Comment of the Week: Virginity Has No Intrinsic Value

photo by Rafael Acorsi

Madamoiselle L wrote an impassioned 1000-word essay on “The Cult of Perfect Pure Virginity” in response to the discussion of the post “Wise Guys: What’s the Big Deal with Virgins?” Here’s an abridged version:

I think we are again putting value on something which has NO intrinsic value (“virginity”) and using the word “pure” in a dishonest and ridiculous manner.

The word “pure” means “clean and untainted” SEX does not “Taint” anyone, nor is is unclean. To think so IS to have one’s mind in the gutter, whether you consider yourself a “virgin” or not.

Really, in this day and age, in an age of Enlightenment, to STILL think sex is “dirty” or that one’s Princess Pure Virginity means anything to anyone is ridiculous.

I also think those who think this way have dirtier minds than those of us who have actually HAD sex, ARE having sex regularly and enjoying it, going by the comments and attitudes concerning the “impureness” of sex, (meaning it’s “dirty”) the “sanctity” of virginity and referring to a man who ISN’T a virgin as a “Debaucher.” WHO has the dirty mind? The Sexually Positive? Or those who bash Sex and those who ENJOY IT in all manners? (Ummmm, the answer is the latter.)

Does anyone with these attitudes actually THINK that the minute someone says some words over you, while you are wearing a white dress your sick attitudes that sex is dirty and ugly will just fade away? They won’t.

I know of a number of women and a few men (one of them my own mother) who had such attitudes towards sex, and “waited” until marriage (or at least said they did.) Well, they felt the SAME WAY about sex AFTER the vows were taken, sex was a horrible chore for these women, they resented their husbands for “wanting it all the time” they NEVER enjoyed it, and their sick, virgin-centric attitudes DESTROYED their marriages, all of which STARTED, by the way, with “pureness.”

The MEN who thought this way began to think of women in a “Madonna-Whore” dicotomy, if their wives were “Madonnas” they weren’t meant to have sex with, SO WHERE do you think guys like this GET sex, while married? Not their wives. With other women. Men who have Madonna Whore complexes WILL cheat, and honey, if you marry one, thinking he will “respect” you after the wedding night, he either WILL and stop having sex with you and have sex ONLY with other women, OR he won’t respect you (even though there was a marriage) and you enter the “Whore” part of the complex, which probably will make a man like this cheat on you still. Good luck with these guys.

As for these women with their Virgin Worship: Their ideation of sex as dirty did NOT go away after the words were said, the marriage ceremony performed and the wedding night was over, and they NEVER enjoyed sex, and even as older women still think sex is dirty, disgusting and something “men take” from women and women “Give” to get other things. ALL of them ruined their marriages with these attitudes, and were left alone…….and their men cheated…….

Maybe they still feel their “pureness” was worth it. I don’t.

IF you feel sex is still “dirty” by the time you are 17 or 19, IMO, you need THERAPY, not to continue to “wait for the perfect man” because, sweet things, sex will still be “dirty” in your eyes, even when HE wants it AFTER you are married. And if HE thinks “only dirty girls want sex” HOW will that change after marriage? It won’t. So, you either become the Madonna, and he cheats for sex, or the Whore, and he hates you for actually “letting him” have sex with you. Sick? YES! It won’t be what these “perfect virgins waiting for a knight on a white horse” think. They will be miserable, lonely, and cheated on.

A ceremony changes NOTHING if your attitudes toward sex are unhealthy.

Get your self healthy and emotionally ready for an adult relationship with a man (which INCLUDES SEX) BEFORE you take your vows, otherwise your marriage will be misery. I’ve seen women like this fail at marriage too many times to believe your lack of experience will help you in ANY WAY!


  1. Diane, a agree with you, that sex during marriage can be wonderful and exciting and really really fun and you may feel free to explore “Taboos” which you may not have before. I’m married, for several decades, to the man who popped my cherry (we had an Open Relationship for several years before we married, because I was young and needed experience, I didn’t want either one of us to wake up one morning at 35 and think, “OMG, what are other people like? What did I miss?” (although he had much more experience beforehand than I did.) He wanted to sow some more wild oats before settling down, too.)

    My only question is pertaining to your comment, “The advantage of waiting for marriage is, ideally, you don’t break up and potentially have all of your most intimate secrets shared with society.” end quote. Diane, 50% of marriages end in divorce. From what I have seen, bad divorces tend to end up in more “secret sharing” (whatever that means) and other soul cutting nastiness than a dating relationship where the decision to break up was mutual. And, it’s often those who think, “I’d never get divorced” who get surprised by it. (My own mother was a vicious anti-divorce proponent, thought only the most “evil and selfish” people did it, waited until her wedding night for sex……and she and my dad broke up. Both of them with NO experience on how to date, both sexually immature etc. Nobody can say, “It won’t happen to me.” Also, whose to say that married people don’t reveal “intimate secrets” to others? I know a number who do. It really isn’t a good argument for waiting until your wedding night, and marriage is NO guarantee that your man isn’t going “to talk.” (And honestly, I can see much meaner things people do to each other than talk about their sex lives with others……)

    lauren, I don’t understand your comment, “sex isn’t not supposed to be for enjoyment like a hobby Its supposed to be making babies” Huh? Isn’t not? Do you mean it is for enjoyment, or it’s ONLY for making babies? What if you can’t have babies? What if you have enough babies and can’t afford any more? What if you don’t want babies? What if you are too old to have babies? Are you not supposed to have sex? I am not sure what your point was.

    IMO, sex is a very nice hobby. 🙂

  2. To me I see sex as enjoyment, and I’m waiting til marriage, sex isn’t not supposed to be for enjoyment like a hobby Its supposed to be making babies, sex is so much out in the world . But I learn to Adapt to It , my Friend told me I have moral issues because I don’t want to have sex before marriage..

  3. The only value is to the individual or possibly a partner. Beyond that societal and religious concerns/beliefs/acceptance have improved. The RCC, Monarchs, Nobility, Various Clergy and a few others will continue to loose members, followers,parishioners and suitable candidates over this issue. No entity has the right in our current or future society to require this of anyone. It holds no relevance or justification. It only holds the fact of an experience (this primarily in the case of a man and a woman physically). And if you dispute this. The point is proven. It does not matter. That is a belief. Virgins are no longer sacrificed. Future Kings don’t have to be Virgins. But, Queens did. Purity. I’d rather a women having experienced this in life before ascending her position. It was only about the Female. It is/was so stupid No one can prove you will be sent to purgatory or even hell. Or any other claim deemed a negative for loosing their Virginity.

  4. Rachel,

    No one (respectful) is going to call you archaic and misinformed for the “sanctity” thing. If you believe in a God who’s laid out the rules, you’d best follow them. It’s not what I believe, but hey… to each his/her own. In fact, I only respect people who say they’re religious if they actually follow the rules.

    “Respect for myself & husband,” STD paranoia, and anxiety over comparison to past partners, on the other hand… THOSE are the things that’ll get you called archaic and misinformed!

  5. For me, married sex is amazing! But I was not a virgin when I got married. But my husband is the only one. And I am his only one. And I love it!
    I agree with Katie. You need to be ready for sex. Even though I was 19 when I first had sex and thought I was ‘ready’, I quickly realized I was not.
    I was a proponent of ‘no sex before marriage’ and when I went against my beliefs I had anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. I was not happy in my relationship until we decided to get married and was shy about sex even after the marriage (I did not really feel comfortable about sex until after my first child was born). He never made me feel uncomfortable, never forced me even in the middle, and was respectful to my body.
    Two kids and 14 years later, we are still exploring sex and each other. We talk about fantasies and gently ease into them.
    The advantage of waiting for marriage is, ideally, you don’t break up and potentially have all of your most intimate secrets shared with society.
    I have a 6 year old girl that I think will be ready for sex way before I was. I am hoping to give her the real world aspect of it and hope she will make the right and safe choice for her.
    Lastly, I can not emphasize the importance of sex in a marriage. It unifies you with your spouse and yourself, it lets you laugh about things that may be taboo and do things that may seem taboo. Plus, it feels great!

  6. To Rachel: why do you feel that having sex before marriage would be a disrespect to yourself? Sorry if that’s too personal of a question (though we are on Em & Lo…), but I have never really understood that point of view.

    Disclaimer: not trying to challenge you; honestly curious! I’ve seen people get real defensive on comment threads and I wanted to head it off 🙂

  7. I have chosn to wait until marriage to have sex out of respect for myself and my future husband. In no way do I feel as if sex is a dirty thing, I never have. Nor do I believe “the suffering,” as you called it, will make it better. I’m still trying to figure out why you think people who have similar beliefs to me are suffering. I just believe sex is something that should happen only in the sanctity of marriage.
    Yes, I said sanctity of marriage. Thus ensuing a whirlwind of comments calling me archaic and misinformed. My belief that sex should only happen in the sanctity of marriage is based on the fact that if I and my husband and I wait neither of us will have to worry about STDs, or being compared to a past partner or worry about having children. Those reasons all sound like common sense to me.
    I was fairly calm while reading your article and then I read your comment replying to another user saying that someone who was not ready to have sex by the end of their formal education had emotional issues. Where did you come up with that?! I’m a fully functioning and capable adult in college and I certainly have never experienced any I’ll effects from my decision.
    At any rate, I don’t expect any of my archaic argument to change your mind. I hope to never stumble upon this website again.

  8. Katie said: “I agree with the main themes in this article, but I will say waiting until you can emotionally handle it is best- and for me, that was actually past the age of 19 (22-not a huge difference, but still).”

    Katie, I agree completely. I used somewhere between 17 and 19 as an average. Yes, some people are late bloomers, and when one’s education or work are absolute top priority, sometimes one waits or simply doesn’t get around to it until a few years older than the median.

    This is, as you realize, different than the “virginity as something holy and pure and ‘waiting’ for the right perfect one and life and the relationship will then be perfect” and thinking that THAT relationship will be the end all and be all of their lives. It might be, but one shouldn’t “wait” for this, forsaking other healthy sexual encounters and relationships as learning experiences (not to mention a source of fun and connecting with an other person) and expect to be sexually healthy.

    IMO, Katie what you did was perfectly rational, sound and healthy. I used the age I did as a guideline and an example. Not to be used as something written in stone (as if anyone would do that. 😉 )

    It has been found that people who pursue higher education tend to have sex for the first time a little later, due to studies etc. Kinsey saw this, and we see this today. Also, a lot of young women don’t realize the strength of their sex drives until they START to have sex. Then, they, as healthy humans, can’t to live without it.

    Personally, I grew up in a rough neighborhood, (despite my parents high educational attainment, standards and expectations, we had little money, and lived in a tough, blue collar, ethnic neighborhood.) I had my first full sexual encounter on the cusp of 17, which was actually a little bit *late* for my neighborhood. I also used birth control at every encounter, as a pregnancy would have been a disaster for my education plans, too. Everybody is different, and it seems like you made a good choice for your development, your needs and your life. 🙂 Your reason for waiting was sound and had to do with your being busy with your education and didn’t rely on perpetuation of the Madonna-Whore Complex. It wasn’t THAT late, either. 😉

    As for “emotionally ready for it” that, too, has a reasonable upper age limit. I think if one is approaching mid 20s and still thinks they “aren’t ready for it, yet” something needs to be investigated, psychologically.

    IMO, people need to take care of impasses and other significant blocks to a healthy adult life, and not having sex well into one’s 20s and beyond is a block to healthy relationships, healthy sexuality and healthy continued maturing. (This doesn’t’ pertain to you, just for some who are close to middle age and “still waiting.”) What ARE they “waiting for?” I think there are some emotional issues that people have a responsibility to deal with, if one cannot handle sex by at the latest, nearing the end of one’s formal education, which signifies being a full adult, there are issues that NEED to be dealt with in order to mature fully into a fully functioning adult with adult relationships and adult responsibilities.

    It’s just such a fulfilling part of life, it pains me to see people “wait” for something based on desperate clinging to religion, misunderstanding or misusing of “morality” or archaic social expectations, thinking that the suffering of waiting will somehow make it “better.”

  9. Good point, Katie, on the distinction between types of virgins.

    You chose to remain unsexed until the age of 22 because you know yourself and you had other priorities. You showed maturity and foresight in your decisions, and you remain happy with them. That’s healthy and well-adjusted.

    That’s very different from a girl who thinks her hymen is a magical treasure which keeps her pure and clean.

  10. I agree. To me, it’s like the “don’t eat pork” decree. A problem was perceived in society – people getting sick from pork – and a solution was incorporated into religion. But this particular religious solution has really crappy side effects, as eloquently pointed out by Mlle. L. It’s no biggie if someone doesn’t wanna eat pork nowadays, but if someone becomes sexually neurotic because they’ve idealized virginity, I have a problem with that.

  11. I agree with the main themes in this article, but I will say waiting until you can emotionally handle it is best- and for me, that was actually past the age of 19 (22-not a huge difference, but still). I consider myself very sexually liberal but I was, and am, very driven person with focused goals but also a very emotional person. I’m glad I waited until losing my virginity WASN’T a “big deal” and I knew I wouldn’t feel bewildered or like I caved to peer pressure. It let me enjoy sex but also not get “sidetracked” and lose sight of other things that were important to me, like academics (yep I’m a nerd. But I went to any Ivy league school and got into a top-ranked MBA program right out of college. So no regrets letting myself focus on that in addition to my sexual/emotional growth).

    It made me feel empowered, and like Mademoiselle L points out, I didn’t feel less “pure”. I didn’t wait for the right “one” either – I just picked someone I was very sexually attracted to and knew would respect me in bed (who says a virgin can’t use a guy for sex?? I sure did and don’t regret it at all! I had a great, steamy first sex experience and walked away quite happy.)

    Sex isn’t rocket science, so I fall more in the camp that yes, it’s good to experiment before settling with a long-term partner, but waiting until you’re ready to handle the emotional side of sex in addition to your life ambitions or current goals (especially as a female) doesn’t mean you’ll be a failure at sex when you finally have it either.

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