Like a Virgin

What’s in a virgin?

[warning]NSFW – Nudity, Violence, Virgin Testing[/warning]

Well traditionally they are the symbol of purity, because in western culture sex was always considered rather more terrible. Well not entirely, ribaldry was well known but people made claims to chastity. It was idealised to the point that women’s behaviours were altered in order to maintain it.

When we discuss a virginity test it basically boils down to “She’s got a hymen or not”. Funny thing is most young women lose their hymen being young women. Gone are the days of no bicycles and riding side saddle on horses.

You know. Running, Jumping and Climbing Trees. A lot of the notion of virgin tests boil down to “Virgins = Magic” (if not having sex is magic then by last May I should have been a wizard) and “Virgins = Ideal Wife”.  The first is just superstition, the second is just culture. We rarely talk about male virgins but female virgins = good wife. No one can explain why she is a good wife but damn if she isn’t one! Apparently having a hymen makes you a nice and loving person/good at cooking/whatever it is people are looking for in a wife.

If you haven’t seen the facebook bruhaha with regards to virginity tests then check it out here. 

Honestly? Most of our young ladies would fail such tests because we encourage our young ladies to play sports. It’s a cruel part of culture to place an inordinate amount of emphasis on virginity and young ladies are effectively tormented and stunted into a life to fit the virgin test which in itself is unnecessary, invasive, pointless and treats the worth of a person according to a piece of tissue.


  1. stever says

    Marrying a virgin guarantees that she isn’t already pregnant, so you won’t be tricked into supporting somebody else’s kid. That’s where the whole virginity fetish probably started. A virgin is also less likely to be carrying a sexually-transmitted disease, which was a serious consideration in pre-antibiotic times.

  2. says

    @stever (#1): For your second point, the same could be said for any gender, but the emphasis is overwhelmingly on making sure that girls and women are virgins, even though boys and men can also pass on sexually-transmitted infections to their partner.

  3. thascius says

    @2-True, but heterosexual men (who were generally the ones making the rules) didn’t have to worry about catching STD’s from other men. I think the real point for the virgin tradition (as well as the delightful custom of girls marrying as soon as they hit puberty while men didn’t marry until much later) was designed though that in the days before paternity testing men could be certain their children really were “theirs.” The same reason that patriarchal societies place a much greater stigma on a woman cheating on her husband than a man cheating on his wife.

  4. Holms says

    Meanwhile, there exists the opposite pressure on male virgins – they need to lose it asap, or they will be shamed for being ‘barely a man’ or similar.

  5. Holms says

    Meanwhile, there exists the opposite pressure on male virgins – they need to lose it asap, or they will be shamed for being ‘barely a man’ or similar. I wonder where the pressure to sleep with drunk girls at parties comes from?

  6. says

    female virgins = good wife. No one can explain why she is a good wife but damn if she isn’t one!

    Actually, it largely comes from the legal concept of titles, property and other goods passing down the male line. If a woman is a virgin when she is married, it is 1. reasonably certain that children will be her husband’s and thus have the legal right to inherit, and 2. presumed that she can be trusted not to screw (so to speak) with legitimate inheritance. This was especially important when there was actual power to be passed on, such as royal or noble titles. King Henry VIII had Anne Bolyne and Kathryn Howard executed for treason because their affairs threatened the succession of the throne, and thus the stability of the kingdom. Sexual fidelity in a man was never seriously talked about because of male privilege: women were valued because of their ability to bear children, and that ability belonged to her father who held it in trust for her future husband.

    Virginity was not considered a prerequisite for a good wife among most people until 13th and 14th centuries, and the development of the merchant class. The nouveau riche had started to accumulate wealth, and many had aspirations to join the aristocracy, so they began to attach the same value to an intact hymen. The Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the west brought sexual ethics to the forefront of cultural discussion, and by the 16th century ALL women were expected to be virgins on their wedding night, with enforcement by the Church and civil law. A similar church reform occurred around the same period in the eastern churches, resulting in a similar emphasis on virginity.

    Nowadays, the presumed need for virginity has vanished — in the developed world, at least — thanks to contraception and abortion. But the cultural standard remains.

  7. says

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