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In Roman times, the Vestal Virgins remained celibate for 30 years on penalty of death.

A virgin (or maiden) originally meant a woman who has never had sexual intercourse. Virginity is the state of being a virgin. It is derived from the Latin virgo, which means "sexually inexperienced woman", but also of older women, and even goddesses.[citation needed]

As in Latin, the English word is also often used with wider reference, by relaxing the age, gender or sexual criteria.[1] Hence, more mature women can be virgins (The Virgin Queen), men can be virgins, and potential initiates into many fields can be colloquially termed virgins, for example a skydiving "virgin". In the last usage, virgin simply means uninitiated.

Also by extension from its primary sense, the idea that a virgin has a sexual "blank slate",[2] unchanged by any past intimate connection or experience,[2] leads to the abstraction of unadulterated purity (see below). Hence, virgin can even be used with non-human referents. Unalloyed metal is sometimes described as virgin.[1] Some cocktails can be described as virgin, when lacking the alcoholic admixture.[1] Similarly, olive oil may be called virgin if it contains no refined oil and has an acidity below 2%, or extra-virgin if it comes from a cold pressing with an acidity below 0.08%.[1]

The last instance also incorporates yet another association of virginity—the notability of its loss. More properly, the association is with the significance of the addition of a new status, rather than a loss. Hence this association is typically found in references to the first instance of a potentially extended series of like events. Just as extra-virgin olive oil is from the first pressing, so a maiden or virgin speech is an incumbent's first address. The same metaphor, using the synonym maiden, is applied to the first or maiden voyage of a ship. A woman's maiden name is the surname she had when she was (presumed to be) a virgin—her first surname. In cricket, a maiden over is an over from which no runs were scored. Maiden Castles are those with the reputation of never having been captured.

Wool,[1] computer systems,[3] and unfertilized gametes can be virgin.[1] Females of various species, by analogy with Homo sapiens, if they have never mated, can also be called virgin.[1]

Chastity does not imply virginity. Chastity derives from the Latin ‘castitas’, meaning ‘cleanliness’ or ‘purity’ — and does not necessarily mean the renunciation of all sexual relations, but rather the temperate sexual behavior of legitimately married spouses, for the purpose of procreation, or the sexual continence of the unmarried.[4]



The word virgin comes via Old French virgine from the root form of Latin virgo, genitive virgin-is, meaning literally "maiden" or "virgin"—a sexually intact young woman.[5] The Latin word probably arose by analogy with a suit of lexemes based on vireo, meaning "to be green, fresh or flourishing", mostly with botanic reference—in particular, virga meaning "strip of wood".[6] The first known use of virgin in English comes from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript held at Trinity College, Cambridge.

  • c. 1200: Ðar haueð ... martirs, and confessors, and uirgines maked faier bode inne to women. — Trinity College Homilies 185 [ms B.15.34 (369)]

In this, and many later contexts, the reference is specifically Christian, alluding to members of the order of virgins known to have existed since the early church from the writings of the Church Fathers.[7] However, within about a century, the word was expanded to apply also to Mary, the mother of Jesus, hence to sexual virginity explicitly.

  • c. 1300: Conceiud o þe hali gast, born o þe virgine marie. — Cursor Mundi 24977

Further expansion of the word to include virtuous (or naïve) young women, irrespective of religious connection, occurred over about another century.

These are just three of the eighteen definitions of virgin from the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED1, pages 230-232). Most of the OED1 definitions, however, are very similar.

Frank Harris (1923) claims to have given the following humorous etymology in a lecture, " 'vir,' as everyone knows, is Latin for a man, while 'gin' is good old English for a trap; virgin is therefore a mantrap."[8] Other, serious, but unsupported etymologies exist in print.

The German for "virgin" is Jungfrau. Although Jungfrau literally means "young woman", a standard formal German word for a young woman, without implications regarding sexuality, is Fräulein. Fräulein can be used in German, as a title of respect, equivalent to current usage of Miss in English. Jungfrau is the word reserved specifically for sexual inexperience. As Frau means "woman", it suggests a female referent. Unlike English, German has a specific word for a male virgin Jüngling ("Youngling"). It is, however, rarely used in this sense. Jungfrau, with some masculine modifier, is more typical, as evidenced by the film, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, about a 40 year-old male virgin, titled in German, "Jungfrau (40), männlich, sucht…".[9] German also distinguishes between young women and girls, who are denoted by the word Mädchen. The English cognate "maid" was often used to imply virginity, especially in poetry. German is not the only language to have a specific name for male virginity; in French, male virgins are called "puceau" or "Joseph" whereas a number of indigenous Bolivians, males presenting with phimosis who injure their frenulum during first penetration are said to be "uncartridged" as opposed to "cartridged" before first intercourse.[10]

By contrast, the Greek word for "virgin" is parthenos (παρθένος, see Parthenon). Although typically applied to women, like English, it is also applied to men, in both cases specifically denoting absence of sexual experience. When used of men, it does not carry a strong association of "never-married" status. However, in reference to women, historically, it was sometimes used to refer to an engaged woman—parthenos autou (παρθένος αὐτού, his virgin) = his fiancée as opposed to gunē autou (γυνή αὐτού, his woman) = his wife. This distinction is necessary due to there being no specific word for wife (or husband) in Greek.

Despite such definitions cited above, an alternative definition and understanding of the word 'virgin' has been discussed by Queer theorists. Kitzinger and Wilkinson write that Marilyn Frye, a lesbian feminist scholar described that the term 'virgin' "originally meant not women without experience of heterosexual intercourse but rather 'females who are willing to engage in chosen connections with males, [women] who are wild females, undomesticated females, [and] thoroughly defiant of patriarchal female heterosexuality'".[11]

In culture

In a cross-cultural study, At what age do women and men have their first sexual intercourse? (2003) Michael Bozon of the French Institut national d'études démographiques found that contemporary cultures to fall into three broad categories.[12]

In the first group, the data indicated families arranging marriage for daughters as close to puberty as possible, with significantly older men. Age of men at sexual initiation in these societies is at later ages than that of women, but is often extra-marital. This group included sub-Saharan Africa (the study listed Mali, Senegal and Ethiopia). The study considered the Indian subcontinent also fell into this group, although data were only available from Nepal.

In the second group, the data indicated families encouraged daughters to delay marriage, but to abstain from sexual activity prior to it. However, sons are encouraged to gain experience with older women or prostitutes prior to marriage. Age of men at sexual initiation in these societies is at lower ages than that of women. This group includes Latin cultures, both from southern Europe (Portugal, Greece and Romania are noted) and from Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic). The study considered many Asian societies also fell into this group, although matching data were only available from Thailand.

In the third group, age of men and women at sexual initiation was more closely matched. There were two sub-groups, however. In non-Latin, Catholic countries (Poland and Lithuania are mentioned), age at sexual initiation was higher, suggesting later marriage and reciprocal valuing of male and female virginity. The same pattern of late marriage and reciprocal valuing of virginity was reflected in Singapore and Sri Lanka. The study considered China and Vietnam also fell into this group, although data were not available.

Finally, in northern and eastern European countries, age at sexual initiation was lower, with both men and women involved in sexual activity prior to any union formation. The study listed Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic as members of this group.

Consistent with the northern European findings above, a more recent sex education survey of UK teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 in 2008 (conducted by YouGov for Channel 4), showed that only 6% of these teenagers intended waiting until marriage before having sex.[13]

Perceived value and "technical virginity"

The state of virginity often has special significance, usually as something to be respected or valued. This is especially true in societies where there are traditional or religious views associating sexual exclusiveness with marriage.

Female virginity is closely interwoven with personal or even family honor in many cultures, especially those known as shame societies, in which the loss of virginity before marriage is a matter of deep shame. For example, among the Bantu of South Africa, virginity testing or even the suturing of the labia majora (called infibulation) has been commonplace. Traditionally, Kenuzi girls (of the Sudan) are married before puberty (Godard, 1867), by adult men who inspect them manually for virginity (Kenedy, 1970). Female circumcision is later performed at puberty to ensure chastity (Barclay, 1964).

History evidences laws and customs that required a man who seduced or raped a virgin to take responsibility for the consequences of his offense by marrying the girl or by paying compensation to her father on her behalf.[14] In some countries until the late 20th century, if a man did not marry a woman whose virginity he had taken, the woman was allowed to sue the man for money, in some languages named "wreath money".[15]

Emphasizing the monetary value of female virginity, some women have offered their virginity for sale. In 2004, a lesbian student from the University of Bristol was said to have sold her virginity online for £8,400, and Londoner Rosie Reid, 18, reportedly slept with a 44-year-old BT engineer in a Euston hotel room against payment for her virginity.[16] In 2008, Italian model Raffaella Fico, then 20 years old, offered her virginity for 1 million Euros.[17] In that same year, an American using the pseudonym Natalie Dylan announced she would accept bids for her virginity through a Nevada brothel's web site.[18][19]

Some historians and anthropologists note that many societies that place a high value on virginity before marriage, before the sexual revolution, actually have a large amount of premarital sexual activity that does not involve vaginal penetration: for example, oral sex, anal sex and mutual masturbation. This is considered by some people "technical" virginity, as vaginal intercourse has not occurred but the participants are sexually active.[20][21][22][23] In recent years, "technical" virginity has become popular among teenagers.[22][23] In 1999, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which examines the definition of sex based on a 1991 random sample of 599 college students from 29 states found that sixty percent said oral-genital contact did not constitute having sex. "That's the 'technical virginity' thing that's going on," said Stephanie Sanders, associate director of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University. Sanders, as the co-author of the study, and along with other researchers, titled the findings "Would You Say You 'Had Sex' If ...?"[23] According to a study published in 2001 in The Journal of Sex Research, over half of respondents considered that virginity could only be lost through having consensual sex.[24]

Loss of virginity

The act of losing one's virginity, that is, of a first sexual experience, is commonly considered within many cultures to be an important life event and a rite of passage. The loss of virginity can be viewed as a milestone in a person's life.

In human females, the hymen is a membrane, part of the vulva, which partially occludes the entrance to the vagina, and which stretches, or is sometimes torn, when the woman first engages in sexual intercourse. Throughout history, the presence of an intact membrane has been seen by many as physical evidence of virginity in the broader technical sense. The presence of a hymen is a possible indication, but no guarantee, of virginity, given that some degree of sexual activity may occur without rupturing the hymen, the hymen may be broken through means other than sexual, and because there may exist varying definitions as to the type and extent of sexual activity that is considered by a person to terminate the state of "virginity". This is further complicated by the availability of hymenorrhaphy surgical procedures to repair or replace the hymen. It is a common belief that some women simply lack a hymen, but doubt has been cast on this by a recent study.[25]

In the majority of women, the hymen is sufficiently vestigial as to pose no obstruction to the entryway of the vagina. The presence of a broken hymen may therefore indicate that the vagina has been penetrated but also that it was broken via physical activity or the use of a tampon or dildo. Many women possess such thin, fragile hymens, easily stretched and already perforated at birth, that the hymen can be broken, or merely disappear, in childhood, without the woman even being aware of it.

In contrast to the common cases of an absent or partial hymen, in rare cases a woman may possess an imperforate hymen, such as prevents the release of menstrual discharge. A surgical procedure known as hymenotomy, which creates an opening in the hymen, is sometimes required to avert deleterious health effects. The playwright Ben Jonson claimed that Queen Elizabeth I of England, the Virgin Queen, had a "membranum" that made her "incapable of Man", and that a friend of hers, a "chirurgeon", had offered to remedy the problem with his scalpel and that Elizabeth had demurred.

Analogies relating to virginity

The sexual partner during the loss of virginity is sometimes colloquially said to "take" the virginity of the virgin partner. In some places, this colloquialism is only used when the partner is not a virgin, but in other places, the virginity of the partner does not matter. The term "deflower" is sometimes used to also describe the act of the virgin's partner, and the clinical term "defloration" is another way to describe the event.

One slang term used for virginity is "cherry" (often, this term refers to the hymen, but can refer to virginity in males or females) and for a virgin, deflowering is said to "pop their cherry," a reference to destruction of the hymen during first intercourse.

A curious term often seen in English translations of the works of the Marquis de Sade is to depucelate. This word is apparently a literal translation of dépuceler, a French verb derived from pucelle (n.f.), which means "virgin". Joan of Arc was commonly called "la Pucelle" by her admirers.

Cultural anthropology

Cultural anthropologists have discovered that romantic love and sexual jealousy are universal features of human relationships.[26] Social values related to virginity reflect both sexual jealousy and ideals of romantic love, and appear to be deeply embedded in human nature.

Social psychology

Psychology explores the connection between thought and behavior. Seeking understanding of social (or anti-social) behaviors includes sexual behavior. Joan Kahn and Kathryn London studied U.S. women married between 1965 and 1985 to see if virginity at marriage influenced risk of divorce.

This article examines the relationship between premarital sexual activity and the long-term risk of divorce among U.S. women married between 1965 and 1985. Simple cross-tabulations from the 1988 National Survey of Family Growth indicate that women who were sexually active prior to marriage faced a considerably higher risk of marital disruption than women who [sic] were virgin brides. A bivariate probit model is employed to examine three possible explanations for this positive relationship: (a) a direct causal effect, (b) an indirect effect through intervening "high risk" behaviors (such as having a premarital birth or marrying at a young age), and (c) a selectivity effect representing prior differences between virgins and non-virgins (such as family background or attitudes and values). After a variety of observable characteristics are controlled, non-virgins still face a much higher risk of divorce than virgins. However, when the analysis controls for unobserved characteristics affecting both the likelihood of having premarital sex and the likelihood of divorce, the differential is no longer significant. These results suggest that the positive relationship between premarital sex and the risk of divorce can be attributed to prior unobserved differences (e.g., the willingness to break traditional norms) rather than to a direct causal effect.[27]

This study makes no recommendation, it simply notes that the women most likely to exercise freedom to enter sexual relationships prior to marriage, overlap significantly with the women most likely to exercise freedom to leave a relationship after marriage. Men were not the subject of this study.



In Sanskrit a virgin is called akṣata-yoni. Kṣata means "diminished", a is the negating prefix and yoni refers to female reproductive organs generically — used freely for womb or vulva as context requires. Hence akṣata-yoni suggests something like "undefiled womb" or "unspoiled vulva", but could be understood specifically as "unruptured hymen". Common related words are kanyā and kumārī, which refer to a young, unmarried girl, a bride or a daughter in general. Whilst virginity is not strictly implied by the words, it is generally presumed. These are also names of the goddess Durga, who is a virgin in some of her aspects or manifestations (see avatar).

a Purāṇa text:

The sun-god said: O beautiful Pṛthā, your meeting with the demigods cannot be fruitless. Therefore, let me place my seed in your womb so that you may bear a son. I shall arrange to keep your virginity intact, since you are still an unmarried girl."[28]

a legal text attributed to Manu:

The nuptial texts pertaining to unmarried virgins are applied solely to unmarried virgins, (and) nowhere among men to unmarried females who have lost their virginity, for such (females) are excluded only from (those) nuptial religious ceremonies."[29]

Contemporary Hinduism

In conservative Hindu societies in Nepal and India, any form of premarital sexual intercourse is still frowned upon and is considered an act destined to bring great dishonour and disrespect to the family. It is practically impossible for a non-virgin girl to find a partner from a traditional family in rural areas. No legal statutes exist that explicitly require virginity as a requirement for marriage.


In Sikhism, sexual activity must occur only between married individuals (under control) for the purpose of procreation. Before marriage it is said to be sin, as it is a part of kaam (lust or sexual desire). If a person loses virginity before marriage, it is taken as to satisfy his/her sexual needs and hence is considered sinful. Virginity being lost through masturbation is also considered sinful.

ਖਿੰਥਾ ਕਾਲੁ ਕੁਆਰੀ ਕਾਇਆ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਡੰਡਾ ਪਰਤੀਤਿ ॥

Let the remembrance of death be the patched coat you wear, let the purity of virginity be your way in the world, and let faith in the Lord be your walking stick. (Guru Nanak Dev Ji, 6-16)

ਕੁਆਰ ਕੰਨਿਆ ਜੈਸੇ ਸੰਗਿ ਸਹੇਰੀ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਬਚਨ ਉਪਹਾਸ ਕਹੋ ॥ ਜਉ ਸੁਰਿਜਨੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਭੀਤਰਿ ਆਇਓ ਤਬ ਮੁਖੁ ਕਾਜਿ ਲਜੋ ॥੧॥

The virgin speaks with her friends about her husband and they laugh together;but when he comes home, she becomes shy, and modestly covers her face. ||1|| (Guru Arjan Dev Ji, 1203-7)


Virginity first appears in the Jewish scriptures in Genesis, where Eliezer is seeking a wife for his master's son. He meets Rebekah, and the narrative tells us, "the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her" (Genesis 24:16). Virginity is a recurring theme in the Bible — the nation is frequently personified as the virgin daughter of Israel in the prophetic poetry. It is a wistful phrase, since Genesis also says that Israel's (Jacob's) only daughter Dinah was, in fact, raped as she entered the promised land. The Torah also contains laws governing betrothal, marriage and divorce, with particular provisions regarding virginity in Deuteronomy 22.

Sex in Judaism is not seen as dirty or undesirable — in fact, sex within marriage is considered a mitzvah, or desirable virtue (literally a 'commandment'). Jewish law contains rules related to and protecting female virgins and dealing with consensual and non-consensual pre-marital sex. The thrust of Jewish law's guidance on sex is effectively that it should not be rejected, but should be lived as a wholesome part of life.

Although there is a provision in Judaism for sex outside of marriage, the idea of a pilegesh, is it very seldom used, partially because of the emphasis placed on marriage and other social pressures, and partially because some prominent Rabbis have been opposed to it, for example Maimonides.

While a child born of certain forbidden relationships, such as adultery or incest, is considered a mamzer, approximately translated as illegitimate, who can only marry another mamzer, a child born out of wedlock is not considered a mamzer unless also adulterous or incestuous.

Greece and Rome

Virginity has been often considered to be a virtue denoting purity and physical self-restraint and is an important characteristic of Greek goddesses Athena, Artemis, and Hestia. The Vestal Virgins were strictly celibate priestesses of Vesta. The constellation Virgo is said to represent various mythological figures known for virginity.


The New Testament, a core Christian text, views sex within marriage positively, in fact, it is encouraged in 1 Corinthians 7. Just as this chapter is against sex without marriage, so it is against marriage without sex. Self control is valued, however it is considered unrealistic for most, and therefore allows for sexual expression in the safe boundaries of marriage.

Some have theorized that the New Testament was not against sex before marriage.[30] The discussion turns on two Greek words — moicheia (μοιχεία, adultery) and porneia (el:πορνεία, fornication see also pornography). The first word is restricted to contexts involving sexual betrayal of a spouse, however the second word is used as a generic term for illegitimate sexual activity. As such it is not specific about which particular behaviours are considered illegitimate. Elsewhere in 1 Corinthians , incest, homosexual intercourse[31] and prostitution are all explicitly forbidden by name. Paul is preaching about activities based on levitical sexual prohibitions in the context of achieving holiness while the (non-canonical) Acts of Thomas use porneia as only those activities outside of a monogamous sexual relationship such as adultery and multiple partners which implies he does not see premarital sex as a hindrance to holiness. The theory suggests it is these, and only these behaviours that are intended by Paul's prohibition in chapter seven.[32] The strongest argument against this theory is that the modern interpretation of the New outside Corinthians, speaks against pre-marital sex;[33]

As in Judaism, the interpretation of Genesis is that it describes sex as a gift from God to be celebrated within the context of marriage. The New Testament also speaks of the Christian's body as a holy temple that the Spirit of God comes to dwell in. (1 Corinthians 3:16) Purity in general is deeply threaded throughout the entire Bible.

Christian orthodoxy accepts the New Testament claim that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin at the time Jesus was conceived, based on the accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox denominations, additionally hold to the dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary. However, some Protestant denominations cite evidence against this including Mark 6:3: "Isn't this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren't His sisters here with us?". The Catholic Church holds[34] that in Semitic usage the terms "brother," "sister" are applied not only to children of the same parents, but to nephews, nieces, cousins, half-brothers, and half-sisters. Some Christians may refer to her as the Virgin Mary or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Catholic theology

Virgo inter Virgines (The Blessed virgin Mary with other holy virgins), anonymous, Bruges, last quarter of the 15th Century.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says: "There are two elements in virginity: the material element, that is to say, the absence, in the past and in the present, of all complete and voluntary delectation, whether from lust or from the lawful use of marriage; and the formal element, that is the firm resolution to abstain forever from sexual pleasure." And, "Virginity is irreparably lost by sexual pleasure, voluntarily and completely experienced."[35] However, for the purposes of consecrated virgins and nuns it is canonically enough that they have never been married or lived in open violation of chastity.

Aquinas, emphasizing that acts other than copulation destroy virginity, but also clarifying that involuntary sexual pleasure or pollution does not destroy virginity says in his Summa Theologica, "Pleasure resulting from resolution of semen may arise in two ways. If this be the result of the mind's purpose, it destroys virginity, whether copulation takes place or not. Augustine, however, mentions copulation, because such like resolution is the ordinary and natural result thereof. On another way this may happen beside the purpose of the mind, either during sleep, or through violence and without the mind's consent, although the flesh derives pleasure from it, or again through weakness of nature, as in the case of those who are subject to a flow of semen. On such cases virginity is not forfeit, because such like pollution is not the result of impurity which excludes virginity."[36]

Some female saints and blesseds are indicated by the church as Virgin. These were consecrated virgins, nuns or unmarried women known for a life in chastity. Being referred to as Virgin can especially mean being a member of the Ordo Virginum (Order of virgins), which applies to the consecrated virgins living in the world or in monastic orders.

Christian Mysticism and Gnostic Christianity

In Christian mysticism, Gnosticism, as well as some Hellenistic religions, there is a female spirit or Goddess named Sophia that is said to embody wisdom and who is sometimes described as a virgin. In Roman Catholic mysticism, Hildegard of Bingen celebrated Sophia as a cosmic figure both in her writing and art. Within the Protestant tradition in England, 17th Century Christian Mystic, Universalist and founder of the Philadelphian Society Jane Leade wrote copious descriptions of her visions and dialogues with the "Virgin Sophia" who, she said, revealed to her the spiritual workings of the Universe. Leade was hugely influenced by the theosophical writings of 16th Century German Christian mystic Jakob Böhme, who also speaks of the Sophia in works such as The Way to Christ.[37] Jakob Böhme was very influential to a number of Christian mystics and religious leaders, including George Rapp and the Harmony Society. The Harmony Society was a religious pietist group that lived communally, were pacifistic, and advocated celibacy among its membership.


Qur'an 17:32 says "And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fâhishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allâh forgives him)."[Qur'an 17:32]: Unlawful sexual intercourse zina (الزنا) refers both to adultery and fornication.[38]

Medicine and biology

In early modern Europe, prolonged virginity in women was believed to cause the disease of chlorosis or "green sickness".

For cross breedings of some laboratory animals, females are needed that have not already copulated in order to ensure that the offspring possess the intended genotype. To do this in Drosophila flies for example, females are used that are maximally 6 to 8 hours old (at 25 °C); only after this period has elapsed do inseminations begin.

The term "coitarche" is used in medical context to describe first coitus.[39]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g 'virgin' in American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.
  2. ^ a b "The emotional stress of serial non-marriage plays havoc with the possibility of partnering for life." Angela Shanahan, 'Sex revolution robbed us of fertility', The Australian 15 September, 2007.
  3. ^ Denis Howe, 'Virgin', The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, 1993-2007.
  4. ^ Chastity
  5. ^ Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, 'virgo', in A Latin Dictionary.
  6. ^ 'Virgin', Online Etymology Dictionary.
  7. ^ 'Consecrated virgins and widows', Catechism of the Catholic Church 922–24.
  8. ^ Frank Harris, My Life and Loves, volume 3, (1923).
  9. ^ Release dates for The 40-Year-Old Virgin at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^
  11. ^ Kitzinger and Wilkinson, "Virgins and Queers: Rehabilitating Heterosexuality?" /Gender & Society/ 1994; 8; 446. McGill University Library, 27 November 2008
  12. ^ Bozon 2003
  13. ^ "Teen Sex Survey". Channel 4. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  14. ^ Deuteronomy 22, see also Shotgun wedding.
  15. ^ Brockhaus 2004, Kranzgeld
  16. ^
  17. ^ Squires, Nick (2008-09-16). "Italian model plans to sell virginity for 1m euros". United Kingdom: Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  18. ^ "Shock jock to auction off girl's virginity: Howard Stern announces his most controversial stunt yet". United Kingdom: Daily Mail. 2008-09-09. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  19. ^ "Calif. College Grad Sells Virginity For Tuition". Baltimore: WJZ-TV (CBS). 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  20. ^ Frederic C. Wood (1968, Digitized July 23, 2008). Sex and the new morality. Association Press, 1968/Original from the University of Michigan. pp. 157 pages. 
  21. ^ Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette (2000). Exploring human sexuality: making healthy decisions. Allyn and Bacon. pp. 692 pages. ISBN 0205195199, 9780205195190. 
  22. ^ a b Mark Regnerus (2007). "The Technical Virginity Debate: Is Oral Sex Really Sex?". Forbidden fruit: sex & religion in the lives of American teenagers. Oxford University Press US. pp. 290 pages. ISBN 0195320948, 9780195320947. 
  23. ^ a b c Jayson, Sharon (2005-10-19). "'Technical virginity' becomes part of teens' equation". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  24. ^ Carpenter, Laura M. (2001). "The Ambiguity of "Having Sex": The Subjective Experience of Virginity Loss in the United States - Statistical Data Included". United States: The Journal of Sex Research.;col1. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  25. ^ The Marks of Childhood or the Marks of Abuse?, The New York Times
  26. ^ Donald Brown, Human Universals, 1991.
  27. ^ Joan R. Kahn, Kathryn A. London, 'Premarital Sex and the Risk of Divorce', Journal of Marriage and the Family 53 (1991): 845-855.
  28. ^ Bhāgavata Purāṇa 9.24.34, trans. by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
  29. ^ Manu-smṛti 8.226, translated by Georg Bühler, (Oxford, 1886).
  30. ^ "As a Christian pastor who has faced this problem with people many times, I would say that the following guidelines are absolutely essential. Sex between unmarried adults might be inside that gray area between the ideal and the immoral if, first, no one’s marriage is being violated by either party; second, if it is a union of love and caring, not just a union of convenience and desire; third, if sex is shared only after other things have been shared, other things such as time, values, friendship, communication and a sense of deep trust and emotional responsibility; fourth, if it is both loving and discreet, private, shielded from those who would not or could not understand; if it is valued as a bond between the two people involved and between them alone, never violating the sacredness of the exclusive quality of that moment." John Shelby Spong, The Living Commandments.
  31. ^ arsenokoitēs (masc. noun of fem. 1st declention), literally a man who shares a bed with other men (see LSJ and BDAG).
  32. ^ Syriac- Christian and Rabbinic Notions of Holy Community and Sexuality Naomi Koltun-Fromm April 2006 pdf
  33. ^ Modern interpretation of the significance of "wrong his brother" in 1 Thessalonians 4:6, includes sleeping with the brother's future wife. However, 1 Thessalonians 4:3 only specifically prohibits Fornication. This word originally meant prostitution only and the first recorded use of the word in its modern meaning of intercourse between partners who are not married to each other was in the 14th century AD.
  34. ^ New American Bible
  35. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia, 'Virginity'
  36. ^ Aquinas. Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Question 152.
  37. ^
  38. ^ "هل " مارية القبطية " من أمهات المؤمنين ؟" (in Arabic). Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  39. ^ Doerfler D, Bernhaus A, Kottmel A, Sam C, Koelle D, Joura EA (May 2009). "Human papilloma virus infection prior to coitarche". Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 200 (5): 487.e1–5. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2008.12.028. PMID 19268884. 


Journal articles


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Virginity is a term used to describe the state of never having engaged in sexual intercourse.


  • The only fools who still glorify virginity are priests, nuns and elderly fundamentalists--in short, people who don't know what they're missing and people who can no longer remember.
  • An isolated outbreak of virginity ... is a rash on the face of society. It arouses only pity from the married, and embarrassment from the single.
    • Charlotte Bingham, Lucinda, ch. 1 (1966)
  • I always thought of losing my virginity as a career move.
    • Madonna, quoted in Madonna Unauthorized, epilogue, Christopher Andersen (1991)
  • It is regarded as normal to consecrate virginity in general and to lust for its destruction in particular.
  • ‘No, no; for my virginity,
    When I lose that,’ says Rose, ‘I’ll die’:
    ‘Behind the elms last night,’ cried Dick,
    ‘Rose, were you not extremely sick?’
  • Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
    In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
    Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost
    That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,
    No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine,
    Hath hurtful power o’er true virginity.
  • Virginity is now a mere preamble or waiting room to be got out of as soon as possible; it is without significance. Old age is similarly a waiting room, where you go after life’s over and wait for cancer or a stroke. The years before and after the menstrual years are vestigial: the only meaningful condition left to women is that of fruitfulness.
  • Virginity is the ideal of those who want to deflower.
  • Which people desire to lose what they possess? A sick man his fever, a tormented husband his wife, a gambler his debts, and a girl—her virginity.
  • Women have ... by imitating the life condition of men, surrendered a very strong position of their own. Men are afraid of virgins, but they have a cure for their own fear and the virgin’s virginity: fucking. Men are afraid of crones, so afraid that their cure for virginity fails them; they know it won’t work. Faced with the fulfilled crone, all but the bravest men wilt and retreat, crestfallen and cockadroop.
  • It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.


  • Woman is: finally screwing and your groin and buttocks and thighs ache like hell and you're all wet and maybe bloody and it wasn't like a Hollywood movie at all but Jesus at least you're not a virgin any more but is this what it's all about? And meanwhile, he's asking 'Did you come?'

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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Morally, virginity signifies the reverence for bodily integrity which is suggested by a virtuous motive. Thus understood, it is common to both sexes, and may exist in a women even after bodily violation committed upon her against her will. Physically, it implies a bodily integrity, visible evidence of which exists only in women. The Catholic Faith teaches us that God miraculously preserved this bodily integrity, in the Blessed Virgin Mary, even during and after her childbirth (see Paul IV, "Cum quorundam", 7 August, 1555). There are two elements in virginity: the material element, that is to say, the absence, in the past and in the present, of all complete and voluntary delectation, whether from lust or from the lawful use of marriage; and the formal element, that is the firm resolution to abstain forever from sexual pleasure. It is to be remarked, on the one hand, that material virginity is not destroyed by every sin against the sixth or ninth commandment, and on the other hand that the resolution of virginity extends to more than the mere preservation of bodily integrity, for if it were restricted to material virginity, the resolution, at least outside the married state, might coexist with vicious desires, and could not then be virtuous.

It has been sometimes asked whether there is a special virtue of virginity; and in spite of the affirmative answer of some authors, and of the text of St. Thomas, God under the form of a vow. The counsel of virginity is expressly given in the New Testament; first in Matt., xix, 11, 12, where Christ, after reminding His disciples that besides those who are unfit for marriage by nature, or by reason of a mutilation inflicted by others, there are others who have made the same sacrifice for the kingdom of heaven, recommends them to imitate these. "He that can take, let him take it." Tradition has always understood this text in the sense of a profession of perpetual continence. St. Paul again, speaking (I Cor., vii, 25-40) as a faithful preacher of the doctrine of the Lord (tamquam misericordiam consecutus a Domino, ut sim fidelis), formally declares that marriage is permissible, but that it would be better to follow his counsel and remain single; and he gives the reasons; besides the considerations arising from the circumstances of his time, he gives this general reason, that the married man "is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided"; whereas he that is without a wife directs all his care to his own bodily and spiritual sanctification, and is at liberty to devote himself to prayer.

The Church, following this teaching of St. Paul, has always considered the state of virginity or celibacy preferable in itself to the state of marriage, and the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIV, Can. 10) pronounces an anathema against the opposite doctrine. Some heretics of the sixteenth century understood Christ's words, "for the kingdom of heaven", in the text above quoted from St. Matthew, as applying to the preaching of the Gospel; but the context, especially verse 14, in which "the kingdom of heaven" clearly means eternal life, and the passage quoted from St. Paul sufficiently refute that interpretation. Reason confirms the teaching of Holy Scripture. The state of virginity means a signal victory over the lower appetites, and an emancipation from worldly and earthly cares, which gives a man liberty to devote himself to the service of God. Although a person who is a virgin may fail to correspond to the sublime graces of his or her state, and may be inferior in merit to a married person, yet experience bears witness to the marvellous spiritual fruit produced by the example of those men and women who emulate the purity of the angels.

This perfect integrity of body, enhanced by a purpose of perpetual chastity, produces a special likeness to Christ, and creates a title to one of the three "aureolæ", which theologians mention. According to the teaching of St. Thomas God and to the Lamb: And in their mouth there was found no lie: (loc. cit., 4, 5) are the martyrs; they are declared to be without spot, as in an earlier chapter (vii, 14); they are said to "have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb".

In the article NUNS it is shown how Christian virgins have been one of the glories of the Church since the first ages, and how very ancient is the profession of virginity. Under RELIGIOUS LIFE is treated the difficulty of proving the strict obligation of perseverance before the fifth century, when we meet with the letter of Innocent V (404) to Vitricius (chapters xiii, xiv; cf. P.L., XX, 478 sqq.). Even at an earlier period still, the bishop presided at the clothing, and the consecration of virgins became a sacramental rite, in which the prayers and benedictions of the Church were added to the prayers and merits of those who presented themselves, in order to obtain for them the grace of fidelity in their sublime profession. In the fourth century no age was fixed for the consecration; virgins offered themselves quite young, at ten or twelve years of age. As there were children offered by their parents to the monastic life, so also there were children vowed to virginity before their birth, or very shortly after. Subsequently the law was passed which forbade consecration before the age of twenty-five years.

The ceremony prescribed in the Roman Pontifical is very solemn, and follows, step by step, that of an ordination. It is reserved to the bishop, and can never be repeated. The days fixed for the solemnity were at first the Epiphany, Easter week, and the feasts of the Apostles. The third Council of the Lateran gave permission to consecrate virgins on all Sundays, and custom sometimes extended the permission (C. Subdiaconos, 1, De temp. ordinat., 1, 10). The ceremony takes place during Mass; the archpriest certifies the worthiness of the candidates, as he does that of the deacons. After the introductory hymns, the pontiff first asks them all together if they are resolved to persevere in their purpose of holy virginity; they answer: "Volumus" (we are). Then he asks each on severally: "Dost thou promise to preserve perpetual virginity"? and when she answers, "I do promise", the pontiff says, "Deo gratias". The litany of the saints is then sung, with a double invocation on behalf of the virgins present: "Ut præsentes ancillas benedicere ... sanctificare digneris" ("That though wouldst vouchsafe to bless and sanctify thy handmaidens here present"). It is to be remarked that the third invocation, "et consecrare digneris" ("That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to consecrate them"), which is added for major orders, is ommitted here. The hymn "Veni Creator" follows, after which the pontiff blesses the habits, which the virgins put on. He then blesses the veil, the ring, and the crown. After the singing of a very beautiful preface, the bishop gives three articles to the virgins with the formulæ used in ordinations, and the ceremony ends with a benediction, some prayers, and a long anathema directed against any persons who attempt to seduce the virgins from their holy profession. Sometimes after the Mass, the bishop gave them, as also to the deaconesses, the Book of Hours, to recite the Office.

From the fourth century the virgins wore a modest dress of dark colour; they were required to devote themselves to prayer (the canonical hours), manual labour, and an ascetic life. After the eighth century, as enclosure became the general law for persons consecrated to God, the reason for this special consecration of persons, already protected by the walls of the monastery and by their religious profession, ceased to exist. Secret faults committed before or even after admission to the monastery led to questions which were very delicate to decide, and which became the subject of controversy. Was one who had lost her virginity to make the fact known at the price of her reputation? Was it enough to present herself as a virgin in order to be able to receive consecration? (See for example "Theol. moralis Salmaticensium", Q. xvi de 6 et 9 præcepto, i, n. 75; or Lessius, De justitia", etc., IV, ii, dub. 16.) The ceremony became more and more rare, though examples were found still in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; but it was not practiced in the Mendicant orders. Saint Antoninus knew it in the fifteenth century; while St. Charles Borromeo in vain tried to revive it in the sixteenth. The abbess alone received and still receives a solemn benediction.

Virginity is irreparably lost by sexual pleasure, voluntarily and completely experienced. "I tell you without hesitation", writes St. Jerome in his twenty-second Epistole to St. Eustochium, n. 5 (P.L., XXII, 397) "that though God is almighty, He cannot restore a virginity that has been lost." A failure in the resolution, or even incomplete faults, leave room for efficacious repentance, which restores virtue and the right to the aureola. Formerly virginity was required as a condition for entrance into some monasteries; at the present day, in most congregations, a pontifical dispensation is necessary for the reception of persons who have been married (the Order of the Visitation however is formally open to widows); but bodily integrity is no longer required. If the candidate's reputation is intact, the doors of monasteries are open to a generous repentance as to a generous innocence. (See NUNS; RELIGIOUS LIFE; VOWS; VEIL, RELIGIOUS.)

Portions of this entry are taken from The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907.
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Simple English

Virginity means a state of purity or inexperience. Traditionally a virgin is a person that did not have sexual intercourse. Usually, the idea of virginity is used for women, but it is also used for men who have not had sexual intercourse. Virginity has different meanings and importance in different religions and cultures.

Virgin women usually have an unbroken hymen. A hymen is human tissue that blocks the opening of the vagina about two inches deep. When a man inserts his penis or other object(s) are inserted into the vagina, it usually tears or breaks the hymen which results in bleeding. This blood from the hymen is important in many cultures, as it is a sign that the woman is a virgin. However, sometimes a hymen can be broken accidently often by riding a horse; playing sports; even other recreational activites. Whether the woman has a hymen or not does not really indicate if she is a virgin or not.

In several polytheistic religions (religions with many gods), priestesses of certain gods have to be virgins. In many cultures it is said that women should be virgins until marriage. In some cultures, women who are not virgins until marriage are hit or killed.

It is possible for a virgin to have a sexually transmitted disease, which was acquired by some other means: such as drug use, blood or plasma transfusions, close skin contact in the pubic area with infected people, oral sex, and other means.

It has been previously mentioned that in Islamic countries they show this blood to the relatives of bride and spouse after the wedding night so that they believe that the woman was a virgin before getting married. This is incorrect, as there is no such order, either practised or agreed amongst Islamic religion and countries.[1]

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:
  1. "Islamic Wedding Rituals and Practises - BBC"

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