Skepticism

AI: Virginity

It’s Friday night, and I’m once again sitting with Friend of Skepchicktm Kammy, drinking a martini in an attempt to fall asleep on her couch sometime in the near future (I have to be awake in about 4 hours), and we somehow have landed on the topic of virginity. We agree that the expression “losing ones virginity” is outdated and horrible: we both feel like we gained something.

Does the idea of virginity have any meaning to you? Do you think it should have the value society ascribes to it?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Related Articles

113 Comments

  1. Does the idea of virginity have any meaning to you?

    It did when I still, um, had it and was desperately trying to, er, lose it. But not now.

    Do you think it should have the value society ascribes to it?

    What value? Which society? Which culture or subculture group? Sorry, but the original question is so ambiguous and unfocussed I can see no way to answer it.

  2. I think the idea I was taught as a child is ridiculous. You only have sex with your husband/wife.

    Although, in the end it is how a person feels about his/her individual virginity and engaging in sexual acitivty.

    For me, I would have engaged ALOT earlier. Damn HIGH SCHOOL!!!

  3. @SicPreFix:

    I believe the question is significant and poignant.

    Based on your individual upbringing, people come from a variety of backgrounds and were taught different morals and values because of our parents upbringing, and so on and so forth.

    The question is asking, what is our feeling today? What would we teach our children? How do we feel the society we live in today should value virignity?

    I think carr2d2 has asked an excellent question and has plenty of gray area to read between the lines. Your answer is a bit closed-minded and rigid.

  4. I was never really in any hurry to lose or had any particular attachment to my virginity. It just was.

    I did happen to have sex for the first time at 16, and was very much interested in sex prior to that, but it wasn’t really a “holy shit, I’m having sex now” thing.

    I think any culture that believes that virginity should be proved prior to marriage is absolutely crazy. I don’t really have a problem with individuals deciding to abstain from sex prior to marriage, though it wasn’t my thing. I do have a problem with individuals being guilted into abstaining from sex. Guilt is such a horrible thing.

  5. Before I had relational sex, I was personally frustrated with the concept of virginity, because it meant that I was seen, culturally, as being sexually inexperienced and inactive (whereas I understood myself to be a sexual, and sexually active, person).

    Now that I’m in a sexually active relationship, I would say it’s important for me to be able to recognize that (being sexual with another person) as a unique experience in my life — as some sort of turning point even. But the mainstream language of “virginity” isn’t very useful to me as I try to articulate why relational sex is important to me.

    So I understand the impulse behind wanting to talk about one’s “first time” sexual experiences as worthy of recognition — but virgin/virginity just doesn’t cut it for me.

  6. I remember my first coffee and my first (alcoholic) drink pretty well. First sex was in between but I only vaguely remember it. Let’s say two of these were fun and one was bordering on hilarious.
    I was never sure if 20 was too early to have your first coffee.
    OK, by now you can pretty much figure that, as far as I care, virginity can be dropped out of the dictionary and moved to history books. I’m getting an espresso.

  7. @SpiralArchitect:

    … close minded and rigid.

    Oh. Okay, not sure where you got that from.

    Not knowing what the value is, nor what society is being referred to, how does an answer have any relevant meaning?

    We have myriad societies with myriad values represented here at Skepchick. If I answer Yes/No to the question, what relevant meaning can that answer have when there is neither a value nor a society attached to the question nor the answer?

    Unless you’re proposing that the answer include a meaningful description of the value and the society for which the answeror is answering to? That could work, although it’s not in the original question and could get really long winded and complicated.

    In that vein, I don’t know what value my society plces on virginity, largely because I don’t know, specifically, which society to include myself in in order to answer the question.

    Canadian society? Far, far too many differing values to encompass to answer the question meaningfully.

    The society of intellectuals? Again, so far as I know, far too many differening values to give a meaningful answer.

    The society of skeptics? Are we a society? Or are we just a group? Perhaps a subculture?

    And so on. What society are you in? How many variable values does virginity hold within it? Can you list them all?

  8. Your first sexual experience is important, and there is evidence that it can affect your emotional health and outlook on life. In that sense, it’s important to teach kids about the significance of sex. But, should there be a “value” on virginity? Absolutely not.

    This concept traditionally has been used to shame women, although sometimes men as well. It also reinforces the notion that a woman who was raped is useless as a wife, or has somehow been tainted.

    People should value their bodies and themselves, but that shouldn’t be linked to virginity.

  9. I attach great importance to not getting an STD and not getting pregnant when you don’t want to. In the past “virginity” was shorthand for these. As a culture we’ve moved beyond this. If I had a kid I’d tell them there is a strong emotional component to sex and it’s better if you care for the person you’re doing it with, but I don’t see a large distinction between intercourse and mutual masturbation or any other hijinks two or more consenting adults can get up to.

    I also believe maintaining virginity until marriage as a goal is ludicrous. Sex is something you will hopefully enjoy together for many years (at least until you have kids :-) and if you have no idea what it is going in you’re that much less likely to be satisfied. Imagine a person not handling money until they get married, or changing a diaper, or riding a bike. “Have you cooked a meal before?” “No. I’m saving that for marriage. I want my wife to be the first to taste my fish souffle.”

  10. I think it’s an issue that isn’t as important as the actual sex. Rather than telling someone to wait for marriage (which is just moronic), it’s easier to tell them to wait until they’re ready. Being a virgin doesn’t make you any better than someone sexually active – just inexperienced. Having a better education system regarding sex, and the consequences of unprotected sex, is the biggest deal to me. I waited until I was 18 – not because I wanted to wait for marriage, but there were no worthy subjects at my high school. Heh.

  11. @SicPreFix: I’m slightly confused as to why you require a detailed exposition on which society. Which societies don’t value virginity to some degree or another. Most of the societies and cultures I have looked into in any detail have placed a rather high value on virgins than non-virgins, especially virgins who are women. So, it seems your question is the truly odd one, and most people, regardless of their place of origin, are probably fully aware of what is meant by the question.

    As to the question of whether we should place a high value on it, no, I certainly don’t place a high value on my own, I just haven’t done what is necessary to “lose” it, for whatever reason.

  12. @SpiralArchitect: but you are forgetting every young girls’ virgin vag protector.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfLht1WFfQw

    Losing your virginity, is more nerves and pressure than anything. You try and do just as the porn stars do, but then you realize there isn’t any wah-wah chicka-chika guitar going on and that their boobies are real (like bags of sand to the touch) and there is no way you can do the jack-hammer technique (her in a hand-stand while you hold her upside down by her ankles). Umm…yeah.

  13. @killyosaur42:

    I don’t really require a “detailed exposition on which society”. But the more I think about it, the more I feel the question is, in terms of specificity and meaningful answerability, empty. It seems to me that to answer it one must invent one’s own personal definition of not only what “society” means, but what the question is asking.

    And I find that to be quite odd.

    Let me try and explain.

    From The Free Dictionary (for convenience).

    Society:

    1. a. The totality of social relationships among humans.
    b. A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.
    c. The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group.

    2. An organization or association of persons engaged in a common profession, activity, or interest: a folklore society; a society of bird watchers.

    3. a. The rich, privileged, and fashionable social class.
    b. The socially dominant members of a community.

    4. Companionship; company: enjoys the society of friends and family members.

    Which of the above definitions is our working definition of society? For this question; in this context?

    Each one of the above definitions would lead to a different answer, and in several cases no answer would even be possible because of the probable range of differing, even opposing values within that defined society.

    For example, Canadian society includes muslims, catholics, theists, deists, onomatopoeists, anarchists, libertarians, jews, politicians left, right, and centrist, first nations, ex-pat americans, brits, and UKers, and each and everyone of those groups would hold a different value for virginity, if even that could be stated due to the complexity and range of individually held values within each “society”.

    In the small society of my family, each of the members therein held a different value for virginity. Some felt it was important; others didn’t really think about it all. So what would the answer be? What could the answer be?

    In the end, it seems to me that if we must invent a personal defintion of both society and of the question, one which is probably shared by only a few if any at all, then how can the question be answered effectively.

    _______________________
    OT:

    Hey, I know it seems like I am getting all tied up about something quite small — and yes, that is in some ways true. But as I peruse the Internet reading various and sundry Skeptic sites, blogs, et al, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that a small majority of folks writing on the Internet, including professional writers, are increasingly non-specific, inaccurate, and sometimes seemingly illiterate (mis-spellings, incorrect or missing punctuation, unclear, vague ideas, mis-statements, wrong syntax, incomplete sentences, etc.).

    And that can only lead to misunderstanding, misinformation, confusion, and lack of coherence.

    The misuse of language is rampant, word definitions often little more than a personal thing of the moment, and much worse.

    So, I guess I am taking this admittedly probably inappropriate moment (and it is absolutely not some kind of pointed attack on carr2d2) to shine some light on the importance of accuracy, clarity, and specificity when writing on the Internet, especially (in my opinion) when dealing with the skeptical community.

    I feel that skeptics, more than anyone else must be accurate, specific, and clear in their prose. After all, the “enemy” doesn’t care about such things, and that inherently helps to weaken their argument. We should be careful to not be painted by that sticky brush.

    Please excuse my pedantry — it’s in the genes.

    Like I say, I know this is probably not the best time and place to spew my wee literacy rant, but heck, the question struck me as more than vague, the ideas arrived, and so, off I go.

  14. @containscaffeine: Use the “E” word, I’m gonna need to see links to actual studies.

    And I take it that a bad first time screws you up for life? Is that what you’re saying?

    From my own experience (regaining consciousness the next day naked in a strange bed in an unfamiliar place next to women I had no recollection of ever previously meeting, let alone who’s name I knew, and with no memory of the previous night after my 7 pint of snakebite) and friends I’ve spoken to over the years, for most people losing their virginity ranges from anti-climax to tragi-farce.

    It’s sounds to me that the “Losing your virginity incorrectly leaves pschological scars” thing is weapons grade bullonium. It’s like claiming that if you stall or crash the gears on a car the first time you get behind the wheel you’ll be messed up

  15. Hey everybody. New member here. Thought a post about sex would be a good ice breaker.

    My virginity is of no value to me. In fact, I’d quite like to be rid of the damn thing.

    The value ascribed to it by society is just silly. There’s really no objective reason to think that someone who is a virgin is in any way superior to anyone who is not. Granted, risk of STD transmission from non-virgins is higher, but, well, there are plenty of preventative measures that intelligent people will use. So no big deal there.

    I actually grew up in an evangelical family, so there was plenty of pressure from family and friends to remain “pure.” I think it actually does more psychological damage than good. We were made to feel guilty for everything sex-related. Checking girls out was as much of a sin as actually having sex with them (god knows our thought, you see). Masturbation and pornography use were even discussed in the youth group I was involved in (before the end of my gradual deconversion, about a year ago). I was confused about dating in high school as well – since you can’t think about sex without sinning, and dating relationships necessarily involve some hint of sexuality, how can you date without sinning?.

    Anyway, what I’m saying is that putting virginity on a pedestal is silly, and psychologically unhealthy when done to the extent that the fundies do it.

  16. I think the idea of “saving yourself” for anything or anyone other than yourself and your own life is stupid, of course. I do think that sexual encounters should be meaningful and carefully considered and we should teach our kids to make wise choices, but we’ve got to stop putting such a stigma on any and all sex -whenever it is being had, whether it’s the first time or the eightieth.

  17. @Vengeful Harridan (Elexina): You can’t say “We should de-stigmatise and normalise sex and also keep sex as something that should be special & meaningful”

    It’s one or the other. It’s either special and meaningful and romantic OR it’s just another, pleasurable, bodily function like taking a piss or blowing your nose.

    Personally, as enjoyable as it is, I come down on the side of the latter, it’s not special, everyone does it and mostly not for the “right” lovey-dovey reasons.

  18. @russellsugden:

    I would like to be able to come down on the side of “just another, pleasurable, bodily function,” but I cannot. Almost everytime I get into a repeated sexual experience, i.e., more than a couple of times with the same partner, my genetics turn on the sentimental emotional gush factory and I end up falling in love/lust/need, whatever-the-hell.

    I hate it, kind of.

  19. I have always been of the mind that getting wrapped up in the politics of virginity is a recipe for discomfort, at the least. It’s not meaningless, per se, but any value ascribed to it stems from it being a sign of growing up, or of joining a chunk of the world that interacts in new ways, or whatever, or of having a new good experience, like maybe a trip to someplace new, (hehe), all of which are in any case optional and a sea change in your value as a person depending on what your tissues your genitals have touched.

    Sex is an adult activity- not that the youngins can’t do it, but it is something that requires adult considerations about safety and the emotional wellbeing and possible attachment of everyone involved. Those are hard problems, to be sure, but the sheer number of happy sexual partners the world over seems to suggest it isn’t intractable. As soon as you have the maturity, desire, and opportunity, why not start practicing?

  20. @SicPreFix: jesus christ! why does everything have to be an ordeal for you?! instead of assuming i am asking about a specific society which i expect you to guess at, you could just fill in, oh, i don’t know, maybe the one you live in. just a suggestion.

    you seem to continually miss the point of the afternoon inquisition. the idea is to start a conversation about something. it’s meant to be light and fun. if you don’t have an answer to the question (or if you think the question is stupid) then don’t answer it.

    becoming pedantic about a question whose wording you disagree with just makes you look like an ass. either answer the question or don’t.

  21. @Aristothenes: Sex is an adult activity- not that the youngins can’t do it, but it is something that requires adult considerations about safety and the emotional wellbeing and possible attachment of everyone involved.

    But that’s not the case is it? Our gene’s don’t give a fiddler’s elbow about emotional wellbeing, and frankly I doubt anyone who ever picked up anyone in a bar was thinking about anyone’s emotional wellbeing.

    Don’t get me wrong, it soundslike good patter, the sort of thing that after that 5th G&T might just tip you into the end zone, but seriously?

    It’s getting towards the end of the third date and you’re thinking about emotional wellbeing and potential attachment? Sheesh

  22. @russellsugden:
    So if you are saying what i think you are saying, anyone can just walk into a bar, whip their c*ck out and because of our genes we all will immediately succumb to the sex? Sure there are some that will, but most people want to know the person they are going to be having sex with.

    I took @Aristothenes ‘s remark of it being “an adult activity” to mean that there is a certain level of maturity (mental maturity) that comes with sex. One doesn’t want to screw someone and end up with a Fatal Attraction-type issue to develop.

    Knowing who you’re blowing not only can make it more intense and enjoyable, but it is also safer for both people in a world where STD’s can be easily contacted.

  23. @SicPreFix: 1c is usually the definition meant when one asks the question “What value does X have in society” or some similar question. I think in this case it comes down to past experiences and context when determining what one means in certain cases although, I understand the issue you are bringing up and think it is actually a good point. It is of course the same issue one runs into when dealing with, say, creationists when trying to explain that the word “theory” in the phrase “Theory of Evolution” is not the same thing as when we say “I have a theory about some something or other.” But I think to a degree, at least within the context of the AI’s, it is assumed a certain level of understanding what is meant with certain words, such as society, as the other definitions posted are not as commonly used as 1c is. Maybe in the circles you run in, you find a lot of Society ofs, or generally refer to your friends and family as a “society”, but most people, at least from my own experiences in this world limited though it may be, do not.

    @MolecularFossils: really am in agreement with you on point # 1, though I am still technically “waiting.” (For what, I am not exactly sure, but waiting none-the-less.)

  24. @Tim3P0: No, I’m not saying that. But I am saying that people are not the saints we’d all like to think we are and that we’re all a lot more base and animalistic than we’d like to admit.

    Maybe I just hang out in a ropier types of bars than you.

    What were you like in college? By the end of the first term at christmas I’d spent a night in every Hall on campus.

    I don’t think any level of mental maturity comes with sex, losing your virginity doesn’t require any level of mental maturity or magically endow maturity. If it did there’d be a lot more mature 18 year olds kicking about!

    I’m not saying everyone is lust-crazed but I think if we’re honest when it’s getting to the point of being a “done deal” we’re not thinking about relationships/emotions in the same way we might in the cold light of day.

    If everyone, or even say 51% of people, were so sensible and thoughtful there’d be no VD!

  25. @russellsugden: Well, to begin with, I DIDN’T say that. You put something in quotes which I did not say.
    Sex IS perfectly normal and should not be stigmatized or criminalized. However, I do think that people need to be careful with their sexual encounters and make wise choices. I see no contradiction in that, and I would appreciate it if you didn’t put words in my mouth.

    @SicPreFix: Why? Because sex is freaking awesome and we should share it in ways that are important and meaningful to us and shouldn’t just wing it around willy nilly until it loses all meaning.

  26. @russellsugden: I am fully aware of that fact, but that hasn’t yet given me the necessary push to break down the inhibitions that keep me from approaching the beautiful stranger, or in other cases, knowing when the opportunity is ideal to ask the attractive acquaintance out for drinks or something. I also tend to over-think things, especially in moments when there might be opportunities and I sort of know it, to the point where I generally choose not to “go for it”, as it were, out of fear of my gut reaction being incredibly wrong.

  27. @Vengeful Harridan (Elexina):

    Oh, I think there are definitely instances where sex can be criminalized, especially when it comes to rape and/or incest. In this case, its a violent offense just like any other. Consensual adult incest, I’m still not sure about, and I definitely disagree that children that have sex should be considered sexual predators as they currently are.

    To me, the oddest thing about our concept of virginity is that it only applies to a very specific type of sexual activity. I had many sexual experiences before I lost my “virginity”, but what is the real difference two people getting each other off manually and two people getting each other off through penile-vaginal intercourse? The pair-bonding neurochemicals are still there, as are many of the risk factors for STD’s. Why is the latter type of virginity so coveted?

  28. @russellsugden:
    “Our gene’s don’t give a fiddler’s elbow about emotional wellbeing”

    I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea. Is it really so foreign an idea that men who do care about the emotional well being of their partner, rear more and/or healthier children? There are examples in the animal kingdom (in fact, in primates alone) that span the entire monogamy-polygamy spectrum. They are simply different reproductive strategies, and humans probably fall some where in the middle.

  29. @russellsugden: I don’t think any level of mental maturity comes with sex, losing your virginity doesn’t require any level of mental maturity or magically endow maturity. If it did there’d be a lot more mature 18 year olds kicking about!

    ———

    Which no one said. They said that if you’re going to have sex, you should have emotional maturity. For example, your past experiences seem to have reduced you to a pathetic caricature of a rational being, incapable of understanding even the simplest of concepts beyond your own specialty.

    For example, the idea that “our genes don’t give a fiddlers elbow about our emotional well-being” is a statement of such profound ignorance that I am uncertain where to even begin considering it’s correction.

    First off, our genes don’t “care” about anything. The word doesn’t have any meaning in that context. Secondly, lust is an emotion, and if we don’t feel it appropriately (as well as all the other emotions), we become–like you are set on becoming–a genetic dead end.

    So in fact, your genes, if they were entities that gave a fiddlers elbow about anything, would dearly wish that you were someone other than who you are… and those who are different than you are are going to be more successful genetically.

    Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to understand that, since you can’t seem to understand the difference between someone saying that sexual activity should be maturely considered and someone saying that sexual activity confers emotional maturity.

  30. @Tim3P0: Turtles are pretty cool, especially sea turtles. I am partial to sharks myself, especially the Great White and the Whale Shark. I know SOME of the commenters here (InfiniteMonkey) have some irrational fears about these beautiful wonders of evolution. Oh well.

  31. @killyosaur42: I know SOME of the commenters here (InfiniteMonkey) have some irrational fears about these beautiful wonders of evolution.

    ————

    There are people who are afraid of whale sharks? Now, White Sharks… I’m not afraid of White Sharks right now, but I’m also 1200 feet above sea level

  32. Individuals should make their own decisions on how much or how little importance they wish to attach to have or not having sex.
    When people engage in sex with one another they should be honest about what type of encounter they are seeking (one night stand, expanding an existing relationship, etc).
    Society should have no say or try to promote any specific type of sexual activity as the “accepted” or “norm”.
    (I am speaking about adults.)

  33. Virginity, virginity. . . that’s something to do with olive oil, right?

    lust is an emotion, and if we don’t feel it appropriately (as well as all the other emotions), we become–like you are set on becoming–a genetic dead end.

    Inclusive fitness.

  34. @Tressa:

    “Individuals should make their own decisions on how much or how little importance they wish to attach to have or not having sex.”

    Right, I agree. But this isn’t always the case, is it? Speaking from personal experience, our feelings toward sex are hugely shaped by the feelings of our parents and peer-groups.

  35. In a word, no. I think that virginity is way overplayed. It reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A newly married couple, both virgins, try their first attempt at consumating their marriage. Wife sitting on chair looking out window, husband in bathroom says to wife are you undressed yet? Wife to husband “No, my mother told me this would be the best night of my life and I don’t want to miss a minute of it, we can try the sex later.”

  36. I would agree both with the posters who say that virginity is over rated and with those that say not to rush losing it. My own experience is that I was quite inhibited and didn’t even have a romantic relationship until I was 23. As a result, once I was in a relationship, I was quite happy that the other person was ready to go straight to intercourse, but once we started, I was left feeling “What’s the big deal?” I think a bit of exploration before going to f*cking might have helped, though I’m not positive.

    So basically, I should have lost my virginity a few years earlier, but I should have insisted on foreplay :-)

  37. At this point in my life virginity has no special meaning for me personally, doesn’t matter what another person did or didn’t do.

    As for society I think the need to come in “first place” is a factor in the desirability of being with a virgin. It is a competitive, controlling and ultimately demeaning outlook though and I hope that it fades as fast as the active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy.

  38. I still have mine. No, it doesn’t really deserve the status society gives it.

    I would like to lose it in some sort of relationship because I would rather whatever initial slip ups be giggled at and forgiven by someone I trust than by a stranger. That, and I lack the confidence to even consider attempting to have sex with someone outside a relationship or the awareness of others that I would be able to tell if a girl was hitting on me.

  39. I think (as MolecularFossils said) it’s odd that there is a fixation on one specific type of sexual activity.
    There is no meaningful physical difference between the one state and the other, and the idea that someone could have spent 30 years in lesbian porn films and still count as a virgin because she’s only stuck herself with plastic willies is baffling.

    It leads to situations where people pledge to keep their virginity, but they’re still horny teenagers, so they do everything else they can to get off. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Obviously, in cultures with which I am unfamiliar, it may have some sort of religious significance, which is important to remember, because you don’t want to offend the big guy.

  40. I feel like I should comment, but I don’t have much to say other than I haven’t thought my viriginity since I lost it. I may have thought about it right before or after the 2nd time I had sex. Although it did feel like a bigger deal at the time

  41. @sethmanapio: I see, you’re interested in how people should behave and I’m interested in how people do behave and, lets be honest, most people start having sex long before they reach the “grown-up” level of maturity.

    If we talk about what we think people should do with one another, we’re no different to a pair of Cardinals talking about sex. All that matters is what people do do, not how we’d like them to behave.

    I’ll re-phrase what I said before: The level of pschological maturity is completely immaterial in terms reproductive success.

    There are many of people who never reach what you and I would call “maturity” who still manage to produce plenty of children, in fact they’re the one’s who have the most children (e.g Karen Mathews who had 7 children with 6 men and tried to fake the kidnaping of one in the worst thought out scam of all time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon_Matthews )

    @MolecularFossils: I’m of the view that we are driven to be considerate of the wellbeing of our children rather than the people with whom we have sex.

    Maybe it’s me, but I’ve always thought that there was a difference between someone I’m in a relationship with and someone I’d had sex with.

    Assuming we are programmed to deeply care about the people we f*ck and given we’re quite capable of impregnating someone we’ve “pulled” in a bar (who’s name we might never know) and had sex with only once, then we’d all have some deep abiding connection to anyone we ever had sex with!

    Part of the catholic church’s push to prevent sex before marriage is because “it’s better for the children if dad cares deeply for mum” and the best way to achieve that is to maximise the emotional connection between the parents, and the best way to maximise that is to make sure they’ve only ever “known” one person.

    Given ~28million men in the US (http://www.menshealth.com/cda/article.do?site=MensHealth&channel=best.life&category=family.guy&conitem=8a37302052421110VgnVCM10000013281eac____) are raising another man’s children without knowing it, being uninvolved with one’s offspring (but having a lot of them) seems like a successful stratagy even for humans.

  42. @killyosaur42: I don’t if you knew this already, generally (but not exclusively) even in our enlightened times it’s the guy who makes all the running. There could have been many times when the girl was thinking “why is this guy not hitting on me? He mustn’t fancy me!”

  43. I think Virginity and its opposite “slut or skank” etc. implies that sex is a dirty thing and that people who haven’t had it are somehow pure and clean, and the more you practice it, the more you are soiling your body, soul ,whatever. This is an outdated concept that smacks of Abrahamic goat herder monotheism/patriarchal-ism, and it should be chucked out the door along with many other archaic traditions . Any healthy human being,man or woman, enjoys sex, and are just as decent and upright as any.

  44. @russellsugden:

    “I’m of the view that we are driven to be considerate of the wellbeing of our children rather than the people with whom we have sex. ”

    I’m no biologist (oh wait, yes I am), but it seems you’d need to be concerned with people you’re having sex with before you’d need to worry about any children. lol. Sorry, I’m not trying to be a dick. But anyway, I think I was being ambiguous when I used the world “child.” I’m really talking about older teenagers, which tend to have sex with other teenagers. I am NOT talking about adults having sex with teenagers or younger children.

    “Assuming we are programmed to deeply care about the people we f*ck and given we’re quite capable of impregnating someone we’ve “pulled” in a bar (who’s name we might never know) and had sex with only once, then we’d all have some deep abiding connection to anyone we ever had sex with!”

    You seem to be implying that this the dominant mating strategy in our species. There is probably a pretty large fitness benefit for children raised in a two parent home, since more resources would be available to the developing child. In fact, we’ve spend most of our time evolving as a species in relatively small yet highly related groups. There was lots of community input into child rearing, and you couldn’t go around fucking every thing in sight because you were probably related to many of them. The situation I’ve just described would likely favor societies that have mating barriers in place to prevent inbreeding depression.

    And the article even says that its only about a million men, or 3.7% of men that are unknowingly raising another man’s child, and that is only in the US. That is hardly what I’d consider an evolutionary stable strategy.

    Consider this, if couples were 100% monogamous, than one “mutant”cheater male would be able to come into the population and be hugely successful reproductively. He would get lots of copies of his genes into the next generation, and need to expend very little energy raising them. BUT! Then his “cheater” genes would then spread throughout the population, leaving very few “monogamous” males genes to invest energy into raising young. Any fathers that do invest that energy and don’t cheat would likely have more successful sons, further spreading those genes.

    Humans are likely somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, where we have generally large amounts paternal input (although it is variable), and generally monogamous pair-bonds (though again, highly variable). Organisms that don’t mate for life, or have a high amount of cheating going on, tend to have relatively low amounts of parental (and especially paternal) input.

  45. @@russellsugden: “@MolecularFossils: I’m of the view that we are driven to be considerate of the wellbeing of our children rather than the people with whom we have sex.

    Maybe it’s me, but I’ve always thought that there was a difference between someone I’m in a relationship with and someone I’d had sex with.”

    There are plenty of known mechanisms that /can potentially/ lead to increased bonding between two people who have sex. The huge one that everyone talks about is the neurostransmitter oxytocin, which is released on orgasm or in other forms of intimate contact. None of that means you specifically will forget everything about a person you’ve had sex with and suddenly love them, nor will it mean you can’t get up and leave the next day and completely forget about them. Biology doesn’t work that way, and I hope people still stop treating it as so black and white. The brain is a vast network of competing influences, and if you don’t place much significance on sex, then it probably isn’t going to affect you as much. People are different.

  46. @MolecularFossils: I’m quite happy to agree we probably evolved to live in small bands of hunter-gatherers. In which case offspring would have been raised communially.

    And since the whole community is involved in raising offspring then only an individual’s genetic fittness (assesed visually in seconds) need matter (subconiciously: “If she looks healthy, she must have good genes and come from a successfull group”) in which case the best stratagy would be to turn up, deposit one’s gametes and move on to the next group further up the valley.

    To give your offspring the best start it’d be better to pick a mate with lots of aunts and grandparents living you raise your offspring rather than one who’s “mature” at 18.

    What monogamous pair-bonding exists today appears to last ~5 years rather than for life. The more open and free a society becomes, the increase in serial-monogamy as we fullfil our personal desires. Desires driven by the urge to spread our genetic material around.

    A lot of what you say about caring for the partner and offspring’s wellbeing is bearly distinguishable from what the church says. As I read it, you (and quite a few other people) are saying that people shouldn’t have sex until they are “mature” enough to want to enter into a stable, long term relationship for the raising of children with the people they find sexually attractive.

    Firstly, that’s a fag paper’s breadth away from saying they should be married first and Secondly, that’s not what happens in real life.

    What I’m saying is that the reality is that people don’t think about “the emotional consequences” of jumping into bed with someone.

    Personally I don’t care either way about how people behave if it doesn’t rob my pocket or break my leg, but I do care that there is a lot of BS out there about sex being in someway special.

  47. Define “virginity.”

    No, seriously, what the hell does it even mean anymore? “Virgin” used to mean someone who had never been sexually active in any way, which was synonymous with someone who had never had vaginal intercourse. So now what? What about oral and manual and anal and breast sex and armpit-fucking and footjobs and frottage and irrumatio and tribadism? Does a lesbian ever lose her virginity? How about a gay man? If a bisexual pursues relations with both males and females, do they lose their virginity once or twice?

    I pose that virginity is entirely meaningless because nobody actually knows what it means. Just because a girl is a virgin doesn’t mean that she’s sexually “pure”–and, sadly, in the case of nonconsensual sex, someone can technically not be a virgin (in the definition of “never had vaginal intercourse”) but still be sexually “pure.”

    The only kind of sexual purity that I care about is that I am free of horrible diseases.

  48. @russellsugden:

    No, no. There are alot of misunderstandings there. First off, the term “fitness,” as I used it, and how it is understood in genetic terms, is a quantitative measure of one’s ability to have fertile offspring. Its another way of asking how many grandchildren you have. You don’t and can’t asses this visually in seconds.

    Secondly, when we select mates, we aren’t subconsciously evaluating health and equating that to good genes. By way of natural selection, what we find attractive IS good health.

    You talk about depositing one’s gametes and moving on, but you’re forgetting that such a “cheater” would likely have their mating attempts thwarted by the already pair-bonded males, or by the community raising the child. And you completely missed my point about this mating strategy not being a good one in the long term. You go spreading your genes about, but your children don’t do as well or have as many sons themselves, and your “cheater” genes don’t take hold in the population. Because mammals like us take along time to develop into adulthood, which means alot of parental investment, those children with the most resources will continue to outlast those with less.

    “What monogamous pair-bonding exists today appears to last ~5 years rather than for life. ”

    I’d like to see some evidence to back up that statement.

    “A lot of what you say about caring for the partner and offspring’s wellbeing is bearly distinguishable from what the church says… that people shouldn’t have sex until they are “mature” enough to want to enter into a stable, long term relationship for the raising of children with the people they find sexually attractive.”

    No, that isn’t what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that people who do enter in a monogamous relationship, tend to raise more and healthier offspring. That is the same logically fallacy that people use when attempting to link Darwin to Hitler. I’m telling you what DOES happen in evolution. You’re fallaciously accusing me of saying what OUGHT to therefore happen in society. I’m making no moral judgments here. In fact, I think our morals are simply an emergent property of our biology.

  49. @MolecularFossils: Let me see if I’ve got this right: You’re saying that people who enter into monogamous relationships produce more and fitter offspring.

    This is what I’m saying: People who can convince someone to enter into a temporary one-sided monogamous relationship with them, provided those people have a sufficient kin-group to help raise any offspring, will produce more and more genetically varied offspring. And that while there might be an idealised romatic monogamous relationship, few if any people actually adhere to this ideal and furthermore to maintain this ideal is disingenous and counterproductive to the wellbeing of “society”.

  50. @russellsugden: “It’s sounds to me that the “Losing your virginity incorrectly leaves pschological scars” thing is weapons grade bullonium. It’s like claiming that if you stall or crash the gears on a car the first time you get behind the wheel you’ll be messed up”.

    I’m a little late on this, but your statement above didn’t add up for me.
    There are ‘incorrect’ ways of losing your virginity, such as being raped. And they do indeed leave psychological scars. Big ones.

  51. @Skept-Artist,
    I agree with your remarks on rape, however I believe RussellSugden was commenting on people who insist that “everyone should wait to have sex until marriage, or you’ll ruin your life forever”

  52. Losing my virginity was just verse 7 in my own personal version of Is That All There Is, not exactly life-changing.

    However, now that I’ve got a 13 year old niece, I’ve developed this weird knee-jerk negativity to teen-aged sex. I finally had to sit myself down and figure out why. Funny, it has nothing to do with pregnancy or STD’s. Those are the logical reasons. My biggest concern is that she’ll have sex before she is ready and will let the hormones distract her from the things that will build her future .

    This made me realize that on some level, I don’t trust her. A sobering thought. She’s incredibly intelligent, and very focused. Why should having sex change any of that?

  53. @russellsugden: I see, you’re interested in how people should behave and I’m interested in how people do behave…

    ———-

    No. The commenter made a comment about how people should behave and you claimed that they made a comment about how people do behave. My interests and yours have nothing to do with your construction of a strawman and your vast and incomprehensible ability to miss a point.

  54. @russellsugden: I’ll re-phrase what I said before: The level of pschological maturity is completely immaterial in terms reproductive success.

    ————-

    And I’ll say again: that is total bullshit. But it is bullshit of a very special kind. It’s the sort of bullshit that I would expect from someone who doesn’t think much beyond his own prick.

    You see, Russell, while it is true that reproductive success in males is only related to their ability to have sex with females, females actually have to survive pregnancy and raise babies past weaning. Hence, they need to be significantly more fit. This would include pyschological maturity for most of human history.

    You also have a limited viewpoint of “reproductive success”, which to you appears to be about generating the most offspring, rather than the most secure offspring. You ignore the interplay between genes and society when it suits and bring it into play when you want to use our own societies investment in random offspring as a talking point. And of course, as is typical, you make up a story in your head about how everyone who is not russellsugden is arguing in favor of a 14th century view of sex, marriage, relationships, and family.

  55. @Bookitty: Why should having sex change any of that?

    ————

    I’m assuming this is some sort of joke? Sex is massively powerful as a distraction and certainly more consuming than anything a thirteen year old is likely to have encountered since infancy.

  56. The only thing related to virginity that I actually have an opinion on is the idea that a virgin, by definition hasn’t had a lot (any?) experience with sex, and after that it’s simply a matter of taste. Some people prefer partners that are “like new” others prefer “slightly used” and there are good arguments for both.

    As to the question: Do I think it should have the value society ascribes to it…. no. But then, I don’t think society is close to the bullsey on a lot of things, especially having to do with moral value.

    Society should treat virginity as a medical status, and everything else is personal.

    As for all the “reproductive success” comments I see here: That shouldn’t matter one bit. With overpopulation reaching critical levels and all sorts of medical assistant should one actually wish to get pregnant and “continue the species” the actual act of sex is being reduced to what I believe it should be reduced to: fun. The rest is Psychological bullshit.

  57. @russellsugden:

    “People who can convince someone to enter into a temporary one-sided monogamous relationship with them, provided those people have a sufficient kin-group to help raise any offspring, will produce more and more genetically varied offspring. And that while there might be an idealised romatic monogamous relationship, few if any people actually adhere to this ideal and furthermore to maintain this ideal is disingenous and counterproductive to the wellbeing of “society”.

    This is far and away the most sensible thing you’ve posted in this thread. From the little I know about monogamy in people and in other lifelong pair-bonding animals, it seems right to say that the actual behavior of monogamy generally includes occasional (or frequent, as the case may be) fooling around. I would guess that the reason for this is, as you say, related to producing “more and more genetically varied offspring”.

    A couple of things I’d point out:

    First, the emphasis on ‘temporary’ is possibly misplaced. While it fits in with the popular conception of rampant divorce in America, that view of things strikes me as colored by the misplaced idea that marriage is sacred and all relationships should be ‘successful’. ‘Successful’ meaning, ridiculously, that one partner dies before the partnership ends or even before either partner ‘cheats’. The actual situation, if viewed from a neutral standpoint, is more positive towards longterm ‘monogamy’. The majority of marriages (around 60% in the US) do not end in divorce. My understanding is that those who marry in their late 20’s or later, rather than in their teens or early 20’s, do better than that, as do those who have children. I’d be interested to see research about the pair bonding behavior of humans as a species, including those who are not and never get married. But it seems like the assumption that long term or permanent pair bonding is the predominant behavior is at least as good as the assumption that it isn’t.

    Second, I don’t know why you would describe the monogamous relationships as ‘one-sided’. I’ll guess that you mean that the woman stays ‘faithful’ while the man ‘cheats’? Is this the case? I suspect not, but I’m open to correction.

    And last, I don’t know–and you don’t either–that the idealized version of monogamy is actually “counterproductive to the wellbeing of society”. My inclination would be to believe that we’d all be better off if couples understood that ‘cheating’ is a normal part of a monogamous relationship and were prepared to approach their marriages with sensible strategies for keeping this behavior from causing hurt feelings or leading to dangerous sexual practices. Still, it could be the case that the romantic lie is all that holds the whole system together. This is a question for research as well.

    I’ll give my short answer to the ‘value of virginity’ question in another post; one which people will be more likely to read.

  58. @swordsbane: the actual act of sex is being reduced to what I believe it should be reduced to: fun. The rest is Psychological bullshit.

    ———

    Um, no. The reduction of something from biology (reproduction) to psychology (fun) does not reduce the biology to psychological bullshit, or magically change the endocrine system to eliminate sexual compulsion, innapropriate attachment, jealousy, pair bonding, and all the other things about sex that are not just ‘fun’.

    The word you might want is “recreation”. Rock climbing is recreation. If you want to survive doing it, you should do it responsibly. Sex is much the same.

  59. NoReply: “My inclination would be to believe that we’d all be better off if couples understood that ‘cheating’ is a normal part of a monogamous relationship and were prepared to approach their marriages with sensible strategies for keeping this behavior from causing hurt feelings or leading to dangerous sexual practices.”

    Your inclination is wrong. Cheating is NOT a normal part of a monogamous relationship. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a monogamous relationship, would it? Both people in a relationship should have a clear understanding of what they’re getting into, monogamous or not. The ‘human nature’ argument is a cop out. “Well, it’s human nature to cheat and so we should expect that.”

    No. Absolutely not. That’s a load of crap. If you don’t think that it’s possible to do that, then don’t get into a monogamous relationship. If you do, then go for it. It’s got nothing to do with human nature. We have a very well developed brain. Unlike a lot of other life forms on this planet, we get to choose. Human progress allows us to refuse to be slaves to our baser natures, or did the last few centuries mean nothing?

  60. sethmanapio: “Um, no. The reduction of something from biology (reproduction) to psychology (fun) does not reduce the biology to psychological bullshit, or magically change the endocrine system to eliminate sexual compulsion, innapropriate attachment, jealousy, pair bonding, and all the other things about sex that are not just ‘fun’.

    The word you might want is “recreation”. Rock climbing is recreation. If you want to survive doing it, you should do it responsibly. Sex is much the same.”

    I think you’re mixing sex and relationship. Sex has physical issues with it (STD’s, children, etc) but shouldn’t carry social stigmas with it. That is human invention we use to either justify our urges or to put controls on them. So what if we’re inclined to behave certain ways in response to our sexual desires, but if you want to get basic, we’re inclined to fight for our food and our mates. We don’t do that anymore. That’s called progress. My point is that sex isn’t for procreation anymore and we shouldn’t center our social morals around the idea that it is, and it’s been a LONG time since sex was about relationships.

    A relationship is different.. or should be. You enter into a relationship with someone because you want to share intimate parts of your life. That carries social issues with it beyond sex, but even then, those social issues are what we make of them. Whatever sort of partnership the two (or more?) people involved would like to try, I don’t really care, and neither should you, just as long as everyone involved isn’t being tricked into something they don’t want to do.

  61. @MolecularFossils:

    Organisms that don’t mate for life, or have a high amount of cheating going on, tend to have relatively low amounts of parental (and especially paternal) input.

    And in a lot of those cases the offspring take less time to develop than those organisms do and in some cases (i.e. sharks, crocodiles) are born with the full tool set necessary to survive.

  62. Does the idea of virginity have any meaning to you?

    Sure. There is some trust/vulnerability/intimacy baggage related to sex that I think it’s generally unwise to ignore–virgin or not. Getting sexual at any point is going to carry some meaning for people who are sensitive to that aspect of the experience. The first time, then, might have some special significance as the first time you were equipped to deal with that with someone who was willing to do the same with you. Or it might not, depending on the circumstances.

    Perhaps ‘virginity’ carries the wrong connotations about purity, but there’s some real meaning to be found in the emotional results of getting it on for the first time. I see no reason to shun that.

    Do you think it should have the value society ascribes to it?

    I’m reading this primarily as “do you think people should go out of their way to be ‘pure’ for their husbands/wives”. My answer to that is no.

    I also think the common definition of virginity is suspect. It makes more sense to talk about many virginities. One might be a handjob virgin, or an anal virgin or a rocky horror virgin. I don’t think any one of these has any more meaning than the person who is the virgin places on them. Which virginity, or which combination relates to the ‘meaning’ I talked about above is a tougher question.

  63. @swordsbane:

    Unlike a lot of other life forms on this planet, we get to choose.

    This is where you go wrong. We can’t simply will ourselves out of our behavioral predispositions. The assumption that humans are the one species that is above above the influences of biology on behavior is misguided as the assumption that we are at the center of the universe was. There’s room for discussion about how our desires, emotions, etc… interplay with our capacity for abstract reason to shape our behavior and how all that relates to free will of the kind that you’re invoking. Grasping to your sense of control doesn’t change that it has everything to do with human nature.

    I’m not trying to say that cheating should be forgiven or overlooked. I’m just saying that couples should be willing to talk about desires and be understanding of each others’ needs. Maybe that leads to allowing a little play on the side or maybe it just keeps the two partners feeling like they’re on the same side.

    And for the record, this is coming from someone who is in a monogamous relationship and has no desire to sleep around.

    @killyosaur42: Congrats on the cigars and the 1/2 marathon. A good combo if you ask me.

  64. @russellsugden:

    “People who can convince someone to enter into a temporary one-sided monogamous relationship with them, provided those people have a sufficient kin-group to help raise any offspring, will produce more and more genetically varied offspring.”

    Um, no. If its temporary and one-sided, then its not monogamous.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monogamous_pairing_in_animals

    Even if you avoid being killed by mates and go around impregnating everything that moved and had everyone else raise your all your offspring, completely removed from any sort of parental investment…you STILL would not win the long race of evolution. Why? Because your offspring are STILL at a disadvantage when compared to those that have two parents. Do you really think you’re the first person to think of this? If this were a good strategy, don’t you think we’d all be doing it? And this all as absolutely NOTHING to do with morality of any sort. Substitute starfish in for humans if it helps, since it seems you lack the ability to comprehend this topic except in terms of people and culture.

    “And that while there might be an idealised romatic monogamous relationship, few if any people actually adhere to this ideal and furthermore to maintain this ideal is disingenous and counterproductive to the wellbeing of “society”.”

    Seriously, what the hell are you talking about? When the hell did I even mention romance? Or the well-being of society? I think sethmanapio said it best when he quipped that you’re making “up a story in your head about how everyone who is not russellsugden is arguing in favor of a 14th century view of sex, marriage, relationships, and family.”

  65. NoReply: “And for the record, this is coming from someone who is in a monogamous relationship and has no desire to sleep around.”

    Then what? Of course you should learn all you can about where our urges/impulses/reactions come from, but it’s an unwarranted step to say “allowing a little play on the side”

    You CAN’T have play on the side in a monogamous relationship, by definition. That’s like saying: “Well I only have one arm… except when I have two.” It makes no sense. It’s not a monogamous relationship if there are more than two people involved. That’s why it’s called “cheating” It’s a semantic issue, not a relationship issue, but it’s important if you want to avoid confusion.

    As for the rest: We are animals, and yes we have instincts and desires that are born out of the need to procreate and continue the species, but that in itself doesn’t have anything to do with our social conventions. We have the choice to give into our natural desires or fight against them, and neither one is right or wrong in this situation. We’ve done it in other areas and we call that progress. That’s the choice I’m referring to. We do not need to be concerned with perpetuating the species, even if that is what our bodies are trying to do. We don’t need to rely on subtle queues to pick “the right mate” because the mate I want might have nothing to do with successful reproduction. I don’t even have to have kids at all if I don’t want to, so I can shag who I want if I’m so inclined. The human drive to reproduce will be counter-productive then. We decide what we want, then we figure out a way to go get it. What you’re saying sounds like “Well, we’re drawn in this direction by our hind brain, so this is the direction we should go.” No.

  66. @swordsbane:

    You CAN’T have play on the side in a monogamous relationship, by definition. That’s like saying: “Well I only have one arm… except when I have two.” It makes no sense. It’s not a monogamous relationship if there are more than two people involved.

    Dan Savage is fond of saying that monogamy isn’t like virginity. It’s not something you have, then lose, and it’s gone. Instead, it’s like sobriety. Sometimes people fall off the wagon, then they sober back up. You’re right, what makes it a monogamous relationship is the agreement to keep it just between two partners. But that agreement can be broken and repaired. More frequently, it’s broken and swept under the rug by one partner; which is sad.

    What you’re saying sounds like “Well, we’re drawn in this direction by our hind brain, so this is the direction we should go.” No.

    All this talk about hind brains has been foisted on me. What I’m saying has nothing to do with hind brains or subconscious/conscious thought distinctions. What I’m saying is that our entire brains, all our thoughts and behaviors, are those of animals. Our behavior is, in large part, the result of evolution.

  67. NoReply: “What I’m saying is that our entire brains, all our thoughts and behaviors, are those of animals. Our behavior is, in large part, the result of evolution.”

    So we cheat because of evolution? We have no choice in the matter? That certainly sounds like what you’re saying, and that’s bullshit. We can become aware of our natural behavior and thwart it. We do that all the time. It is not always successful, but we are not slaves to our animal natures. If we weren’t able to do that, we would still be fighting over food/resources/sex.

    Civilization means that we recognize who and what we are, but we DECIDE not to be that way.

  68. @swordsbane: I think you’re mixing sex and relationship.

    —————

    And you’re wrong. Let’s try this metaphor again: Sex is like rock climbing. Both are fun, strenuous recreation, and in both cases, if you don’t know and trust your partner and your equipment, you can end up seriously fucked up or dead. You CAN go rock climbing with a random person you meet in a gym, and you’ll probably be okay, but it’s usually smarter and more fun to go with someone you know and trust.

    And sharing rock climbing or sex with another person does in fact have a hormonal effect, whether you like it or not, or think we’ve moved past it as a society. It has not in fact been a long time since sex was about relationships, because that would require some serious re-wiring of our brains and the last time I checked, we don’t have that kind of technology.

    Yes, people can have sex with strangers, and yes, we always have. But that’s just one dimension of sexual experience or sexual fulfillment. People are wired to bond with their sexual partners, and we’re also wired to be sexual opportunists. You can’t ignore one of these things by pretending that we’ve magically moved beyond our underlying biology by inventing the rubber.

  69. @sethmanapio: You CAN go rock climbing with a random person you meet in a gym, and you’ll probably be okay, but it’s usually smarter and more fun to go with someone you know and trust.

    My wife pointed out the other day, apropos of nothing, that if I were to die, say in some sort of accident, she would never have to worry about money again. Like I’m going rock climbing with her…

  70. sethmanapio: “You can’t ignore one of these things by pretending that we’ve magically moved beyond our underlying biology by inventing the rubber.”

    I didn’t say we’ve ‘magically’ moved beyond it. I said that we don’t have to be slaves to it. Knowing and trusting your partner is always better, but knowledge and trust is not a relationship. Rock climbing used to be about getting from one side of the mountain to the other, or getting from the bottom to the top, but it doesn’t have to be that now. It can be just about the climbing.

    My beef wasn’t with your argument specifically though. The notion that “guys cheat, so we better get used to it.” is stupid. Even if our brains are wired that way, it is obviously not required for sexual or emotional well being, or are you saying that everyone in a truly monogamous relationship is miserable? We need to be aware of where out compulsions come from in order to understand and control them, but any notion that we don’t have a choice in how we behave is something I can’t accept given the evidence to the contrary.

  71. @Vengeful Harridan (Elexina): “I do think that sexual encounters should be meaningful”.

    I really don’t agree with this. This may be true for YOU, and that’s totally cool, but it’s not true for everyone.

    I’ve had some ROCKIN’ good sex with people I don’t particularly like. REPUBLICANS for instance. I have no shame. They tend to rock it in bed.

    I have had some amazing one night stands. Of course, it’s meaningful in a sense: I had a LOT of fun and have a lot of great memories. Some one night stands were huge fails, but those make for hilarious stories.

    Of course, I’m not typical. I don’t attach love and feelings with most sexual encounters. I tend to value friendships more than I do relationships. My inner circle of friends are perhaps closer than most. Friends with benefits, hell yeah. I don’t get jealous. I’d probably be a prime candidate for being in a poly relationship, but I really value my space and I love living alone. An open relationship is very appealing, but that first means being in a relationship. ;) My best friends are in a poly, and open relationship. I take advantage of this often.

    As you can guess, I don’t hold much value to virginity. It’s used to either shame women for having sex, or shame men who haven’t had sex, and nothing more.

    If you want to have sex, have sex. If you want to wait, wait. I don’t care. As long as it is consensual, I really just don’t give a shit.

    But I really tire of people saying that sex “should be this” or “should be that” – it’s different for everyone. I am not typical, no, but I am not that unusual either.

  72. I think having a value on virginity is useful to stop teenage pregnancy and the spread of STD’s. Its not fun to have to explain to your Mum that you have things crawling on your thighs (i.e. crabs) at 16 years old like my poor brother, thankfully my mum’s a biology teacher and knew what he meant immediatley, I still laugh thinking about it, her frantically gathering up all the towels in the house and stuffing in them in the washing machine… :)

    However the huge negative and serious aspect of the term ‘virginity’ is that it can be, and is, used to hurt women world wide where they can be excommunicated or even murdered by their families/husbands if they are not ‘intact’ on the wedding night. The myth that having sex with a ‘virgin’ will cure AIDS etc.

    When I was fifteen my mum put me on the pill telling me it would help with my ‘monthly pain’ and I actually believed that that’s why i was on it, how naive…she was a great believer in the saying ‘prepare your kids for how the world is, not how you want it to be’ like somebody mentioned above.

  73. @Sarah: That’s probably the best way for a mom to view her kids’ sexuality. But she may not have been entirely lieing to you about the help with your monthly “pains.” I have a cousin who suffers from some nasty periods, that tend to increase her stress levels and just screws with her emotionally and physically, so she’s on the pill not just to prevent unwanted pregnancies but also to help her deal with the periods.

  74. @swordsbane:

    Civilization means that we recognize who and what we are, but we DECIDE not to be that way.

    I don’t see any reason to suppose that this is the case, or even that it’s possible. You keep wanting to make this about human nature vs. choice/reason/free will. For my money, that’s a false dichotomy. Our sapience, reason, etc… are not magic things that we use to thwart “who and what we are”. They are natural, evolved traits like any other.

    So yes, people choose to cheat because of evolution.

    Finally, I want to be clear that the characterization of my argument as “guys cheat so we’d better get used to it” is ridiculous. My argument has nothing to do with guys particularly. My suspicion is that women cheat just as often, or very nearly, as men. I want to keep this well clear of being the gender issue that the conventional wisdom would make it.

    “In response to surveys, 25 to 50 percent of American men report having had at least one episode of extramarital sex. The numbers for women are perhaps a bit lower, but in the same ballpark.”
    http://www.trinity.edu/rnadeau/FYS/Barash%20on%20monogamy.htm

  75. NoReply: Sorry. I shouldn’t have limited my remark to men.

    So you think there’s no way we, as a species can acknowledge the fact that we are wired for extra-marital sex, but then decide not to engage in it and still have happy fulfilled lives?

  76. @swordsbane: Knowing and trusting your partner is always better, but knowledge and trust is not a relationship.

    —————

    I’m sorry, but if you know and trust another person, you have a relationship with that person. Knowledge and trust is, in fact, a relationship.

    And while we may not have to be slaves to our endocrine systems, we do in fact have them, and we may in fact experience various emotions as a result of having sex with other people. Ignoring this is not a good idea. For every great one night stand, there’s the potential of some incredibly uncomfortable bullshit occurring because someone doesn’t react the way that you do to a situation.

    Treating sex or rock climbing as “just” fun is “just” stupid, but that doesn’t mean that rock climbing isn’t fun, or shouldn’t be pleasurable, or should only be engaged in with one partner for the rest of your life, or that you should never trust your instincts when you decide to go climbing with someone new, or that you have to commit to a long term climbing relationship with every person you meet.

    Wow. I really need to go rock climbing.

  77. @swordsbane:

    It might be unrealistic to suppose that we’ll accomplish that ‘as a species’. Still, I think you’re on the right track. For people who set out to be monogamous–and for all I know it’s the gold standard of relationship success that we really ought to all strive for if we’re to achieve personal happiness–the first step is, as you put it, to “acknowledge the fact that we are wired for extra-marital sex”. Begin by accepting that monogamy isn’t easy or natural or even the norm amongst ‘monogamous’ couples. People who approach it this way will, perhaps, be more likely to succeed in a totally exclusive relationship. Those who don’t succeed will almost certainly be more likely to stay together and happy through the occasional episode of cheating.

  78. @swordsbane: Rock climbing used to be about getting from one side of the mountain to the other, or getting from the bottom to the top, but it doesn’t have to be that now. It can be just about the climbing.

    ——–

    And no, it didn’t, and sex was never just about procreation. Chimpanzees climb trees for fun and have sex for fun. They just tend to to have fun around and with chimpanzees they know and trust.

  79. @killyosaur42: That’s true, she found me passed out on the bathroom floor with my ‘monthly pains’ after vomiting so that was part of it too, but I was also in a ‘long’ term relationship for a year with a guy and was busy losing my virginity whenever I could! :) Best fun ever.

    On monogamy, I think it can work once you don’t start to loose the excitement of sex with each other. I’ve been monogamous for nine years (only married for less than a year) and we have sex as a rule every two days even if you don’t feel like it much midweek, just throw on some porn for five minutes and away you go, easy! (and no, we don’t have kids and that’s a big part of it…..)

  80. My parents divorced and both proceeded to act like sluts so by the time I got rid (can’t say “lost” I do know what happened to it) of my viriginity, it really meant nothing. I celebrated by rolling the poor bastard off me, getting stoned and eating a whole box of Lucky Charms. “Losing” it was a totally overated experience and taught me that you don’t have to “be in love” to fuck. Sometimes, in fact, its a hinderance to a good time.

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close