son: the jaws that bite, the claws that catch, / Beware the Jubjub Bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!

Well, I generally feel pretty shunned, and the way the conversation was going was making me a bit frumious (which is how it comes out when you try to say "furious" and "fuming" at the same time).
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Post by reboot on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:37 pm

[quote="nearly_takuan"]
Glides wrote:

Glides wrote:This is a bit off-topic, but do you think asexuals receive a particular kind of shaming as opposed to people who are "forever alone" or involuntarily celibate? Do you see any differences?

Beats me. That one I manage to avoid bringing up with people I don't trust to understand (or at least make an effort), so any misunderstandings with those types tend to be more that they assume I'm making a choice (which would be respectable) rather than that I'm deficient in some way.

I have seen people bash asexuals for being "unnatural", " damaged", or calling them lairs about it not being a choice (because sex has something to do with evolution and thus asexuality can not be natural or something??) in some ugly corners of the internet that I accidenally link followed into.
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Post by reboot on Sat Oct 25, 2014 5:56 pm


Mel wrote:
nonA wrote:The really big annoyance about the overlap between people who call themselves sex-pos and the people who virgin shame is the way that they use the former to say "My choice!  Can't judge!" only to turn around and judge the hell out of other people.  It's the ever popular hypocrisy hiding behind social justice.

I don't want to get into a big thing about this, but it's one thing to say, "Some sex positive people are hypocritical/virgin-shaming" and another to claim that hypocrisy is especially popular in social justice movements at large or that all people who call themselves sex positive "simply want attention" (or the other generalizations you've made in your post that I didn't quote).

To the former, in addition to what I already said above, sex positive folks =/= "social justice" as a whole, and jumping off from this discussion into a snarky negative comment about social justice in general is not only unfair but to some extent violates the basic forum guideline #5--this forum is operating under the premise that social justice in general is a good and needed thing, and attempts to undermine that premise are not welcome.

To the latter, there are many people here, including myself, who consider themselves to be sex positive, and it's unfair to us to say that we all have these nasty attitudes toward virgins when that should be clearly untrue.  I have no doubt that there are some sex positive people who shame virgins, just as there are indeed some LGBT rights supporters who have problematic attitudes toward trans people, for example, and race activists who discriminate against other minority races, and so on.  But virgin-shaming is not a stated tenant of sex positivity and indeed I think you could reasonably say that anyone who claims to be sex positive but shames others for their (lack of) sexual behavior is proving that they are not, in fact, sex positive at all, just like you could tell someone who claims to be a feminist but slut-shames women that they're not acting like a feminist.
....

Got to cosign with Mel on this social justice=/=sex positive. There seems to be a very limited understanding of what social justice encompasses. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the democracy protesters in Hong Kong, Iran, Russia, China etc. , LGBTQ activists worldwide, worker's rights advocates, immigration advocates, women's education activists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Mali, etc., Roma rights acttivists etc. are all part of social justice. Some, but not all, are sex positive.

Also cosign on the idea that people call themselves something but do not always live up to the ideals. Be it a religion or a social movement, not everyone walks the walk when they talk the talk[/quote]
[/quote]
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Post by Robjection on Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:55 pm

Mel wrote:But virgin-shaming is not a stated tenant of sex positivity and indeed I think you could reasonably say that anyone who claims to be sex positive but shames others for their (lack of) sexual behavior is proving that they are not, in fact, sex positive at all, just like you could tell someone who claims to be a feminist but slut-shames women that they're not acting like a feminist.
I gotta admit, with what sex positivity actually is, I feel like a better term for it would've been sex neutrality.
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Post by WJMorris3 on Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:48 pm

I hear it from my friends too. Although it's funny, at one point it was "How do you expect to eventually get married if you won't have sex?" and now it's they have no problem telling any female whom I seem remotely interested in that I am not worth having a relationship with. I mean, they're my friends, and I know they're only doing it because they don't want to see me get hurt, but still...

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Virgin-Shaming - Page 2 Empty Re: Virgin-Shaming

Post by Robjection on Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:02 pm

WJMorris3 wrote:I hear it from my friends too. Although it's funny, at one point it was "How do you expect to eventually get married if you won't have sex?" and now it's they have no problem telling any female whom I seem remotely interested in that I am not worth having a relationship with. I mean, they're my friends, and I know they're only doing it because they don't want to see me get hurt, but still...
Hang on, do these friends of yours have conclusive evidence that all the women you seem remotely interested in want sex with their relationships? If not, then something seems fishy about this.
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Post by nonA on Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:16 pm

reboot wrote:Also cosign on the idea that people call themselves something but do not always live up to the ideals. Be it a religion or a social movement, not everyone walks the walk when they talk the talk

I just want to clear up my statement from earlier, and then drop it. In short, I agree with what you just said;

-The more high-minded an ideal, the more likely it is to attract hypocrites and other unsavory sorts.

-The more high-minded the ideal, the easier it is to use as a shield or a clumsy justification for utter batshit. This is a factor in the last point.

-Whether we define groups by their ideals or by the behavior of people claiming membership is a whole 'nother discussion. Since it's one that tends to get very heated, I'd rather not derail an existing topic to discuss it.

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Post by WJMorris3 on Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:59 pm

Robjection wrote:
WJMorris3 wrote:I hear it from my friends too. Although it's funny, at one point it was "How do you expect to eventually get married if you won't have sex?" and now it's they have no problem telling any female whom I seem remotely interested in that I am not worth having a relationship with. I mean, they're my friends, and I know they're only doing it because they don't want to see me get hurt, but still...
Hang on, do these friends of yours have conclusive evidence that all the women you seem remotely interested in want sex with their relationships? If not, then something seems fishy about this.
Unsure if they do but why would a group of people, most of which are either married or about to be married, have any interest in trying to keep one of their own single? It doesn't make any sense to me either.

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Post by Kaz on Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:07 am

reboot wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:
Glides wrote:This is a bit off-topic, but do you think asexuals receive a particular kind of shaming as opposed to people who are "forever alone" or involuntarily celibate? Do you see any differences?

Beats me. That one I manage to avoid bringing up with people I don't trust to understand (or at least make an effort), so any misunderstandings with those types tend to be more that they assume I'm making a choice (which would be respectable) rather than that I'm deficient in some way.

I have seen people bash asexuals for being "unnatural", " damaged", or calling them lairs about it not being a choice (because sex has something to do with evolution and thus asexuality can not be natural or something??) in some ugly corners of the internet that I accidenally link followed into.

In my experience, the shit you get as an asexual is actually often pretty different from what people are talking about here and I waffled a bit re: responding to the thread for a bit because of it. You get concern trolling of various stripes ("have you had your hormones checked?" "are you sure you're not gay and repressing?" "maybe you're just scared of men", "were you abused as a child?", "maybe you're just a late bloomer", "how can you say you don't like it if you haven't tried it?", "well clearly the sex you have had was just bad sex"), accusations of lying because you just want to be special (or you're ugly and can't get laid - bit of an overlap with the usual anti-virgin stuff), if you're unlucky threats of corrective rape... the overall feeling I get is that there's a frightening amount of people out there who consider having/pursuing sex a vital part of their lives to the point where they cannot imagine someone happily living without it, so while saying you're a virgin but still want to have sex may get you mixed pity and derision, saying you're asexual and happy that way amounts to an attack on their worldview and they defend by explaining things away so that you're still "really" allosexual. Not fun. (Mark Carrigan has actually done some research on this, I believe.)

I'm pretty sure this varies pretty heavily by gender, mind you. I get the shit ace women get and although there are some scary, scary reactions out there (some men seem to take the idea of a woman going "nope, removing myself from this whole [heterosexual] sex thing entirely" as an insult and provocation), you don't run into the issues with wanting sex/pursuing sex being seen as a compulsory part of masculinity that ace men can face.

Re: the current sex-pos discussion, I'll say that I have had pretty bad experiences being ace in sex-pos spaces to the point where I have stopped calling myself sex-positive entirely because although I support the ideals, I can't call myself part of the movement anymore. This sort of thing actually gets talked about a lot in the ace community IME - why do so many sex-pos people react so badly to us and how can we deal with it, should we be trying to change the movement for the best for the inside or abandon ship entirely, how can we tell the supportive sex-pos allies (because some sex-pos people are awesome about asexuality!) from the ones who'll attack us - I can dig up links on this if people are interested. Anyway, I think it is fair to call that out specifically, because sex-positivity is a movement whose core aim is meant to be ending judgement around sex and allowing consenting adults to have whatever sex they want in whatever form it takes without needing to fear shame and backlash from their surroundings but who seriously let down a portion of that. And that means that if you're being shamed for being a virgin and/or ace, you just don't have the sex-positive community to turn to for support in the way someone being slut-shamed does and you don't have the sex-positive community working on your behalf to end that sort of reaction even though their "mission statement" says they should be. I think the comparison to LGBT communities being transphobic is pretty apt - I absolutely consider transphobia coming from an LGBT activist to be worse than from someone else because they're contributing to making a group that is theoretically there to support and help trans* people not in actuality a safe place for trans* people.

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Post by SadisticToaster on Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:24 am

BiSian wrote:
So what about you NerdLovers?
Have you been virgin-shamed? In what context?
Did it hurt you or did you shrug it off?

Not quite virgin shamed, but inexperienced shamed. The first woman I kissed spent some time afterwards telling my friends and her's how bad I was, and how an 18 year old should be able to kiss ( I thought I'd done rather well myself. Does kind of wind me up when people say "it just comes naturally" when for some of us it really doesn't )

Luckily , my friends - beng actual friends - didn't give me a hard time, but - it being a small town - I did wonder if a reputation for being rubbish was one of the reasons women had no interest in me.

Kaz wrote: I absolutely consider transphobia coming from an LGBT activist to be worse than from someone else because they're contributing to making a group that is theoretically there to support and help trans* people not in actuality a safe place for trans* people.

I find it baffling when someone who's been bullied for the way that they were born then turns around and does the same to someone else. It's like "Seriously? You've been on the receiving end of this and know it feels bad - so how can you do it to others?"

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Post by The Wisp on Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:19 pm

Kaz wrote:
In my experience, the shit you get as an asexual is actually often pretty different from what people are talking about here and I waffled a bit re: responding to the thread for a bit because of it. You get concern trolling of various stripes ("have you had your hormones checked?" "are you sure you're not gay and repressing?" "maybe you're just scared of men", "were you abused as a child?", "maybe you're just a late bloomer", "how can you say you don't like it if you haven't tried it?", "well clearly the sex you have had was just bad sex"), accusations of lying because you just want to be special (or you're ugly and can't get laid - bit of an overlap with the usual anti-virgin stuff), if you're unlucky threats of corrective rape... the overall feeling I get is that there's a frightening amount of people out there who consider having/pursuing sex a vital part of their lives to the point where they cannot imagine someone happily living without it, so while saying you're a virgin but still want to have sex may get you mixed pity and derision, saying you're asexual and happy that way amounts to an attack on their worldview and they defend by explaining things away so that you're still "really" allosexual. Not fun. (Mark Carrigan has actually done some research on this, I believe.)

Armchair theorizing time: we still live in a sex-negative culture that implicitly judges people for having sex. The most common counter argument against this sex-negativity is something along the lines of "sexuality is natural" (and, implicitly, universal). When people find out that some can be happy without sex, that triggers deep shame about their own sexuality, so they lash out. I know I felt really shitty about myself when I first discovered that asexuals existed when I was a teen.
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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:24 am

Hey, here's a question that I'd genuinely like input on.

I've definitely said things like, "Given your behavior, I'm not surprised no one wants to [have sex with you | be in a relationship with you | be your friend]," depending on what the person in question seems to be trying to accomplish. Does that always come across as virgin-shaming? Because I'm not trying to imply that virginity is shameful, but rather that some sorts of shitty behavior make it a lot less likely that anyone would want to do anything relational / interactive with you, including sex. If it comes off as shitty, how can I make that point in a better way?

For those who don't know me, I have a somewhat non-mainstream approach to this. For all the problems with the culture I grew up in, male virginity and female virginity were both treated as deeply honorable and admirable (albeit the only honorable thing to do until marriage). That's why I recognize that my instincts may be off.
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Post by BasedBuzzed on Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Make it clear you're addressing behaviour, and that you don't consider it inherent to the person, I'd say. If they can't handle that, chances are they were going to interpret all criticism as insults anyway is going to rise.

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Post by Lemminkainen on Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:55 pm

I don't think that that counts as virgin-shaming so long as it's clear that you're talking about behavior, but it will likely come off as disingenuous to a lot of your readers-- since, as domestic violence statistics show, a lot of people of both sexes who act in comprehensively horrible ways have little or no trouble finding relationships.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:05 pm

kleenestar wrote:Hey, here's a question that I'd genuinely like input on.

I've definitely said things like, "Given your behavior, I'm not surprised no one wants to [have sex with you | be in a relationship with you | be your friend]," depending on what the person in question seems to be trying to accomplish. Does that always come across as virgin-shaming?

If you said that around me somewhere, yes, it would probably come across that way.

People make the converse error often enough when speaking that, absent an explicit agreement that everyone is nitpicking the logical/mathematical sense of their words, I tend to at least question whether people didn't mean to imply the converse of what they say. From there, it's hard to not see such a comment as a backhanded insult and a value-judgment.

You mean to say that shitty behavior may be a reason that person is alone, but it always (unavoidably?) sounds like you are saying it is the reason. So then what reasons must you (hypothetical or not-so-hypothetical speaker) assume to be the cause of my bandersnatchery?

kleenestar wrote:Because I'm not trying to imply that virginity is shameful, but rather that some sorts of shitty behavior make it a lot less likely that anyone would want to do anything relational / interactive with you, including sex. If it comes off as shitty, how can I make that point in a better way?

I guess what bothers me even after seeing your explanation is that I don't think this is really a point that needs to be made, even if it could be presented in non-shitty ways. I'm opposed to shitty behavior regardless of whether there are direct consequences for the person who is behaving that way.

I think this may also be where observations like "assholes get laid" tend to come in. (Oh, Lemminkainen beat me to it. Razz) Though few in comparison to the number of people I've interacted with, every single person I would sincerely describe as a career bully (male or female) has had a happy relationship, if not (yet) marriage. A couple of those people weren't even necessarily subtle or dishonest about their shitty behavior. If the ability to attract a partner/companion is in any way a measure of a person's overall worth, then I must be worse than they are, which is a notion I'm somewhat resistant to.

ETA: Plus this stacks with internal voices that already say more or less the same thing. "If someone doesn't want to date me, it must be because they don't like me, which means there's something to dislike about me. Two hundred people can't be wrong...."
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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:24 pm

Okay, this is helpful. So let me clarify some things about the context where I would say this, and then you can tell me whether the issues you've raised still apply.

I would say this to a person whose behavior is directly counterproductive to the thing they claim they want. I wouldn't say this about generic shittiness - though I do often ask people to think about what kind of human being would be willing to be in a relationship with them - but rather about shooting-in-the-foot behavior specific to a goal they have set, which might include "having sex" (but could also be other things). To be totally blunt, I also only use this argument with people who've demonstrated that the only arguments they're willing to accept for modifying their behavior are their personal profit. Even if I can't make them care about others in the abstract, maybe I can get them to do less harm with their behavior by showing that it hurts them personally.

Maybe the piece I'm missing is that I don't actually think the ability to attract a partner is a measure of a person's worth. If you've attracted a partner who is not a shitty, horrible human being, then that's some evidence that you're not one yourself, because they know you better than I can - but that's just one piece of evidence, and it applies just the same to friends, and it also certainly isn't anything more than evidence of how you behave when I can't see you. So maybe you're right and there's no way for me to say this, even in the context I've laid out above, without tapping into the "partner = worth" narrative even if a partner is just one possible piece of evidence to me.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:44 pm

kleenestar wrote:Okay, this is helpful. So let me clarify some things about the context where I would say this, and then you can tell me whether the issues you've raised still apply.

I would say this to a person whose behavior is directly counterproductive to the thing they claim they want. I wouldn't say this about generic shittiness - though I do often ask people to think about what kind of human being would be willing to be in a relationship with them - but rather about shooting-in-the-foot behavior specific to a goal they have set, which might include "having sex" (but could also be other things). To be totally blunt, I also only use this argument with people who've demonstrated that the only arguments they're willing to accept for modifying their behavior are their personal profit. Even if I can't make them care about others in the abstract, maybe I can get them to do less harm with their behavior by showing that it hurts them personally.

Oh, huh. Yeah, all that together actually sounds fine to me.

kleenestar wrote:Maybe the piece I'm missing is that I don't actually think the ability to attract a partner is a measure of a person's worth. If you've attracted a partner who is not a shitty, horrible human being, then that's some evidence that you're not one yourself, because they know you better than I can - but that's just one piece of evidence, and it applies just the same to friends, and it also certainly isn't anything more than evidence of how you behave when I can't see you. So maybe you're right and there's no way for me to say this, even in the context I've laid out above, without tapping into the "partner = worth" narrative even if a partner is just one possible piece of evidence to me.

The "partner = worth" narrative is a pretty big piece of the cultural environment I'm stuck in (and in this case I doubt I'm a rarity), so it might sometimes be tricky to set yourself apart from it even though you know you don't mean it that way. But it sounds like you're careful and sensitive to context, so I think you're all right. Wink
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Post by kleenestar on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:06 pm

Yeah, I grew up with a deep sense of "partner = END OF EVERYTHING" which I think kind of overrode the larger cultural message of "partner = worth." Razz

Sorry, I did think of one other time I'd say "I'm not surprised you're having trouble finding a sexual partner," which is if someone wants something extremely specific and hard to find, and is unwilling to make compromises. But I suspect that saying it in a logistical sense is less hurtful ... yes?

ETA: I also just want to say out loud, in case it helps - I like you a lot and I think you are a pretty damn cool person.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:44 pm

Loopy

That felt really good to read. Thank you. :3

Um, I think that logistical phrasing is pretty benign, yeah. It gives the subject...agency, maybe? Removes the whole "no wonder nobody likes you" angle. Then again, I haven't been bombarded by mean cultural messages telling me I'm too picky (or too picky for my "league" or something). So maybe there's potential for collateral damage that I wouldn't immediately recognize?

Eh, at some point it probably becomes my own responsibility to filter out those kinds of things anyway, and not read so much into what some people say about other people. I doubt I can keep everything out, but there's probably a more ethical/rational/appropriate goal I can try for.
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