From time immemorial a woman’s virginity has been her prized possession. Throughout history one will read about cultures across the world placing a high value on a a woman’s virginity. But times are changing and for an increasing number of young men and women, sex is no longer the kind of taboo that it earlier used to be. And much to our older generation’s charging, pre-marital sex is a definite reality of our times.
In fact, these days, couples who are in a relationship have no qualms about getting sexually intimate with each other even though there may be no guarantee that the relationship will culminate into marriage. However, when it does come to the question of marriage, especially in the case of arranged marriages, a woman with a sexually active history still raises eyebrows and sets tongues wagging. What then is the big deal about virginity and how does this kind of a mentality hamper the lives of numerous women?
According to a gynaecologist and sex counsellor, this kind of mentality is largely because our traditional values are still strongly embedded in us. “One of the most common questions I get, till date, is ‘How do I know that my bride or girlfriend is a virgin
?’ and the only answer to such questions is that there is no way to know whether a girl is virgin or not.
It’s just the man’s and his family’s inflated ego that results in such unrealistic demands. How then, does our traditional culture not hamper couples from engaging in pre-marital sex? Once a couple is engaged, it’s like a license for marriage so they feel they can do anything.
It’s actually not such a big deal. Doctors usually get men who complain saying that their wife did not bleed on the first night and hence, they suspect that she’s not a virgin. The truth is that the presence of the hymen which ruptures (resulting in the bleeding) is not a sure shot sign of virginity. Some women are born without it, there are those for whom it is so elastic that it never ruptures while for some it is so fragile that a slightly intense activity may have ruptured it without them even realising it. It is just not possible to access whether a girl is a virgin or not by just examining her except if she’s been through a pregnancy or if she admits to having sexual intercourse.
For some men, however, especially those raised in very orthodox families or old-fashioned joint families, it’s the family members who tend to influence their decision. In many of these families, something like falling in love or sex before marriage equates to the girl being bold. Their reasons, hence, for rejecting such girls is that post-marriage, too, the girl will continue with the same behaviour (I mean, SERIOUSLY!!)
Commenting on the issue, actress Sophie Choudry opines, “Most people in Mumbai and other metropolitan cities do not expect their partners to be virgins anymore because India has gone through a dramatic change in the past 10 years. India is no longer the closed society it was. The modern young Indian woman is working, independent and makes her own choices in life. It’s a change the Indian man has had to adapt to. Nonetheless, we cannot ignore that there is tremendous pressure on girls from smaller cities and more conservative families and virginity does still play a major factor when it comes to their marriage.”
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