Trouble with virginity

It was probably just coincidence that I saw this article about mass marriages and accompanying forced virginity tests in India and this article on the scandalous atrocity of faking virginity in Egypt on the same day (thanks delphicoracle).

Of course it’s not just exotic countries where there’s such a stress on virginity before wedlock; there’s the concept of virginity pledges in the US as well.

Made me wonder whether there are actually non religious folk who focus on virginity like that, so I googled it, and got an answer on yahoo answers. There probably are better answers, but at least it was funny, while the whole virginity cultus is not.

8 thoughts on “Trouble with virginity

  1. Have you read The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women? I’ve been meaning too. Am also puzzled by the fuss. Recall last year’s scandal of the young woman auctioning off her virginity.

  2. Sam, I haven’t read it, but as far as I know, the obsession with virginity does nothing but damage anywhere. This is not to say that it’s not fine if you choose not to have sex until whatever for some reason or other, but as far as I am concerned, whether someone has sex or not is solely his or her own business and that of his or her consenting partner.
    Advertising virginity with a special ring, as is apparently in vogue amongst those american girls that pledge to stay a virgin, draws unwanted attention to their sexuality, I believe; exactly what they seek to steer clear of.
    I also never understood the connection between purity and virginity, what’s so unpure about making love?
    And of course, it’s all about the virginity of women.

  3. One thing I’ve found interesting about the virginity ring thing is that so many of the quotes you get from them are along the lines of “I want to stay pure until I’m married.” The implicature being that once they’re married it’ll still be impure to have sex, but that it’ll be okay. Their statements are revealing that it’s not even pre-marital sex that they’re seeing as impure, it’s simply sex simpliciter – it’s just that they think the impurity is somehow mitigated by being married. So while they might claim to think that sex is sacred and that remaining a virgin until marriage is respecting that sacredness, other things they say reveals another attitude to sex altogether lurking beneath the surface. Unsurprisingly.

  4. The virginity pledge is so harmful to young people. It causes them to view sex in extremes instead of learning that everything should be viewed with moderation. Also it leads to impulsive young marriages instead of young people benefitting from long-term non-marriage relationships where they learn so much in preparation for marriage.

  5. I saw a documentary on this stuff, which featured a young couple about to get married. They were clearly quite freaked out that now they were supposed to do this filthy disgusting unclean awful thing to someone they loved.

  6. Made me wonder whether there are actually non religious folk who focus on virginity like that

    My mother–37-year-old virgin when she got married, and a solid atheist. She regarded sex as “damaging” to women. She called losing one’s virginity, euphemistically, “permanent damage.” I don’t know if this was some kind of Victorianism or whether it had something to do with her classics degree–you do I think find something like this attitude in Greek mythology: Artemis and her votaries.

    I’m not sure I think that the virginity thing is that bad. As soon as we got to college we were desperate to lose our virginity as soon as possible–to grow up and prove that we weren’t so ugly that no one would sleep with us. After that there was competitive gun-notching. Is this really so great or women?

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