If you’ve ever read a sex advice column you may remember those annoying questions about how to know if one’s wife is a virgin or not. We all know some curious uncles and aunties whose radar gets activated the moment they see an unmarried woman hanging out with a guy frequently. This just shows how obsessed we are as a culture about the girl’s premarital sex or pre-marriage virginity. The whole society, be it men and sadly, even the women themselves judge and question an unmarried girl about her virginity status when she is seen with a guy.
But why do we care so much about this? What’s the big deal?
It’s time to address these sticky issues:
OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH PREMARITAL VIRGINITY
The virginity of women before marriage has been a big deal in many cultures thanks to social, political, and even religious influences. But the sad part is that even in the 21st-century premarital sex continues to be the it-thing. It’s sadly even a potential deal-breaker in relationships and marriages.
Such obsession results in psychological harassment for the girl if she is found to be not a virgin. Apart from judging the woman and harassing her, this also denies her the freedom to make her own sexual choices about when and with whom to have sex. The right to have sex with a consenting adult partner is a right that every adult has, regardless of their gender.
IS SHE OR SHE NOT(VIRGIN)?
There is no way to find out if a woman is a virgin is technically impossible. A ruptured hymen although is thought to be a clear proof that the woman has had sexual intercourse before. But this is misleading because the hymen may be ruptured due to intensive sports or due to a genetic condition among other factors. Besides, why should we even be asking the age-old question: “is she or is she not a (virgin) ?” And sadly the answer to this still continues to be some men’s version of “does she love me or does she not?”
WHY SHOULD BOYS HAVE ALL THE FUN?
Our extreme concern with girls’ virginity is difficult to justify. If we are concerned about the virginity of women, there is no reason why we shouldn’t care about the virginity of guys. Being a virgin is supposed to somehow make a girl pure or ‘good’? But at the same time a guy is not judged as being bad or impure if he’s not a virgin. Smells like Double standards, right?
More importantly, why is virginity before marriage a sign of purity at all, for any gender?
WHY IS BEING A VIRGIN ‘SANSKARI’?
Our obsession with virginity is somewhere related to our silence about sex. Naturally, the more silent we are about sex, the more “mysterious” and “evil” it becomes. We slowly jump from disliking people who talk about sex to disliking people who have sex! Add to this the general inequalities between men and women, and we are left with women being judged for having premarital sex.
Why judge at all in the first place?
The deeper problem really is connecting virginity with purity in the first place. The fact is that women have sex, be it married or unmarried and society must accept it. Sex involves so many powerful emotions. Hiding the truth or being in denial about having had sex only builds up to the irrational taboos and cultural ideas about sex. It paints sex as something ‘dirty’ and unmentionable. So, having conversations and dialogue around sex is not encouraged, especially in our society.
WHY DEMONIZE SEX?
Having sex is normal! Sex is one of the most naturally occurring activities in most living species including human beings. That’s why, being honest/open about our sexual history logically should be more beneficial than hiding facts about ourselves due to fear of criticism. Unless you think lying is better than owning up to the truth and being transparent, of course!
LET’S BE MORE OPEN-MINDED
Society just seems to forget that women are living, breathing human beings with their own minds, freedoms, and human rights. We need to stop treating and looking at women as objects or things. We need to stop asking women for certificates of virginity like we ask for ISI- marks on jewelry products! They don’t exist simply to be purchased, controlled, and rated by men and society.
The virginity fixation is actually a symptom of a larger disease of a patriarchal mindset. Are we ready to test for this disease and vaccinate ourselves?