The Question of Virginity among men and women: An Honor or a Luxury?
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, July 8, 2012
While some distinguished sex specialists and consultants, Dr. Mustapha Errasi in particular, have affirmed that virginity is not a sign of a girl’s honor, good mannerisms or of her purity and morally good behavior, some Shariaa researchers like Abdelkarim El Kilali hold a different view. These Shariaa researchers believe that virginity determines the pure from the impure and the morally well-behaved from the morally ill-behaved. They also believe virginity helps men put an end to their biased tendencies towards girls who have lost their virginity. At the same time, women must have the same right as men to question the virginity of their partners.
If I were asked about the man I side with, I would say it is Abdelkarim El Kilali, not Errasi. This is not necessarily because Errasi is wrong and El Kilali is right, but rather because I believe El Kilali is long-sighted, while Errasi is short-sighted. I believe Errasi is short-sighted because his statements will sooner or later imprint a negative image on virgin girls in that when they know that loss of virginity is not a clear sign of a girl’s honor. On the contrary, girls will be more courageous to engage in a relationship as opposed to a few innocent girls who lose their virginity by accident.
As a result, believing that virginity is not a sign of a girl’s honor will get us nowhere at a time when the youth of today are always waiting to seize the opportunity to engage in sexual relations. If we stress virginity as a sign of honor and prestige–even if some lose virginity by reason of an accident–we are at the very least doing our utmost to encourage our girls to remain virgins until marriage, especially in a Muslim country like Morocco.
In the same vein, talking about virginity of girls doesn’t necessarily rule out men for the reason that a girl’s loss of virginity needs both partners to participate. Our culture has impressed on us the bias to point an accusing finger at women, while turning a blind eye to men who have participated in sex. Men also obtain their own symbolic virginity. To blame girls for losing their virginity while forgiving men for the same thing is proof that our society is hypocritical.
Many agree that losing one’s virginity is not all the time a clear sign of dishonor and disrepute. Yet, is this enough to prove that the question of virginity does not matter? Is this enough to prove that virginity is not the key to determining the impure from the pure? Since neither keeping virginity nor its loss is the key criterion whereby men should choose the girl of their dreams, why did Errasi suggest that we should not make a fuss about the issue?
The explanation I can deduce from Errasi’s statements is that the honor he is talking about isn’t confined to losing or keeping that membrane called the hymen. For him, it goes as far as a girl’s actual manners and her actions in life that determine her honor. But, what Errasi should have taken into account is that the body parts of a girl are the mirror of her values and manners. The act of keeping one’s virginity until her wedding night comes from the belief that a girl must not be caressed by anyone except her husband.
Women may intervene and say that discussing their virginity alone is unfair, whether it symbolizes purity or impurity. Frankly, they have the right to question the values of society towards the misconception of their virginity. Once again, our social hypocrisy forces us to wonder that if men should be like women in this regard: why do men get angry when they see their sister being followed by a man, but do nothing when their brothers arefollowing a pretty girl.
Even by nature, men are more inclined towards girls who are virgins who usually believed to be more faithful to their first love than non-virgin ones. Yet, to base these statements on generalizations alone would not lead us to grasp the value of virginity. Instead, taking precautions and holding the possession of virginity in high regard are the things that eventually give girls their well-deserved value.
Islam itself mentions a great deal about this in that the Quran equally urges women and men to lower their gaze, let alone to lose their virginity before marriage. What is still a mystery is whether the loss of virginity on the part of men differentiates the pure from the impure just like for women. It is really hard to know at a time when men don’t have as a clear sign as women do. At this point, men cannot lose their virginity by accident, whereas women can. Women can experience bleeding through a fall while participating in sports or physical activity, for example.
Hence, to make a “fuss” about the criteria of virginity as a determinant of prestige and honor doesn’t necessarily mean that girls without this are without prestige and honor. But rather that at the very least, when we lay so much emphasis on virginity, we ‘idealize’ girls and make them feel that as long as they are virgin, they are pure. Besides, virginity as a trait spurs them to be faithful towards their first love and to avoid being tempted to be disobedient in marriage.
As long as the loss of virginity doesn’t make one girl purer and more faithful than another, why should we exonerate those who have lost their virginity and say that it may have been lost by mistake? What if it weren’t by mistake? If virginity isn’t a necessary sign of purity and good morals as some believe, wouldn’t presence of virginity be much better than its absence? Some scholars argue that girls who are virgins are more sexually healthy than girls who are not virgins.
To treat the issue impartially, to shed more light on the virginity of women while ignoring that of men doesn’t mean that only women are concerned in this issue. I am only raising the reality of our society that deems non-virgin girls as dirty while it deems non-virgin men as clean. For instance, there are men who have spent their youth engaging in sexual affairs, but as soon as their marriage proposal day comes, they insist that the girls they are marrying must be virgins. Shouldn’t virginity apply to men and women equally? Logically, yes. Don’t girls have the right to inquire about men’s virginity the same way men do on the night of the wedding? Yes, to be fair enough!
What makes me afraid concerning this debate is that many mischievous girls must have taken advantage of the fact that loss of virginity isn’t a real matter. In the meantime, we should never give such sorts of girls the chance to play with their virginity at the expense of really conservative, virgin girls. Society does not all the time forgive victims of sex. It appears now that a non-virgin’s meat is a virgin’s poison. Regrettably, the other way around is also the case nowadays.
So, the crux of the matter mainly lies in the virginity of women, because it may result from other causes aside from intercourse. This is where women are different from men as far as virginity is concerned. A virgin man is at least purer than a non-virgin one. But, a non-virgin woman isn’t necessarily less pure than a virgin woman for the simple reason that the former might lose virginity by accident, while the latter might take part in other forms of sexual enjoyment. Here, the bottom line is that emphasizing virginity and setting it as a condition in the case of women should not mean that virginity is a sign of honor. It must simply mean that presence of virginity is better than its absence for both men and women.
Edited by Laura Cooper
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy