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A CASE OF VIRGINITY.
Early in the 19th century, women are described to be religious, pure, and submissive. In many African culture, a woman is expected to be a virgin on her wedding night. This is a thing of honour for the husband, her family and the society. Among other repercussions for the loss of virginity before marriage are, social rejection, excommunication from family, a bleak future... Faced with this dilemma, it is quite obvious that the subject of virginity is very delicate.
The Virginity Concept
The society expect a woman to preserve her innocence until after she found the right man or after her family has arranged a man for her and they are properly married. It is regarded as her treasure, and she has to protect it at all times. Even an assault should not lead her to giving herself in. And she must not give it to the wrong person. She must, in all her power, resist any temptations and should never put herself in a compromising position.
In the middle ages, a woman is a virgin if her hymen is still intact. The hymen is the tissue or membrane that is located around the vagina. Once the hymen is torn or stretched, the woman is simply not a virgin any longer. In some cultures a high consideration is placed on a woman’s hymen as the sole indicator of her sexual purity.
Also the indication of a broken Hymen is blood. In many African cultures, the husband is given a white cloth on the wedding night and must emerge by the morning with the cloth soaked with the blood produced when the hymen was broken.
Breaking the Hymen
Hymens are relatively soft tissues and can be broken in many ways other than having sexual intercourse. The hymen comes in different shapes and sizes and may not even be present in a woman. Some women have hymen that are either too thin or too thick that it covers the whole vagina.
One of the traditional causes of breaking the hymen is through horseback riding. If you are on horseback a lot then chances are, your hymen could have been broken. This is one of the reason why only men were allowed to ride horses in the early centuries while women used carriages. With the modern days came knowledge and enlightenment which allowed women to learn how to ride a horse and as of today, there are a lot of equestriennes out there better than their male counterpart.
Certain sports like gymnastics and high jump can also damage the hymen. This sport requires a lot of exercise. They moves as if their bones are made of jelly. There is a higher chance that the hymen would be stretched or broken during these years of vigorous training.
The use of tampon can also damage the hymen. Tampon is made of absorbent material, but is pressed tight into a small cylinder shape. Many girls start out using pads, but might want to use tampons when they do sports or go swimming. It works from inside the vagina as opposed to pads.
Several medical procedures can also tear the hymen. Pap smear is one, and so does other procedures that require an instrument inserted through a woman’s vagina. If you undergo such a treatment, the hymen ripping is a possibility.
Inappropriate Definition of Virginity
Given the reasons above we should however ask ourselves if truly a woman’s virtue or value should be determined by the presence of a tissue. The presence or absence of hymen is indeed a poor method of determining the virginity of a woman. Even medical experts don’t entirely agree to the idea and it is really unfair to the woman.
The narrow definition of virginity is in desperate need of a rewrite. What does "losing your virginity" mean to you? Is it a state of mind or a specific act? Is it something that can be taken from you, or does it only count if you willingly give it away? When does "fooling around" end and "having sex" begin?
In the strictest term; you are a virgin until you've had sexual intercourse with the member of the opposite sex. But this definition leaves a lot of people out of the loop. While the social policy makers look to redefine marriage to include same sex partnerships, maybe it is time we also revisited what it means to be a virgin.
When we think of virgins, we think of "white wedding innocents" who are pure and decent. But the fact is, the standard definition of virginity lets you get away with having a lot of different kinds of sex while still being able to call yourself a virgin. In theory, under the traditional definition of virginity, someone who is homosexual can have sex every day and still be a virgin. Someone who has oral sex regularly is also still a virgin. Does that really make sense?
We should ask ourselves how these situations fit in to the meaning of virginity.
- Is someone who is raped or molested no longer a virgin?
- Is actual intercourse the only act that counts when determining ones virginity?
- If you willingly engage in other intimate sexual acts but do not have intercourse, is it fair to still consider yourself a virgin?
- How would you define losing your virginity if you were/are homosexual or bisexual?
- Is being a virgin based on your feelings, what you do, or is it a combination of both?
- Is there an emotional component to losing your virginity, meaning if you have sex but don't feel anything is different about you, does it count?
- Does the current definition of virginity exclude homosexuals? Is this right?
- Is virginity subjective (based on how the individual views themselves and what they do) or objective (how the situation is viewed by others on the outside)?
- Is the current definition of virginity and the entire social stigma attached to it, biased toward girls? Is this right?
Today, when women are liberated and the issue of virginity is not as serious as it used to be, I would say nobody can stand to say he/she is a virgin if the old standard are to be used. This is because even those that have never had sex before or better put have their hymen intact are not as decent as those that are sexually active. You’ll be shocked at how far these so called virgins can go, all they want is “no dick in the pussy anything else goes”. So who should we call virgins? Pardon my French,
Virginity should be an emotional and a psychological thing, not purely physical. Virginity is a virtue. Only a woman and her whole being should answer to that, not just her one negligible body part. A lot of feminist groups and even medical organizations are all working together to enlighten the public about the facts and the fallacies behind hymens. It is hoped that in the near future, tightly knit conservative places would embrace the whole hymen concept and eventually transform their way of thinking.
Virginity and Gender.
Now, when we talk of virginity, what comes to mind as I said before is the loss of hymen. One should then be forced to ask if this hymen is in both genders.
- Is a man even expected to be a virgin?
- Is a man’s sexual drive higher than that of a woman?
We live in a world where to be a real man you have to have conquered a number of women. Boys are expected to be sexually active as early as 15 while the girls are expected to wait until they get married. This leaves a gap that forces us to ask “who are these boys supposed to sleep with if all the girls are to remain intact till they get married?” yet we look with disgust upon the girls that have lost their virginity.
It is certainly not fair to let the boys loose and keep the girls in the case.