Sex and The Crescent City: Kavanaugh’s Claim of Inherent Innocence

Like many young people scared of the future of our country, I was glued to CNN over the past few weeks, watching as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and (Honorable?) Brett Kavanaugh testified in front of the senate judiciary committee regarding a sexual assault from 36 years ago.

The Monday before this hearing, Brett Kavanaugh and his wife were interviewed by Fox News correspondent Martha MacCullum. In the interview, Kavanaugh stated: “I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter.”

I found this to be really offensive to virgins everywhere.

Despite my habit of getting into (usually combative) political discussions with every guy I meet, I am not a virgin, but I know a few. Some of them are even my friends.

We have a gross fascination in our culture surrounding the purity of young girls (the virgin bride dressed in white) and a particular hatred for sexual deviance (premarital sex, non-monogamous relationships). In cultural examples like “American Beauty,” the young girl is tempting; a virgin, yet still sexually promiscuous. Young virgin men—are there any movies that that highlight a guy’s purity?—are seen as not-yet-men; they’re innocent and goofy.

The rules are as follows: wait to have sex as a girl (but not too long) and you’re (maybe) not a slut. Wait to have sex as a guy and you’re pathetic (and gay, probably). Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think that’s a fair standard.

Losing your virginity usually means penis in vagina s-e-x, which does not apply to all sexual orientations. It also doesn’t apply to other sexual acts that are just as intimate (and, without consent, can be just as violating) as the penis in vagina stuff. My virgin friends are no less capable of evil than my non-virgin friends. Scripture aside, being a virgin says nothing of your moral compass. You’re not a sinner if you have a lot of sex and virgins are not inherently innocent.

For Kavanaugh to use his supposed virginity as a defense in the middle of all this is quite comical. The first time I was sexually assaulted (by a distant family friend) I was a virgin and so was he. The older boys on the vacation wouldn’t let him forget this fact.

You can have had sex with thousands of people and assaulted none of them. You can also be a virgin who sexually assaults someone. Your sexual history does not define you—for better, or for worse.

Resources for reporting sexual violence at Tulane can be found here.

COVER PHOTO: Carolyn Ellis

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