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Technical Virgin
Captain Cragen: Since when is oral sex not sex?
Olivia Benson: Since Bill Clinton said so.

A "technical virgin" is a person who has never had genital-genital sex but who has engaged in one or more sexually satisfying acts with one or more other people.

Yes, this is Truth in Television. Via Loophole Abuse and Exact Words, people from conservative settings (cultural or familial) can maintain their virginity, while still engaging in "harmless exploration" or sexual bonding, by simply doing everything but penis-in-vagina intercourse. This of course can lead to some Wallbanger-worthy decisions, such as engaging in some unprotected oral or anal sex in an attempt to retain one's purity, even though this still carries a risk of STD transmission. This can be justified in settings where a character needs to retain their Virgin Power, but not really anywhere else, and people who claim to be technical virgins are often looked down upon as ignorant and/or hypocrites, especially if they're prone to judging others.

Note that in many patriarchal societies, both on earth and on paper, a woman who has been raped is "technically not a virgin" and suffers the related disadvantages. Such societies may vary in their stand on whether non-coital incidents which rupture the hymen relieve a woman of technical virginity.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Delatriz Betancourt from the 2009 Dominic Fortune mini:
    Dominic: Last time we were on the verge of getting frisky... you told me you were a virgin.
    Delatriz: And I am... Why do you think God gave me an ass?
  • In the "Brief Lives" arc of The Sandman, one character mentions a cultural religious ceremony involving sex that wasn't considered to affect a woman's virginity— saying something like "if you lost your cherry on the goddess' altar, you still got to keep your cherry" referring the practice of a love goddess's clergy including sacred prostitutes, who would not be considered "spoiled goods" after losing their virginity in service of the goddess. The love goddess and the character who mentions this are one and the same.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Quite a few Lemons involving Celibate Heroines invoke this trope.
  • Brought up in a MSTing where one of the riffers protested that he had every right to be upset because he was being forced to watch a bad Slash Fic in which he was "losing his virginity". The ensuing incredibly awkward silence was broken by another riffer saying "Dude. You have ten kids." First guy protested that he'd meant "in my ... with the ... oh, you know!"
  • Quite a lot of bad yaoi fanfiction makes the dubious claim that "gay virginity" is separate from "straight virginity", and thus it is okay to call a gay guy a virgin if he's only ever had sex with women before, because his gay virginity is intact.
  • In the Neon Genesis Evangelion fanfic The Second Try, Shinji and Asuka lived together for several years after Third Impact, and even had a daughter. Due to Mental Time Travel, they wind up back in their 14-year-old bodies during the events of the series. She even mentions that she wants a better "first time" this time around.

    Film 
  • There is a long discussion in Chasing Amy over what constitutes 'virginity' and whether an active lesbian who has never had intercourse with a man should be considered a 'virgin'.
  • Also from the View Askewniverse, in Clerks, Veronica chastises Dante for having slept with about twelve girls, while she had only been with three guys. However, soon afterwards she reveals she performed oral sex on thirty-seven different guys. Apparently, she considered it just "fooling around".
  • In American Pie, Kevin and Vicky both go down on each other to the point of orgasm (it's a plot point both times), but a huge deal is made about the first time they actually do it.
  • Although they're hardly virgins, this is a line from one of the Band Aids from Almost Famous:
    "We. Are not. Groupies. Penny Lane was the first one to say... "No more Sex." No more exploiting our bodies and our hearts. "
    "Right."
    "Just blow jobs, and that's it."
  • In Mean Girls, Regina says of her boyfriend, who's just broken up with her, "I gave him everything. I was half a virgin when I met him!" Whatever that means.
  • In Clueless, Dionne's virginity "went from technical to non-existent."
  • A deleted line in Saved! has Asian Airhead Veronica pray, "Forgive me for using anal sex to preserve my virginity."
  • In What's New Pussycat?, Paula Prentiss's neurotic character owns up to being a 'semi-virgin', explaining "Here [in Paris] I'm a virgin; in America I'm not" without further elaboration.
  • In The Monster Squad, after Patrick's sister's Virgin Power fails:
    Patrick: You're not a virgin are you?
    Sister: [shakes her head]
    Patrick: "No"? What do you mean, "No"?
    Sister: Well, Steve... but he doesn't count.
    Patrick: DOESN'T COUNT?!?

    Jokes 
  • An old joke concerns three nuns who die in a car crash and are waiting in line for heaven. When they reach St. Peter, he informs the first nun in line that he knows that she has broken her vow of abstinence with her hands, but she can be forgiven if she cleanses her hands in a basin of holy water. The third nun in line whispers to the second, "Can I cut in front of you? I REALLY don't want to gargle that stuff after you've already dipped your ass in it."

    Literature 
  • "The Silken-Swift", a short story by Theodore Sturgeon, portrays a unicorn who is not only silken-swift but also gloriously fair in this regard.
  • In Stephen King's The Stand, Harold Lauder and Nadine Cross are "technical virgins," having done everything but vaginal intercourse. Nadine actually ponders this at one point, wondering at the kind of man (she's promised to the Big Bad) who wouldn't consider oral or anal sex to be defilement. Of course, Flagg only wants an heir.
  • In one of the later The Dresden Files books, Dresden agrees to take Molly Carpenter (who has started developing magic) as an apprentice, and asks if she is sexually active. She replies that she is "technically" a virgin, and has "explored most of the bases" (Harry: "Well, Magellan..."). Dresden tells her that there is to be no more "exploring" (and that she is not to start any "solo expeditions") until she develops better mental discipline.
    • This is partly because Molly tries to clumsily seduce Harry at one point, despite Harry knowing her since she was eight. Harry is no less vulnerable to Squick than the reader.
  • Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse included a woman who both admitted to having bribed a demon with sexual favors and offered herself as a Virgin Sacrifice, with the cultist magically determining that she was qualified for it.
    • The trope is applied a little differently in this case - the demon never took physical form and the sex was a purely mental defilement - and the sacrifice was being fed to a dragon, which only cared about the purely physical.
  • The Older Than Print Trope Maker here is Boccaccio's Decameron, or, more precisely, the very first novella of the book. One of the reasons why Ser Ciappelletto is hailed as a saint after he dies is his reputation of lifelong chastity. In reality, the reason why he never slept with women is... that he was into men.
  • Another old variant, only four lines long: A True Maid.
  • Jerin in A Brother's Price was seduced by a princess. She didn't "mount him", there was Questionable Consent and they did something, but she let him go when he outright said no. Virginity in anyone unwed is important, so he worries about this.
    Certainly if she had let him go when he first asked, he would have fled back to his bed, remaining chaste in his lips, his hands, and his memories. Now only parts of him were virgin. [..] Maybe being a virgin was like planting a garden - you could turn the earth and rake down the soil all you wanted, but until you pushed a seed into the dirt, you hadn't created a garden. Or was being a virgin like a frosted cake, where once someone stole a slice, you couldn't proudly serve it to visitors?
  • Harry Turtledove's short story "Honeymouth": The foul-mouthed and very lecherous mercenary, ironically dubbed Honeymouth, is somehow able to ride a unicorn without any problem. When asked how he can do it, usually while the unicorn is parked outside a brothel, he sarcastically replies that he's a virgin. He is, technically. The nickname "Honeymouth" has nothing to do with scatological verbiage.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Elizabethan series, Princess Elizabeth thinks at one point that should she be forced into an alliance marriage, "human to human she would be a virgin still". (She's sexually active through half the series, but with the elven lord Denoriel.)
  • In Ladylord, tradition requires that people wanting to be Third Lord keep their virginity until then. The two main candidates (both women, since the old lord has no sons) have technically done so, but have different approaches. One, the protagonist, upholds the spirit, avoiding all sex even after she marries. The other is widely (and correctly) rumoured to do just about everything except the thing which would disqualify her.
  • In the Mahabharata, Kunti has a spell that she can use up to 5 times to make one of the gods come to her, and she is still honored as a holy virgin.
    • Similarly, her daughter-in-law Draupadi has 5 husbands and has sex with each of them (and produces a son by each of them), and she too is honored as a holy virgin. (Shiva also lets her know that her virginity is renewed each time she bathes.) In fact, when the Kauravas start Slut Shaming her for having five husbands (and refusing to sleep with Duryodhana in front of his court), the Brahmins in the area refuse to do any work because of her honor being dragged through the mud.
  • Subverted in The Outstretched Shadow. Idalia Tavadon's Mageprice for casting a Wild Magic spell to turn herself into an eagle to escape the Outlaw Hunt was for her to find a mate and raise a clutch of chicks before she would be allowed to resume human form. Later on her brother Kellen thinks that his unicorn friend Shalkan avoids touching her because she's secretly evil, but this sets Idalia and Shalkan into gales of laughter. Idalia explains it's because she's not a virgin, and yes, brother dearest, having sex as an eagle counts.

    Live Action TV 
  • Lissa on Awkward. has taken a vow of chastity but is perfectly willing to give her boyfriend hand jobs and even offer him anal sex.
  • In one episode ("And Then There Was Shawn") of Boy Meets World (as part of a discussion of the Sex Equals Death trope), Shawn reveals that he is one of these, noting "I'll get as sick as you can possibly get without actually dying".
  • Debatable if Annie in Community is one. Based on her only sexual encounter occurring while A) being high on Adderall, B) having never seen her boyfriend's (or any man's) penis, and C) her boyfriend crying throughout the act (Britta theorizes he was gay), leading some fans to (wishfully) think sex never actually occurred.
    Shirley: "Annie, being a virgin in this day and age is something to be proud of. You're like a unicorn!"
  • In Downton Abbey, when Kemal Pamuk "seduces" Mary (with shades of Rape as Drama), he promises her she'll still be a virgin for her husband. God only knows exactly what happens before he keels over and dies in her bed. Averted in that she and everyone else (who knows) treats it as if she were Defiled Forever.
  • Subverted. An episode of the The Drew Carey Show featured a man who claimed to be the devil (and might well have been, judging by his skill at pool) wanting to take Kate for his bride. Except he thinks she'll be a virgin bride. When Drew and his friends reveal Kate is not a virgin, the Devil insists that there's some wiggle room, and whispers a question in Kate's ear.
    Kate: ...yeah, but just once.
    Satan: Oh, you people are sick!
    Lewis: Hey, you wanna find a virgin, get out of Cleveland.
  • Shoshanna on Girls. She manages to get to third base with the guy before killing the moment.
  • Discussed in How I Met Your Mother, in the episode "First Time In New York", where Lily says she only went "halfway" with her high school boyfriend. Some debate sparks over whether or not Lily lost her virginity to Marshall, and they eventually conclude that Lily was a Technical Virgin because it doesn't count as "going to the Empire State Building" if you've only been in the lobby.
  • Each of The Inbetweeners in different ways. Will got Charlotte into bed and only stumbled at the last hurdle when he didn't know what he was doing. Simon received two (unfinished) handjobs in different episodes and was all set to have sex with Tara had it not been for Jay's "Tactical Wank" advice. Jay once received a handjob "outside the trousers" in the first series finale (though this could be Blatant Lies as he originally said it was a blowjob) and a blowjob in The Movie. Neil has fingered several girls (possibly including Charlotte) and by the end of the third series has had sex. Though, thanks to the movie's ending, it's likely that this has been remedied for all four of the lads.
  • An episode of Las Vegas has Mike get interested in a woman who, it turns out, had taken an "adult abstinence pledge". He thinks it over, and decides that he's fine dating her even if they don't have sex. When he goes to visit her, it turns out that she's been "breaking her oath" left and right, but considers herself a virgin every time she re-takes her oath.
  • In one episode of Lexx, a virus causes everyone aboard to change genitalia. The resulting hormone imbalance causes Stan and Xev to yield to temptation. When the Lexx's immune system generates a cure, changing everyone back, Kai (who was not affected, being dead) explains that "technically", because their genitalia were in a state of flux, Xev is still a virgin. But Stan isn't.
  • In Season 4 of Supernatural, Dean, fresh out of Hell, concludes that because all the scars he's accumulated over the years have healed, so, too, has his virginity.
    Dean: I have been re-hymenated!
    • The Season 6 episode "Like a Virgin" involves humanoid Dragons who snatch up virgin girls so they can use one as a Virgin Sacrifice to free Eve, the "Mother of All" monsters, from Purgatory. One of the leads was found in a hospital and not taken away because her standard for what "counts" is a bit different than what the dragons had in mind...
  • Hilary, the daughter on the sitcom The War At Home referred to herself as this in one of the show's fourth-wall segments, adding that villagers probably wouldn't be sacrificing her to any volcanoes.
  • In Season 3 of The Big C, Adam's new Christian girlfriend is saving herself (read: her vagina) for her future husband, but positively gleefully allows him the backdoor entrance.
  • Inverted on Asfour: Katsar has had sex before, but has never reached orgasm, as it’s sinful. He doesn’t understand what the difference is, until Mazal Okhayun gives him a ‘mouth hug’ to show him just what the difference is.
  • Howard from Fresh Meat technically lost his virginity, but the actual method was not standard genital-genital sex (he can only explain using graph paper and a medical encyclopedia). He eventually does have intercourse with his roommate Sabine after she picks him as a substitute fuck-buddy.
    • Upper-Class Twit JP used to engage in mutual masturbation in the showers at his public school, but writes it off as "dorm rules", while his first time was with a prostitute his uncle hired for his 18th.
  • On Misfits, Simon is still considered a virgin his first time with Alisha after having been fellated by Lucy the shapeshifter. Similarly, being fellated by his stepmother does not count toward Finn's tally of sexual partners.
  • On Some Girls, Holli is a justified version. While she's open to sexual experimentation, she refuses to do anything that could result in pregnancy because she doesn't want to become a teen mother like her own.

    Music 
  • "The Loophole" by Garfunkel And Oates is about this, with the memorable lyric "Fuck me in the ass for Jesus."

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, after Roy's ressurection, Celia points out that since the body is brand new, he is technically a virgin. Or, rather, was since she says that after just having had sex with him (a matter of hours after his resurrection), although she's pretty much joking anyway.
  • Jamie of Girls with Slingshots insists that she's a virgin, even though she's "slept with like eight thousand people" (what, precisely, she does instead of coitus isn't specified). These strips detail it.
  • Ginny from Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell is a huge draw down at the off-leash unicorn park. The unicorns make somewhat obscene comments between themselves about exactly how pure she is. For whatever supernatural metric the unicorns use to rate her, being an active lesbian doesn't apparently count.
  • Mentioned in Filthy Lies: "Joseph just needed good aim on his money shot."
  • In Oglaf, neither fellatio nor anal appears to count ("Immaculate City" and "Potion of Girlfriend" respectively). In this case, there's a specific measure— the magical city of Vanorva is invisible and inaccessible except to virgins.
    • The first print collection included, as a bonus, "Ivan and Navaan's 'Doesn't Count' Kama Sutra".
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Elza Sleeps With Everyone But Mifi because of Mifi's Virgin Power—but anything short of penetration (Elza's a hermaphrodite) is fair game.

    Web Original 
  • The now-defunct website TechnicalVirgin.com used to host a series of PSAs spoofing abstinence PSAs by endorsing anal sex and vibrator use to prevent pregnancy. The site was taken down after the woman who appeared in the PSAs, Melanie Martinez, lost her job as a host on PBS Kids Sprout over the videos.

    Western Animation 
  • The Critic:
    Dressmaker: Here's the skinny. We dressmakers have a very strict code, so I need to know, do you deserve to wear virginal white? Because if you don't, you'll have to wear an off-white, what we call a hussy white. So which will it be, WHITE-white?
    Margo: Yes. Um... except for the gloves.
  • The Family Guy episode about religious abstinence makes it clear that sex is not okay. Which some of the more sexual but faithful population solves by sticking the stick into the ear. Yes, the ear.
    Tom Tucker: "Prompting the new slogan: 'Once you go black, you go deaf'"
  • The basic premise of "The Most Offensive Song Ever" from South Park. "You can suck all the dick you want / And still be a virgin, Mary."
  • The Simpsons: In "Lisa's Wedding", Lisa wonders if she should wear white for her wedding as there was Milhouse, before she and Marge agree that Milhouse doesn't count.


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