Virginity used to be a big deal. Way back before electricity, when women were deemed property and traded for land and cattle, a virgin was extremely valuable. Virginity was considered to be the mark of a superior woman. People who were not virgins were considered to be inferior, and they were used accordingly. Women who, usually through no fault of their own, were not virgins, were considered used goods, to be tossed aside or viewed as "less than". They were considered to be "fallen" women.
Women. Not the men. If a guy loses his virginity, he is applauded, as if he had won a prize. He gets a pat on the back from society, while the girl is treated like a used hanky. There's a distinct double standard here that hasn't ever really gone away, no matter how far women's rights have advanced. This chaps my backside.
There are all these father-daughter virginity clubs popping up everywhere these days. The girls in these clubs promise to remain chaste until they marry. It's all over the news, and it's a bit creepy, but people seem okay with it. However, I have yet to see any of these chastity clubs requesting male members. What message does that send? Why is it only the girl's job to keep her legs closed? It takes two to tango, they say--even it's offered, a person can still say no.
The double standards need to go.
Let's stop making virginity such a big deal for teenagers. Let's stop associating virginity with being "good", and all those awful implications. Instead, let's explain the facts of life clearly, from a medical perspective, and then be available to answer questions as needed. There's no need to try to insert those certain values about good and bad into sex education. Knowing what sex is doesn't mean that your teenager is in any hurry to go out and have sex. Show a little trust--most teens have other things on their minds, contrary to the media.
If your daughter or son admits to having sex before they are ready, be supportive. Don't judge. That's not what kids in that position need. Things happen, and teenagers are not likely to think about consequences until afterwards. It will be difficult for me, if it happens to my son, this not judging thing. I would rather he wait until he is mature enough to handle sex and all that it entails, so I may yell at him a little. But I won't love him any less because he is no longer a virgin, and I won't heap on any guilt over it. That would not change if my child happened to be a girl.
That is the way it should be.