’Jane the Virgin’s’ Take On Adult Female Virginity Was Revolutionary


Photo Courtesy/Flickr Commons/Mabel Masangkay

Jane the Virgin challenges stereotypes and stigmas surrounding female sexualty

Destinee Scott, Staff Writer

TV shows and movies like “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and the most recent season of “The Bachelor” that have made adult virgins a punchline, can’t touch the revolutionary CW series “Jane the Virgin.”

Although the average age that Americans have sex for the first time is 17, women in their twenties and who have never had sex are actually more common than you would think, according to a Center for Disease Control (CDC) report conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the Fertility, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S.  

Another CDC report showed that 12.3 percent of straight women between 20 and 24 years old and 3.4 percent of straight women between 25 to 29-years-old have had zero sexual partners.

New research suggests that twenty-something year-old virgins are becoming more common. A 2018 study conducted by the University College London as part their “Next Steps” project found that out of 16,000 millennials, almost 13 percent of 26-year-olds have never had sex, yet movies and TV shows have continued to portray adult virginity as something uncommon when in fact, it isn’t.

But “Jane the Virgin,” which aired back in October 2014, has not only shed light on adult female virginity in a fresh and real way from the very first episode, but it has also upended stereotypes surrounding adult virginity and has given a voice to virgin characters in popular culture.This is seen in the pilot episode, which flashes back to the origin of Jane’s virginity — when she was 13 and her Catholic grandmother told her she needed to wait to have sex until marriage.

As you get to know her character and she becomes accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine Pap smear, Jane’s virginity is the least interesting thing about her, whereas other shows make twenty-something year-old women’s virginity a character trait, like the HBO show, “Girls,” where the character Shoshanna’s storyline centers around her virginity as a problem to overcome.

One love interest even tells Shoshanna he won’t have sex with her because she’s a virgin — despite being only 20 an age at which almost a quarter of American women are virgins.

While Jane’s virginity is brought up frequently throughout the show, it was never the center of it all  — and neither was her virginity loss.

In most shows, virginity loss is often saved for a special episode or season-finale moment, but Jane’s first time having sex happened on the third episode of season 3.

She loses her virginity after getting married, just as she intended to, and the sex scene stayed true to the show’s combination of relatability and telenovela-inspired drama — no gimmicks, just an awkward first-time involving a faked orgasm and an accidental sex tape sent to her college advisor.

Now, as the show begins its fifth season, it continues to treat Jane’s sex life with the same nuance that it did to both her virginity and her virginity loss.

Portraying adult characters on screen who are also virgins should always be as easy as it was for the creators of Jane the Virgin. And as the show leaves our TV screens, other shows and movies need to take notes and get in on it.