Thursday, March 20, 2014

On virginity

I have spent the last few hours researching and reading about ideas of virginity and purity for an article I am working on. And I have to say that there is some seriously disturbing stuff out there!

Having come from the evangelical Christian sub-culture and knowing its philosophy on such a subject, I still find it to hold to some of the most dangerous and damaging beliefs about sexuality. Just try watching the documentary The Virgin Daughters.

But I am still struggling to get my head around what it really means to people today in our progressive western culture.

So I need some help….

I would love for people to comment below, anonymously of course(!), about how you would define virginity and whether you think it still holds significant weight- for good or bad- in today’s culture. And if you’ve read or watched anything about the topic you think is particularly interesting mention that too.



Anonymous said...

This is my first of a few posts. Theres a word limit.
ONE: I genuinely find this topic interesting.. I didn't grow up in a Christian home but when I reached high school my mum and I got "saved" and started gong to church. Before then i dont really remember thinking much of sex. Even though I had been exposed to pornographic magazines my dad left lying around occasionally.  So as a child the beliefs of no sex before marriage weren't as ingrained in me. I do and did however feel that sex was to be shared with one person, "the right person".  When I first started dating my husband reality kicked in and I realised the feelings for sex and intimacy were far more real than lust or attraction. After being together for 4 years we had taken things slow and held back from being intimate. Things got harder for us. We both at this time held Christian morals about sex. We knew we wanted to get married but it wasn't a good option.  We wouldn't have been able to support ourselves outside of our current (separate) living situations when we moved in after getting married.. While I believe honesty on topics like this is important I probably wouldn't openly share this with anyone,  or condone what im going to say as ok for other Christians, it is simply my perspective.  I think it would confuse people and cause people to possibly make unwise decisions and regret sleeping with someone they thought they might marry but didn't.  

Anonymous said...

For me and my partner (also a Christian) we knew we wanted to get married... we just had to wait until we could afford that lifestyle.. which is what i would call it in western society (a lifestyle). Marriage to us is a commitment to each other, a decision to love always and a covenant  with God. We believe that while the constitutional ceremony and certification of marriage is legalised by government, that God's teaching on marriage is consummation; the act of having sex is what binds two into one person, in God's eyes. This is a decision we talked about once or twice. It wasn't until a few too drinks one evening that we 'accidentally' gave into four years of restraining ourselves from having sex. We knew there had been a bond, as something felt different between us. Sex was not something we did often after that time but it did happen sometimes. The decision to not do it often was mainly because of the fear of my Christian family and friends finding out and the guilt they might make me feel. As though i had "sinned". It was a secret for us, and between only us and God. Which was sad because of the religious constraints and contradiction to what we believed, we were unable to enjoy it. This lead me to question, maybe it would have been better to wait.. we had created secrecy and dishonesty to conceal that we had sex (were married). 

Anonymous said...

THREE: We we're soon after engaged (as planned) and then married.  And a relief came over me and thoughts like, "I can finally talk about sex with my married friends" "no more secrets, people know we have had sex now because we're married" "I dont have to feel awkward about a taboo topic anymore". I felt like I had come into freedom. I felt like I was released from the my secrecy. That being a virgin or pretending to be was a burdon because i feared Church judgement. Even though we felt approval from God on the decision there was uncertainty waivering in my mind about it being the right decision.  This is mainly because of the judgement,  fear and criticitcal attitude that church people have. You feel like you cant talk to your friends who don't go to church about it because they will think you're a hypocrite. There was nowhere for support or even celebration with friends and family until our wedding.Virginity is a word (label and can be derrogative for men) that holds so much stereotype. The word is glorified by men seeking a pure    women, a virgin as seen in films. It's a feat if a man can score a women's virginity. Because of this women are made to feel un empowered by sex and men are empowered. More recently i have noticed a trend toward virginity in todays culture... specifically western culture that it has evolved into being less meaningful (unfortunately). It is more categorised into: A. You have not had sex / B. You have had sex. Virgnity is not bad in itself,  it is rather what people (society and culture) have made it to be... which is not much. 

Anonymous said...

FOUR:I can't even remember the last time I heard someone say virgin,  it must have been in high school.  Virginity is less powerful because of society glorifying sex, pornography, homosexuality, and feminism.... I believe virginity has lost it's meaning in today's western culture's. I see a world where women seek empowerment. They do this by using their sexuality. In the future I think there will probably be an in balance of genders where men are emasculated and women are supreme. Unfortunately I don't think we will ever achieve gender equality and the balance will keeo shifting. The reason I mention power and gender equality is because sex holds so much influence over these two areas. And I believe that is why virginity is not so important. This is not all people, but there is a culture nowadays that both males and females give up their virgnity gain power and love. And sex is used as the wild card to win the game of power. Virginity is not as important because sex is not depicted as a sacred act in society. Therefore impacting on the interpreation and meaning of virginity. More commonly now young people are driven to prolong there childhood/young adult years through experiencing travel, education, owning a home etc. They are less likely to seek marriage as a top priority and more people are settling down in there later years. For Christians this is a cultural change that can have negative impacts. Because young people are told to study and pursue a career their relationships kind of merge into being defacto. This is not a supported option among Christians. As typically you have to get married before you have sex and move in with each other. This causes the problem that I had. We were told to study so that we could have a good job. But until then we couldn't afford to get married. So where Christians usually got married young because they worked and could support themselves... it is now that education takes priority. Which means we wait longer before we can have sex, because we have to be married to do it. While others don't necessarily hold the same morals, they can have sex whenever they choose. For them there is no right order to getting married. This is old testament but in Kings 11:1-4 King Solomon was discouraged from having 700 wives and 300 concubines.. it makes me wonder, did he have a ceremony everytime he got a new wife? I would imagine he probably just slept with them and called that marriage. It is an interesting topic and I would like to keep looking into this. Feel free to ask questions and I will respect your oppinion. :)

Ali said...

Thanks so much for your comments, and for being so honest. You make a lot of really great points. While I think we probably disagree about some things, you do point out a lot of the hypocrisy in the Christian tradition. I particularly love your final point about Solomon and all his wives!!