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Can virginity be lost online?

2009 April 8
by Hlin

I just finished talking to my friend Jason on MSN messenger.   I met him a couple of years ago in an MMO.  Both of us have moved on to other online communities, but we still talk nearly everyday.  Anyway, he shared an interesting experience with me that reminded me of today’s discussion, which he gave me permission to write about with the condition that I give him a fake name.

In October, he hit it off with a girl on a forum-based RPG.  Apparently they had a lot of things in common, and talked on the phone a few times.  About a week after they met online, they decided to have cybersex.  They’d both agreed that whatever happened online would stay online, and that having sexual relations through instant messenger was not the same as having actual sex.  After it happened, he went back to just being friends with her, but she started behaving as if they were in a long-distance relationship.  This made him uncomfortable, and he started avoiding her.  Pretty soon, they were fighting more often than not.  Eventually, they stopped talking altogether.

Well, yesterday he heard from her for the first time in months.  They had a long conversation about what had happened between them, and as it turns out, she believed that Jason had taken her virginity and as a result, expected a greater level of emotional attachment from him.  The specifics of what he told me, I found very interesting: she had never had sexual relations in real life, and he was not the first person she had cybered with.  But according to her, he was the first person she had “gotten off” with while cybering, and thus the first person she ever shared an orgasm with.  While Jason was talking to me, I got the sense that he was pretty bewildered – and honestly, I don’t blame him.  I would be too, if I realized I’d taken someone’s virginity without leaving my computer.

Before we had this conversation, it had never even occured to me that something like that was possible.  In fact, my first thought was that it was all a bunch of BS, and that she was just trying to lay a guilt-trip on him.  I’m still not entirely convinced that she wasn’t.  But then I thought back to today’s discussion, and how it’s so difficult to draw that line sometimes between reality and virtual reality.  Maybe they just happen to draw that line in different places.

But, I think I’ll throw this question out there to anyone who stumbles across this post.  Is it possible to lose your virginity online?

4 Responses
  1. George permalink
    April 9, 2009

    Wow… I’ve never heard anything like that before.
    But when Jessica Valenti came to campus a few weeks ago she pointed out that there is no medical/ scientific definition for virginity. Something that we as a society put so much emphasis into and we don’t even really have a way of defining it.

    What’s funny is that I’ve heard your question in the form of, “How do lesbians lose their virginity?” For example, Ariel Schrag’s character in her graphic novel/ memoir/ autobiography titled Potential couldn’t believe that she was not a virgin even though she clearly had relations with her girlfriend Sally. In chapter four (which can be seen, read by Schrag herself in a series of videos, on this link: she and her girlfriend agree to sleep with their male friends so that they lose their virginity and get back together after that.

    I guess what we have to keep in mind is that virginity is anything you want it to be. Personally, for me, it doesn’t exist.

  2. The Doctor permalink
    April 9, 2009

    For me it’s really simple. Sex requires two people to be, y’know, in physical contact with each other, and losing your virginity means having sex for the first time. Since the internet is virtual and the only reason you’re getting off is because of your own devices, you’re… not losing your virginity or having sex when you’re cybering. Unless we want to redefine masturbation as sex, which makes absolutely no sense.

  3. Baibh Cathba permalink
    April 11, 2009

    Well, the original definition of virginity was the fact that the hymen was in place. Even further back than that was the concept of chastity… which was actually what they said about The Virgin Mary in the original texts. To lose chastity was to imply that one lost their purity.

    In terms of virginity, I think that under the terms set forth by the M-W dictionary online and in the Princeton Wiki virginity is the lack of sexual experience: the state of remaining pure. As such, the definition of virginity relies heavily upon the definition of sex. (Also, since these terms rely so heavily upon sex and sexuality, I think that an in-depth definition of virginity is missing.)

    This site, Losing IT, brings up some important points that George mentioned in the comment above.

    In response to The Doctor, the question of masturbation is debatable. If there is no penetration of the hymen, technically still a virgin. (Note: see how all this virgin talk is in relation to WOMEN?) So, use of a vibrator in masturbation could conceivably be a loss of virginity. In the above post by Hlin there is a definition of virginity that relates to reaching orgasm. All this blather basically amounts to the idea that the concept of virginity is subject to the point of view of the observer of the question.

    Also, as a Catholic, I have to bring up the “Second Virginity” that is available to teenagers. Some teens who have made a mistake can regain their spiritual virginity through abstinence and repentance.

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