Are you a holiday virgin? My family came to visit for the holidays and my 20-year-old cousin informed me that she is a holiday virgin. I admit I had no idea what a holiday virgin was. My younger cousin put me up on game and told me a holiday virgin is someone who has not yet experienced being kissed on various holidays such as New Years, Valentine’s Day and under the mistletoe on Christmas. You can also earn the label of holiday virgin if you’ve never had a Valentine to share the day with or never had a special someone take you out to see the Christmas lights. I have mixed feelings about the concept of a “holiday virgin”. On one hand it’s sad and self-shaming. On the other hand it may be sex positive and empowering.
Having never heard the expression, I wanted to know more about it to more accurately form my opinion. Apparently “holiday virgin” was added to Urban Dictionary in 2011 by a tumblr user. Additionally, several tumblr sites pop up during a google search for the phrase. Many tumblr users who use this phrase seem to use it similarly to the way my cousin used it. Others use it as a checklist of sorts; posting an image similar to image 1 and crossing off their holiday debuts – if you will – as they happen.
The sexologist in me sees things a little more complicated. On one hand, while I get that the phrase “holiday virgin” is supposed to be fun, the negative undertone is neither fun nor sexy to me. I say this because the way in which my cousin said she was a holiday virgin didn’t leave me with a happy feeling in my gut – and not only because my cousin is a gorgeous, chocolate, young woman with a body that’d make Barbie mad. Tumblr posts supported my intuition that there are negative connotations and feelings associated with being a holiday virgin. It makes me wonder if the young people who use it may be feeling some type of way about having “lost” their “virginity”.
It amazes me in the worst way to know even in today’s society young people have so much internal shame of having sexual desire and expressing sexual agency to the point that even consensual safer sex experiences are not okay. As a result, young people are now making up ridiculous phrases like being holiday virgins. In other words, the self-shame of losing virginity is still so strong that young people seriously believe they can hold on to even a portion of the title of being a “virgin” by adding the word “holiday” in front of it. As if this new label somehow reclaims a little of the “virginity” they so-called lost. This is part of the reason the phrase “losing one’s virginity” is problematic.
On the other hand, it is not lost on me that the phrase “holiday virgin” is also being used similarly to how I use “sexual debuts” to describe different and varied first sexual experiences! When looking at the phrase through this lens it seems like a fun, descriptive label with sarcastic undertones. This is more in line with my sex positive perspective.
Speaking of sex positive – the idea of having a way to proudly distinguish your long-term, single and/or abstinent status during the holidays sounds rather cool and a little empowering even – just think of something else to call it. The word “virgin” is so loaded and is exclusive of non-penis-vagina sex. That’s all I’ll say on that since I’ve spoken to this in the Sexy Saturdays article, The First Time. I suggest using holiday debut. Best of luck with your next or initial holiday debut! Until next Saturday…
Keep it safe and sexy,
Ms. Robin, the Sex Goddess
Have a topic or question you’d like me to address in a future Sexy Saturdays article? Send it to me at RMills@sexucation.org.