Virginity Loss Stigma May be Causing the Spread of STDs
There are still many cultures around the world today where a high value is placed on virginity. People in these places believe a person, particularly a female, should remain a virgin until marriage. The loss of this quality can lead to consequences that many people in Western countries may find shocking.
Read Also: STDs You May Need To Test Yourself For Today
In some countries, the stigma that comes with losing one’s virginity often leads women into taking actions that may be risky. Such steps are not only dangerous for women but possibly also for their future spouses. We explain in this article how the loss of virginity and things done afterward may pose health risks.
The Confusion of What It Means to Be a Virgin
According to etymologists, the term “virgin” comes from “virgine,” an old French word. The latter is a variant of the Latin term “genitive virginis,” which means a sexually intact or inexperienced woman, especially a young one.
The origin of this word explains why people usually think of it in a sexual sense. However, in more modern use, gender and age are not criteria for being a virgin. Virginity traditionally refers to the state of a person who has never had sexual intercourse. A man can be a virgin, just as a woman.
Today, the meaning of a virgin isn’t that simple anymore. There are now different definitions of what the term could mean. The implication of this is that, unlike in the past when vaginal penetration by the penis was the only way of losing virginity, there are now different ways by which people believe you can lose it.
It has been observed that non-heterosexual or gay persons were more likely to regard vaginal penetration as not being the only thing that nullifies virginity. They consider non-penetrative sexual acts as being enough to void the virgin status.
For many gays and lesbians, a person stops being a virgin when they engage in oral sex, anal sex, “fingering,” or other non-penetrative sexual acts. Some gay males, however, do not believe oral or non-penetrative sex stops a person from being a virgin.
It is also still a subject of debate for some whether virginity can be lost through non-consensual sex, such as rape. Research shows that some people believe you do not stop being a virgin when sex is not consensual.
In all of this, some researchers have concluded that a person’s sexual orientation may inform what they deem virginity to be. A heterosexual person may see it as avoiding penetrative sex, especially involving the penis and the vagina. Loss of virginity may mean having anal sex to gay males or having oral sex to lesbians.
Cultural Importance of Virginity
While in a more modern sense a man or a woman may be a virgin, people tend to use the term more when speaking about females. There is a high premium placed on female virginity in many cultures around the world. In these places, men may lose their virginity without any eyebrow raised, but the story is different for women.
Many feminist advocates have, however, dismissed the social, cultural, and moral values placed on being a virgin as meaningless. There’s no valid medical definition of virginity or any verifiable scientific proof of its loss, according to them. They condemn the idea of putting the morality of a woman between her legs.
In some parts of the world, virginity is important to improve the chances of finding a good suitor. Female virgins have better and more options when it comes to deciding whom to marry. Time was when chances of non-virgin women finding men to marry dropped close to zero in some of such societies.
Virginity is such a valuable thing in some cultures that, in the past, a woman could sue a man that took her virginity, if such refused to marry her.
To further highlight the importance of being a virgin until marriage, Turkey approves vaginal examinations. This clinical investigation, in the past, could be ordered for women observed to exhibit immodest or immoral behavior in public.
Losing one’s virginity before marriage could have potentially terrible effects on a lady. It doesn’t matter whether that happened through consensual sex or otherwise. Such a lady may be ostracized, treated badly, or even killed for bringing dishonor to their family.
The so-called honor killing occurs more in countries where people are put to shame when they do something that is regarded as culturally or morally unacceptable. Some societies, including those in the Middle East, see the premarital loss of virginity as a thing of great shame.
Loss of virginity isn’t such a big deal in Western countries anymore, or so it seems. There is usually no social stigma to this. On the contrary, remaining a virgin at a certain age may attract shame, especially from peers.
Proving the Virgin Status
Assessment of the virgin status is done in some cultures before a woman could be deemed totally marriage worthy. Such a woman may undergo a physical examination, usually by a medical expert, to certify that the hymen is still intact.
In some other cultures, bleeding after intercourse is seen as a sign of virginity. People conclude that a woman is still a virgin when this occurs – a pointer to the tearing of the hymen. A blood-stained bed sheet is a confirmation that a bride has been a virgin in some places, such as Morocco.
Faking Virginity with Surgery
Essentially, the hymen is the marker of female virginity to many people. This thin membrane sits just on the inside of the vulva and partially covers the vagina’s entrance. The penetration of the elastic female canal by the penis usually tears the membrane, resulting in bleeding.
The idea is that a woman should bleed if she’s having sex for the first time. But this is not entirely a correct expectation.
Medical experts say sexual intercourse isn’t the only thing that could cause the hymen to tear. Intense physical activity, participation in sports, and accidents can lead to its tearing. It then means a woman may be a virgin and not bleed when having sex for the first time.
However, in spite of not being a reliable sign of virginity, many women would do anything to bleed after the first nuptial sex. This makes them turn to a surgical procedure called hymen reconstruction, or hymenorrhaphy.
Some people also call the surgery hymenoplasty. But that term, in a strict sense, will also include hymenotomy, an operation for opening or removing the hymen.
Hymenorrhaphy is mainly outpatient surgery. It requires only about half an hour for a surgeon to turn women with torn hymen into “virgins” once again. Countries or regions where it is mostly available include the U.S., South Korea, and the Middle East.
In spite of costing thousands of dollars, the procedure is still popular, especially in Middle Eastern countries. This trend is obviously a result of the requirement for post-nuptial intercourse bleeding as proof of virginity in some cultures.
While certain countries consider hymen reconstruction surgery illegal, it is practically legal in Iran, as in some other Middle East countries. Grand Ayatollah Sadeq Rouhani, a conservative, issued a fatwa some years ago making hymen repair lawful. The legal opinion, based on Shiite law, considers a woman a virgin after having the procedure.
Risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are conditions or infections that typically spread through sexual contact. Examples include Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Herpes, HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Syphilis
There are different forms of contact that may lead to the transmission of these diseases. Apart from vaginal intercourse, people can also get them by engaging in oral sex or anal sex. It is also possible for STDs such as HPV, herpes, and syphilis to spread through intimate contact from skin to skin.
However, some people think that vaginal intercourse, anal sex, and blood transfusion are practically the only possible means of contracting STDs. These often make such to resort to oral sex.
It has been observed that women who are virgins sometimes engage in oral or anal sex. They believe their virginity is still intact when they opt for these other forms of sexual contact. Perhaps, the idea is that they may be able to avoid STDs and pregnancy by doing so.
You may be fooled into believing sex with your partner is safe because they say or appear to be a virgin.
Consider the case of a woman that undergoes hymen reconstruction surgery after having normal vaginal intercourse for years. The procedure could make her partner think she has never had sex and so is unlikely to have an STD. Yet, such a woman might have contracted such a disease in the past and failed to treat it properly. This essentially puts her future partner at risk of infection.
The value placed on female virginity in some cultures today may be a factor in the incidence of oral or anal sex among unmarried people. Non-penetrative sex acts are regarded as a helpful way of preserving virgin status. However, some other people, especially gay males and lesbians, consider sexual acts not involving the vagina as enough grounds for virginity loss.
More women in conservative cultures, such as middle eastern cultures, appear to be having a procedure to restore “virginity.” Hymen reconstruction surgery is experiencing a boom in many Arab countries and in places like India. In the Middle East, the market appears to be especially booming in Iran.
The foregoing actions, driven by the moral or cultural values placed on virginity, constitute reasons to be cautious when choosing a partner. They could easily mask the risk of contracting an STD, even when both partners claim to be virgins. You should rely more on testing than the supposed virgin status of your partner to protect your health more effectively.
Losing one’s virginity comes with stigma – Daily Titan (https://dailytitan.com/2017/09/virginity-loss-stigma-slut-prude-sex/)
Women Have Surgery to ‘Restore’ Virginity – ABC News (https://abcnews.go.com/2020/WomensHealth/story?id=123701&page=1)
Sexually Transmitted Disease – Frequently Asked Questions: Washington State Department of Health (https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/SexuallyTransmittedDisease/FrequentlyAskedQuestions)
Hymenorrhaphy – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hymenorrhaphy)
Virginity Still a Commodity in Iran | IWPR (https://iwpr.net/global-voices/virginity-still-commodity-iran)
Is Sex With a Virgin Automatically Safe? – Verywell Health (https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-sex-with-a-virgin-automatically-safe-3133235)