Last year Tony Abbot declared that women’s virginity was a ‘precious gift.’ This wording, coming from Mr red Speedos “Stop The Scrote” himself was enough to have us stewing in our juices and spewing in our mouths. There were several things shady about it; one was the commodification of women’s bodies and the other was the sexist omittance of male virginity from the equation. Surely it’s time society took a spoonful of Equal when it comes to male virginity. Is it worth anything to anyone? Here’s a joke: Women’s virginity ‘the gift’ comes in a white box with a red ribbon, you open it carefully and inside you find a Faberge Egg. It’s handcrafted, delicate and something you’ll cherish for the rest of your life. Men’s virginity ‘the gift’ comes in a plastic bag and inside you find a Cadbury cream egg. It’ll last you about a minute and you’ll feel sick afterwards.

As opposed to being a prize, male virginity is usually seen as an affliction – something a boy should lose as soon as possible so he can get on with becoming a stud. If he holds onto it for too long then he becomes dorky and weird, like the 40 Year Old Virgin. A girl on the other hand should cherish hers for as long as possible to remain pure. So, who are guys supposed to be losing their virginity to? Their hands? A Natalie Portman beanbag? These double standards are hopelessly out of date; surely it’s time views were refreshed and boys were coaxed into the conversation.

I was 17 when I found my non-virginity. Thankfully, it was with someone I loved. After one too many sessions of dry humping, under the full moon of rampaging hormones I wrote a letter to my girlfriend suggesting we go all the way…to Hobart. We planned the trip south to see Silverchair and stay overnight in a hotel. I even asked her father’s permission to go. I was Christian at the time but happy to bend my own rules. It was thoughtfully planned and full of mutual respect and tenderness – valuable qualities to carry into intimacy.

The language around virginity has always been blatantly patriarchal. Even the word vagina has shifty origins – taken from the latin term meaning “sheath for a sword.” Woman is conquered by the man who claims her virginity as a trophy. This construct is archaic and spaz. The First Time is just as intimidating for both sexes. I know it scared the shit out of me.

Here’s an idea for a sex education class: Tactfully explain to boys how temperamental the penis is, and the irony of getting 101 unwanted erections on the bus, but not one when faced with your gorgeous girlfriend naked in a bed. Not to mention the rubber chicken tango with the condom and mental fire fight to stop yourself from coming. My first time was like showering in a raincoat while trying to assemble Ikea furniture. I suffered months of angst over my lack of control and developed a big ol’ man-failure complex (and an appreciation of Radiohead.)

The myth of a girl preferring a boy more sexually experienced and in control wasn’t the case with myself or those in my friendship group. It was a plunge taken together, hand-in-hand with our partners. I understand this isn’t always the case, and sex is sometimes entered into under dodgy conditions. The first impression is so vital, and botching it up can create all kinds of negative cycles. Surely the value of a boys V-Plates is in the education he receives on both the physical and emotional ramifications of sex and the responsibilities he must face. Most of this can be found in American Pie 3. Maybe one day Julia Gillard can tell men their virginity is a precious gift. After all, the combo of politicians and sex is the greatest contraceptive of all.