The retention of the concept of virginity as a prize to be won or a gift to be given on a wedding night is barbaric and extremely offensive.

First, it implies that people, especially women (since this standard is more heavily applied to them by repressive societies), are either property or have property-like aspects. It is an artifact from a time when women were considered to be literally the property of their fathers, and became the property of their husbands at marriage. A human being is not an object to be bought, sold or traded. Therefore, any fabricated immaterial aspects of that person (e.g. the psycho-spiritual concept of virginity) are also not rightly exchangeable*.

Second, it implies that your sexuality should rightly be controlled by others; that your sexuality is not yours to express as you see fit, but is the dominion of others and only valid with their assent.

You cannot give another person your virginity, because there is nothing to take. You have not lost something the first time you have sex, because there was nothing there to lose. Sex is a dynamic experience, not a static state of being. The fact that you have not had sex cannot be cut off of you and put into a jar.

A virgin is not "pure" because sex is not a matter of subjective morality. Sex is part of being human. It is something humans do. It is not, itself, right or wrong. Like anything else, of course, it can be used to hurt, or oppress, or dominate or exploit, but those qualities are not inherent to sex. To claim that a person who has had sex is somehow "dirtier" or "less good" than a person who has not is viciously repugnant.

There is no denying that a first sexual experience is powerful. There is no denying that it can have a large psychological impact. As such, it should occur under circumstances of your choosing. You want it to be with someone you love? Fine, great. You want it to be quick and anonymous? Whatever floats your boat. But dispense with this notion that virginity can be given, or taken, or traded. It cheapens us all.

*Note: this is not intended to imply that the act of sex cannot or should not be bought or sold. The purchase of a sex act does not necessarily imply ownership of the person providing the service, or their sexuality. Or it shouldn't, anyway.

In reply to Jaez' writeup:

I apologize for not being sufficiently clear. The second half of my writeup was intended to express my belief that one's virginity or lack thereof has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not one is an "honorable" or "virtuous" person. My personal definitions of those superlatives do not recognize bald notions of chastity as an inherently "good" thing. Belief systems that do elevate virginity and chastity to such heights are usually the same ones that are exploitative, oppressive and dogmatically moralistic.

If only things were as simple as QXZ so obviously believes. Of course he (or she) is right in saying that virginity is something that you cannot chop off and put into a jar, but I think the conclusions they draw from this colourful example are a little erroneous.

The problem hinges around the words Property, and Commodity. Examining property we see that the meaning of property can also be interpreted successfully as Quality. Other examples of properties are: Honour or Dignity. No one would claim that you could chop these things off and put them in a jar, but we could all say that a person or family has a great deal of Dignity, and Honour. Make no mistakes, these things, these Qualities just like virginity can be traded, and commonly are, however they are not traded in the marketplace of bankage but the arena of personal action.

Just like money, I may lose some to one individual and gain some from others, and this holds true. The idea of Virginity, as depicted in the property sense above can be seen as equivalent to the hymen, and one can be assured that virginity as a concept and pointer to personal purity and chastity goes a lot further than a simple flap of meat.

The idea is repugnant to most human beings, but so is the idea that property is impersonal. Property is only property when it gains value, or is assigned value in a system of personal interaction, and to say that human qualities are at the same level as those qualities assigned to meat (like implied above) is quite simply a misunderstanding of the dynamic systems of matrices of meaning and value that are generated when the human mind interacts with any subject at an analytical level, and most importantly itself.

The qualities mentioned above incidentally are highly prized by many people when selecting a bride and for that matter a groom.

Can a person's virginity be said to be lost when it is found that they have been sexually active before marriage? I refer here to fellatio, but of course there are other examples. The concept of Virginity is lost, when one finds out this sort of activity has occurred, regardless of whether the person still has a hymen or not. (If there was a male equivalent pointer this would also be true for them. )This is as effective as ruining the value of a well by poisoning it, and no one would doubt that a well is property. By understanding the context in which Virginity, as well as other human qualities lie, we see that they are interchanged regularly.

A good virgin is likely to attract a better mate in certain circles where such virginity is prized (as part of chastity) because of the respect and honour it will bring the current and future families. The quality may not be choppable, but it's effect in real life and the way in which people behave towards it are easily observed.

All of which makes a mockery of the above node.

On could respond in kind to the sort of gibberish that appears below this wu, but lets try to maintain some semblance of sanity.

As to the notion "that one's virginity or lack thereof has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not one is an "honorable" or "virtuous" person. ". I don't know where he/she got the idea but it is obviously false. Just look at the word virginity, it means Pure, Unsullied, Innocent, Free from Sin. If these words aren't requisite in Honour or Virtuosity, then perhaps indeed he/she is right.
I doubt it however, as I am sure do you.
To avoid confusion, I think this node should perhaps be entitled "Virginity should not be a commodity" - because unfortunately in many cultures today and throughout human history it is and has been exactly that. A girl's virginity was a commodity in that it increased her marriageability (or made her marriageable in the first place) and marriage was a major way for a family to achieve social status, connections, prestige, a dowry, etc... Thus virginity was very much like the rest of the things humans used to obtain or display status or wealth, all of which are commodities, whether material or conceptual.* There were and are human societies that placed little or no value on virginity, but, at least since the dawn of settled civilization, these seem to have been in the minority.

Now we live in a society where we have (thankfully) relaxed (to some extent) the rigid codes of behavior that accompanied the commodification of people's sexuality. In fact we have gone some way to de-socializing sexuality and interpersonal relationships in general, making it less of a social act and more of a spontaneous and rewarding personal act. Unfortunately (in my opinion of course) we have not taken this nearly far enough, and seem to have even regressed a bit in recent years.

I suppose the only way not to see virginity as a commodity is to not have the value that people should not have sex before marriage. Otherwise, virginity inherently has some value if it makes someone more marriageable. The debate on whether or not people should have sex before marriage probably deserves its own node, but here is my personal take:

- Sex is a good thing. It's good exercise. It relieves stress. It offers endless possibilities for creativity and expression. It can bond two people. People should have sex. Why wait?
- Taboos about sex only lead to sexual pathologies
- I think people should wait a long time to get married - well into adulthood. This gives them the opportunity to grow as individuals and find their niche in life. And since I think people should have sex, Sex + waiting for marriage = sex outside of marriage.
- Making sex a product of marriage makes people rush into marriage
- Some people want a lifestyle where they are not married. They should not be denied sex.
- People's personal behavior should be their own bidness

So I don't think a woman's (or man's) virginity should be a commodity. / soapbox

* To be sure, this burden of chastity has sometimes fallen on men as well, as societies and hierarchies have looked askance at sexuality in general, but it was primarily born by women, because they have usually been on the bad end of a male power structure. The reasons why men desire virgin brides have instinctual Darwinian origins to be sure, but this is no justification for repressive regimes.

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