MASENTLE NTHOLENG

From “deflowering an innocent”, “cutting the cake”, “popping the cherry” and even “cracking your nuts”, losing one’s virginity has inspired universal linguistic creativity.

From picking the place of the event to finding the perfect (button free) outfit for easy access and picking out the right condom brands, the process can be long and scary, especially considering all the stories people hear about sex before going through with it themselves. For some, however, the event can be spontaneous and daring (usually with the help of some alcohol  ). Koos* said that his first time was very adventurous and unexpected, “I was at a braai with some family friends, and my step-mother had brought a friend and her daughter along. All the young people were hanging out together. As it turned out, I was drunk and she was there.”

First-time sex is very daunting for virgins; to guarantee a successful first time, both males and females generally lose their virginities to older and more experienced partners. Koos* confirmed this by saying that guys normally lose their virginities to older girls because they are usually willing to teach, and a guy is less likely to look inexperienced if he is not the one in the driver’s seat. This would be one of the occasions where “missing the target” is much more than just a cute metaphor.

Another trend that is common in the loss of one’s cherry is being deflowered by a person you have not known for a long time or who you are not very attracted to. “It’s easier losing your virginity to someone you are not attached to because you can just sort of forget about it. I think that it is because there is no emotional obligation or attachment, and it is then easier to walk away from the sexual encounter. You can’t really call that a relationship,” Rositta Mbanze, a second-year BA student, said when elaborating about the psychology behind losing your virginity.

Many cultures place immense value on a girl’s virginity, so much so that parents sell their young daughters off to older men for the sake of the girl’s innocence, as a pure girl has a higher value in the marriage and dowry market.

In 2004, a student from the university of Bristol was said to have sold her virginity online for $10 670 (roughly R80 000). This is another way of making your un-popped cherry valuable if your parents do not feel like making good money out of you.

According to the Durex global sex survey people lose their virginities at the average age of 17, and though virginity is not seen as sacred anymore, you still find young people who believe in preserving their virginities– both for religious and value purposes. Lerato* said she was proud of being a virgin, but the thought of her first time scares her. Mpho*, another virgin, said she chose not to have sex because of the many responsibilities such as the possibility of pregnancy and STDs that come with sex. “I feel that one cannot have sex without marriage. Such responsibility cannot be carried in a casual relationship,” she concluded.

Samantha*, who believes sex is supposed to be a spiritual occurrence between two people in a secure relationship, and Mark* both said they believed in waiting for the right person, though it would not necessarily mean marriage.

Though cultures, religions and values differ, we also have a generation of young people that define themselves outside cultural norms. This includes making decisions (though these decisions are sometimes uninformed) about sex and sexuality. Getting your “nuts cracked” or your “cherry popped” should be a cherished and memorable experience, one that you should not regret. Even the 40-year-old virgin could not have said it any better.

*Not their real names

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