Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

The Value of Virginity

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Reading “The Cult of Virginity” by Jessica Valenti, slightly irritated me. First off, I think the title in itself is ridiculous and demeaning toward people who are abstaining from having sex. The entire point of the article was to point out unfair treatment of women regarding their sexuality, but it seems equally unfair and contradictory to say that those who are waiting to have sex are in a cult, a term that has a very negative connotation. In my opinion, virginity is very much real, and the benefits it can have in one’s life are very substantial.

It is true that most people today do not wait until marriage to have sex, and most people have more than one sexual partner throughout their lifetime. For a woman, this means she usually ends up being called some less than glamorous names and is harshly judged because of her “lack of innocence.” For a man, he might often get a pat on the back or a high five. This happens the majority of the time, though I refuse to believe it happens all of the time. There are plenty of men In the world who value and cherish virginity just as much as a woman. Admittedly, I agree that there is a double standard most of the time when it comes to judgement about premarital sex. However, is there not also a double standard for men? It is the exact opposite for them. Women are “impure sluts” if they have premarital sex, but men are “wimpy losers” if they do not. It is publicly accepted to be a woman virgin, but it is shameful to be a male virgin. In all honesty, society is unfair to both male and female in this situation, but I do not believe that society is wrong to value virginity itself; it just needs to be valued equally between men and women.

I cannot help but believe that there IS a certain value in innocence and abstinence, for men and women alike. My personal beliefs are grounded in faith, but I can just as easily defend my beliefs with reason. Have you ever heard of a father telling his young daughter to “be as sexually active as possible”? Or a mother toss condoms at her son and tell him to “go experiment”? No. This would go against all the laws of nature. A mother and father usually caution their children about having sex for various reasons, but usually because it can lead to heartache. They don’t want their children running home with broken hearts later on, because whether or not people like to admit it, their sexual experiences are more often than not tied up with their hearts. Everyone knows that we, as humans, highly value the emotional state of our hearts. Our world is filled with “follow your heart” quotes and self help articles determined to fix a broken heart. Thus, purity is often naturally taught to be valued, only it is disguised as the value of caution. If this is so, then why is it so wrong to put virginity on a pedestal?

Lastly, People say that virginity is “old fashioned” and that the world is changing and evolving now, but what makes the modern way of doing things so much better than the “old way”? While society is setting ridiculous sexual norms, they are forgetting to tell people that research has proven that men and women who do not have sexual partners before marriage are more satisfied and fulfilled sexually than those who “tested the merchandise” or “experimented” before marriage. This goes to show that the modern way of doing things isn’t always the best way. If purity is a value that a woman wants to uphold, let her uphold it! If a woman likes to knit her own clothes rather than buy them in a store the easy and modern way, then so be it. Let her knit for her own personal enjoyment and self worth. She is not a part of “The Cult of Knitting.”  In the same way, if a woman OR MAN wants to abstain from having sex, then so be it! He or she is not part of “The Cult of Virginity”!

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