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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > Why is virginity such a powerful symbol?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/01/22/...

Dude, I would have sold it for WAY less than 3.8 million when I was fifteen...

Although I find this situation generally sad, by the way, it raises some interesting points...this article raises some interesting questions about the "value" of virginity. I know it's a hugeass deal in some cultures and even in America those "virginity pledges" seem to be everywhere in some form or the other. What's virginity worth? Why does virginity hold so much symbolic power?


message 2: by Félix (last edited Jan 23, 2009 09:23AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) From an evolutionary biological standpoint, virginity has value in that a female's reproductive cells 1) are finite in quantity, and 2) represent a sizable investment by the individual in carrying offspring to term and raising them.

Some scientists believe that the tendancy to guard virginity comes from the tribal desire to maintain control of this process, which probably has evolved to support survival of the species.

Of course, the male side of things is quite different, in that "spreading the seed," that material being quite limitless is quantity, benefits expanding the genetic influence of a given group of people.

There is consensus that this is also why the "spoils" of warfare has historically included mass rape of the women of the losing group.


message 3: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Virginity is over-rated. You lose it, and...then what? End of story, as far as I'm concerned. I remember losing my virginity and feeling it was no big deal. No fireworks going off, no trumpets blaring announcing the arrival of my manhood. It happened. Whatever.

From my perspective, deflowering a virgin opens up several cans of worms. I was harrassed for months by a girl whose first sexual encounter was with me. She believed me taking her virginity away, for lack of a better way of defining things, meant we were destined to be together forever. Uh...no.

I can't help but feel disappointed and angered at this girl selling her virginity. I don't buy into the whole "losing your virginity" and saving yourself for someone special crap, like these the Jonas Brothers doofus kids and their "promise rings" seem to do. She's not selling off her "virginity", she's selling herself off as a prostitute.


message 4: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (dreamelis) | 53 comments I'll try and condense the evolutionary psych. answer to this question.

I won't bother citing specific studies or numbers, but this is interesting stuff.

Basically, men are cuckolded a LOT more often than you'd think. And technically, cuckolding does not refer to just infidelity, but to a male unknowingly raising (ie; devoting valuable time and resources to) another male's offspring.

There are many interesting adaptations enabling men to try to avoid this phenomenon. One of them is mate-guarding/ placing a high value on virginity.

But why specifically would virginity a valuable trait in a bride, even if she's obviously not pregnant?

Well, statistically, the number of pre-marital sexual partners a woman has had does correlate significantly with her propensity to have affairs outside a marriage or committed relationship.

I'm leaving out many important details in the interest of time, but there you go...


message 5: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jan 23, 2009 10:37AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Basically, men are cuckolded a LOT more often than you'd think

Great, Danielle. Now I'm paranoid.

:)


message 6: by Kirk (new)

Kirk | 154 comments From my perspective, deflowering a virgin opens up several cans of worms.

Maybe if she lost it sooner there wouldn't be worms all up in dat.


message 7: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) The old saw is if you have a son, you only have to worry about one penis. If you have a daughter, you have to worry about all of them.


message 8: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments Haha, bon mot, Kirk.


message 9: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Ewww, Kirk!!!


Without getting into evolutionary stuff, although that is illuminating, different cultures place different values on female virginity and I think a lot of it was historically mostly about property. Maintaining control of the sexuality of female offspring means that you can assure that your property is passed down to your own offspring.


message 10: by Meen (new)

Meen (meendee) | 1733 comments Oh, as for why it's sexually appealing for (some) men, I think that's just a conquest/domination thing.


message 11: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) Well said, Larry.

Judging from that kind of worry, my daughter may never date anyone as long as I live. She may be 35 before she loses her virginity.

Not that I want to even remotely think about that.


message 12: by Matthieu (new)

Matthieu | 1009 comments Oh, college!


message 13: by Gåry! (new)

Gåry! (garyneill) related

thank you


message 14: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 777 comments I think it always did have a lot to do with property rights, etc, especially since until very recently, a man had no way of knowing 100% if a child his wife was carrying was actually his biologically. So they had to find all these ways of controlling female sexualiy.
The purity issue is interesting. Is a person less pure because they have had many sexual partners? What is purity? One issue is disease. Another is if I'm a virgin and I get married to a virgin and we are never unfaithful to each other, then we have something with our spouse we don't have with any one else, it's totally unique to us. To me that seems like a really wonderful thing, but is it realistic to think it will happen very often at all? Probably not, and maybe it isn't even optimal, because then you have so much to learn. In my old church, your first kiss was supposed to be the one at the alter on your wedding day. Holding hands was all that was allowed, even after you got engaged.


message 15: by Sally, la reina (last edited Jan 25, 2009 05:27AM) (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17322 comments Mod
""spreading the seed," that material being quite limitless is quantity, benefits expanding the genetic influence of a given group of people."

Leads my mind to this:

favorite movie, fantastic scene with the bonus of Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. Plus a really young looking James Gandolfini without any lines manages to look creepy in the background.

Quentin has a way with words. These actors have a way with enunciation. The script is so borderline offensive, yet teeming with such Americana. IMO this is the kind of art that will tell volumes about the late 20th century in the US someday.



When I lived in Spain with a host family this movie came on TV one day. Every day during siesta the tv would play fantastic movies, unedited, but, of course, dubbed. This one came on and I squealed in my quasi-Espanol "I love this movie! My favorite!"

The dialog does not translate. A lot of the American cultural themes do not translate.


My host family looked at me differently after this.



message 16: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments Purity balls.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

I hadn't thought about them for a while, then today I ran across a television show with people discussing them.

Someone on the show said it's primarily about dominating the sexuality of women. It is first controlled by daddy then, after marriage, by the husband. The woman never gets to own her sexuality.

I agree.


message 17: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments Fitting. It's (nearly) Halloween.


message 18: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) "purity balls" is a weird name for formal father-daughter dances

Not knowing what it meant, that was not close to the first thing that came to mind.


message 19: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments Not 43 BC?


message 20: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) pjreads ♫ wrote: ""purity balls" is a weird name for formal father-daughter dances

Not knowing what it meant, that was not close to the first thing that came to mind."




Ditto


message 21: by Rock (new)

Rock Ism Okay, I've had sex with virgins before. Its not as fun for me and its not so fun for the girl. If their hyman isnt already broken (from, ahem...a bicycle accident while a pre-teen) then it is still going to be painful because it is like breaking a seal. The good thing is that there is Pressure released from the breakage of that seal.


message 22: by Heidi (last edited Oct 31, 2012 02:26PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments Rock wrote: "Okay, I've had sex with virgins before. Its not as fun for me and its not so fun for the girl. If their hyman isnt already broken (from, ahem...a bicycle accident while a pre-teen) then it is sti..."

Uhhhh, WTF. Is that you, Mitzi robot?


message 23: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24150 comments Mod
Definitely Mitzi.


message 24: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24150 comments Mod
Virginity is only a powerful "symbol" in sad, backward societies.


message 25: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Go away, Ed.


message 26: by evie (new)

evie (ecie) | 4259 comments LG ! Yay!


message 27: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments BunWat wrote: "Okay that probably wasn't fair. That was a totally stupid post, but possibly not strike material."


LOL! :)


message 28: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11627 comments BunWat wrote: "I rescind that strike, but I still object to the post on the grounds of extreme stupidity.

And spelling errors."


Hi, man!


message 29: by Cheri (last edited Nov 04, 2012 02:55PM) (new)

Cheri | 795 comments “you boys can keep your virgins
give me hot old women in high heels
with asses that forgot to get old.”
― Charles Bukowski, Love is a Dog from Hell

I didn't say it, he did. But I like it.


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