The Value of Virginity

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short essay about the decline of valuing virginity, written for my blog.

Submitted: February 21, 2011

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Submitted: February 21, 2011



“Purity and self-control are very underrated virtues in America.”

-- Comment from a CNN news article

One of the online courses I’m involved with this semester is an introductory class in the fiqh (understanding, knowledge) of menstruation. Recently we had a discussion about virginity and purity, including how the value of virginity has declined so much in the West. In this day and age maintaining one’s purity is a thing of the past.

Not too long ago, the vast majority of people lost their virginity through marriage and marriage alone. It was scandalous to be caught with someone before marriage. Sleeping with someone prior to marriage was frowned upon by the majority of the public. And if a woman discovered she were pregnant before marriage, she might have to suffer through the terrible stigma of birthing an illegitimate child for a long time if not the rest of her life.

Sure, there has always been those who bucked the rules of society and lived by their own rules, but I am sure most will agree that pre-marital sex has moved from taboo to almost casual. Walk into any US high school classroom and one can find at least a few students who have engaged in sexual acts or who know someone who has done so. They may not have taken part in intercourse, but incidents of oral sex among teenagers are on the rise. In the last few years, teen pregnancy rates have climbed and now there are TV shows devoted to teen pregnancy and teen mothers. The media is filled with sexual innuendos to explicit sexual content. This content is available to any child unless their parent(s) control what they can access.

But pre-marital relations are not limited to just teenagers, far from it. In my lifetime I have heard many people talk about ‘hooking up,’ ‘getting it on,’ and ‘one night stands.’ They talk about who they’ve slept with as though chatting about the weather; it doesn’t seem to carry any weight. Unfortunately, all those conversations were in real life and where not the script of some TV show. Of course there are scores of TV shows that often incorporate episodes in which the plotline is about sex in some form or another. And even more episodes contain sexual innuendo; it may not be outright, but it is just as bad.

Compare the US to other countries – especially Islamic countries – and the difference is even more shocking. Just as in the past, there are those who choose to follow their own rules and do engage in pre-marital sexual relations, but the vast majority of Muslims in Islamic countries make the choice to remain pure. Muslim scholars agree pre-marital sexual acts are one of the seventy major sins. There are many different opinions as to what exactly the seventy major sins are, but one can guarantee every single opinion includes pre-marital sex.

Teen pregnancies do exist, but they are rare and are often times hidden from society due to the shame they would bring upon the family. Young, marriageable women avoid men at all costs to prevent even the slightest doubt of their honor from arising. All it would take is one person talking to set the rest of the community talking. If word reaches a potentially husband that she might not be pure – even if it is not true – he will pass her up for a more honorable woman. The virginity of unmarried girls is so important that the whole family works hard to protect and maintain it.

Some argue that plenty of societal issues arise from such protective measures as found in Islamic countries. However, many equally nasty issues are found in the US where the value of virginity is declining rapidly. Some might even point out there are more issues and worse issues than compared to those in Islamic countries. Like any topic in this world, there are always going to be disagreements on regards to the decrease of virginity’s value in the West.

What do you think? Do you think the value of virginity is falling in the West? If yes, do you think that’s necessarily a bad thing?


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