Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Virgin

WARNING: This post contains controversial content that some may find offensive!

“Virginity is over-rated in American culture”, says Angelica French, renowned expert on all things love because she has been dabbling in it for decades!

In some cultures, premarital sex was ordinary practice in order to determine the fecund fitness of the virginal vessel. After all, propagation of the species ensured survival for the greatest number in the tribe. So kick the tires, take her out for a test drive. If she’s fit, impregnate her ‘til she drops.

It appears we can, in part, thank the Puritans for putting the big kibosh on sex for fun. Because, let’s face it, those tribal guys probably didn’t mind the requisite checking out the goods. (Not saying it was that much fun for the girls, however.)

Along with that came a lot of other restrictions--modesty (vastly overrated in my opinion); abstinence except for procreation (crazy, people’s urges clearly indicate a sex drive beyond procreation or we’d be like dogs with seasons to be in heat); and, just general elevation of the female body to untouchable status.

The Catholic Church didn’t help either, so let’s not put it all on the Puritans. Sexual purity also came down with the whole virgin birth thing that was formally adopted in 649 A.D. That was more than a few years after everybody involved was long dead! So much for fact-checking!

I took classical Greek in college. For fun. And it was. One of the things you learn when you study any language is that translations are tricky. Was something big, huge, gargantuan, or merely large? See how gradations of meaning can affect how you understand the message?

Well, the Greek word translated as “virgin” was parthenos. Parthenos meant unmarried, not necessarily virginal. Of course, many of the unmarried were virginal, but . . . you see where I’m going.

I never understood the big deal about why Mary had to be a virgin. So what? The accomplishments of her son were the important thing, along with the message for how to live our lives. Why the clutter around how He was conceived? I just don’t get it.

To this day, virginity is valued by societal norms, but not necessarily by people. Sexuality is a huge and important part of the human experience. If some choose to wait, that’s cool. But don’t diss others who might make a different choice, following their own natural urge to couple. (Interesting word, that.)

It is our society that has extended childhood so that what was normal in the past at puberty has now become forbidden for years past puberty.

I also wonder, with self-pleasuring and mutual-pleasuring, if the definition of virgin needs to be updated. Is vaginal penetration by a penis the ultimate desecration of the virginal state or is any orgasm by any means?


  1. I think 'virgin' is a word, along with many others, that people are beginning to reclaim, deciding on themselves what it means rather than letting society dictate. All aspects of sexuality are becoming more fluid and up for debate rather than being clear-cut. I think it's great; it's about time we reclaimed our bodies from societal, religious, and political pressure (especially us women!)

  2. Yes! Exactly right, Angeline! It has never been fair, and most of the millennia have been downright abusive. This could be the era to turn the tide. I would also like to reclaim "crone" as a perfectly viable word to describe wise women of a certain age. Thanks for commenting. I hope to see you again.

  3. This Immaculate Conception business may have been thought necessary to convince potential converts of Jesus' divine nature. But, even as a striving Catholic, I find it very difficult to believe that Mary never enjoyed any intimacy with her husband, Joseph, for pity's sake.

    I wish we could trace back to its origins why virginity has been so prized. (Or have folks actually done that?)
    Some Dark Romantic

    1. I'm not sure about research, Mina, but there has been a lot written about it. Most of the theories suggest the purity angle (and you can check virginity in women but not men!), the dominance angle (being her first male imprints the experience on the female; the thrill of conquest), assurance the baby belongs to the man for inheritance (Ha!), and ownership (sex equals possession of the body of another). Virginity has been valued for millennia. Odd, huh?

    2. Uh, yep! ;-) But what fun to read about all the theories and go, "You gotta be kidding me!"