Dear Madame Lestrange,
Is it alright to masturbate if I am a virgin?
Contrary to superstition, there is nothing wrong with masturbating when you are a virgin. In fact, it is an important part of understanding your own desires and feeling comfortable with your body before diving into bed with a partner. Masturbation is important and healthy and can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of their sexual history.
The best way to understand this is by first confronting how we perceive virginity in the first place. Virginity is a cultural concept, meaning that it is an idea that enforces a kind of normative femininity; the idea that a women’s sexuality is only valuable if it is “untouched,” “chaste,” or “pure.” Girls are taught from a very young age to value themselves based on how long they have kept their virginity; if you “lose it” too early you’re a slut, if you “lose it” too late you’re a prude. The reality is that we are in charge of how we manage our own bodies and no one, not even a religious authority, parents and guardians, or teachers, can tell us otherwise. When you throw out the whole concept of virginity you gain back your bodily agency.
Furthermore, virginity is also based on heteronormative ideals like the belief that virginity can only be broken by a penis entering a vagina. This is obviously not true for a number of reasons. Are lesbians virgins for their entire lives if they have never had sex with a man? The answer is no, of course not.
This brings us back to the question of masturbating as a “virgin.” If you’re worried about keeping your hymen intact, don’t worry! Everyone has a different hymen, some are small, big, some block the vaginal canal, and some are completely absent. The concept of breaking your hymen, and therefore your virginity, does not exist for everyone.
Alternatively, if you’re worried about whether masturbating affects the right to call yourself a virgin; it doesn’t. Again, virginity is a cultural concept, so you get to make the ultimate decision about how you choose to use and define your own body.
Don’t feel guilty about masturbating. It’s natural, normal, and a lot of fun. Go forth and enjoy!
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