A couple of months back I happened to attend an online event in which a very prominent entrepreneur and renowned philanthropist Dr Boby Chemmannur was asked this question, “What is your concept of virginity?”. 

He smiled and said, “Virginity is all about how pure you are to yourself. And I think I am an Ever-Virgin!”  The audience had a burst of good laughter on hearing this answer from a married man nearing his 60s. 

Well, I loved this answer! I went on to write a poem on a similar concept. (given below) 

I thought, in this edition of CeeVee’s Corner, why not write a bit more detail on the concept of virginity and why it’s time to redefine the meaning of the same. 

Virginity, as per Wikipedia definition goes as follows 

“Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions that place special value and significance on this state, predominantly towards unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honour, and worth.” (source: Wikipedia)

Hanne Blank, historian and author of Virgin: The Untouched History, talks about virginity as having different kinds of values put on it depending on where you go or who you talk to. And most importantly, the concept of virginity for men was historically non-existent!  The idea of purity is used as a means to control and manipulate women into following social norms, especially gender norms. It reinforces the idea that women cannot enjoy their sexuality. Virginity is treated as a commodity that can be “lost.” So according to this concept, when a woman has sex, she loses her value. Moreover, the construction of this ideal does not just hurt women; it’s destructive to men’s sexualities as well. Men are widely shamed for remaining virgins, as its loss is a sign of their masculinity and manhood.

As a young girl growing up in the 90s, I have seen movies in which when the heroine or the hero’s sister gets raped by the villain, it’s considered as a huge moral issue leading to the ultimate destruction of the family’s honour. And the father/mother goes to the extent of committing suicide. The worst of all: the girl is then forced to marry the villain because “she has now become the property” of the man however bad he is! Thankfully, in this decade, though our movies do not depict this kind of “rape marriages”, we still have the media and social narrative of the virginity of a girl – especially for marriage. Even today, we can see matrimonial advertisements demanding a “fair, beautiful and virgin” girl! 

But yes, we do have great examples who break these cultural/societal pressure. Recently I spoke to a young man in his late 20s who chose to marry a woman who was 3 years elder to him and a divorcee. Though all other parameters like religion, caste, family status etc. for an Indian marriage was ok, the boy’s family was indeed much concerned about the fact that the girl was not a virgin! This young man was as society wants, “fresh”! Whereas the girl was “used” already!  However, this man was quite adamant that he would marry this woman whatever and they are one of the happiest couples I have seen recently.

Well, my objective of this article is not to look at history, but about the future! 

Yes, it’s time to redefine the meaning of the word virginity getting associated with the body and to the associated sexuality! 

For me, a man or a woman is just as virgin as ever when they have purity of their mind. Integrity, honesty, virtue, and love while dealing with fellow beings are what makes a human being more virgin than the impurity associated with the loss of a small tissue on the reproductive organ! 

When I meet a person who is corrupt-free, integral at work, has a life of purpose, and is super confident of their body, I think they can be considered as a virgin. Even a prostitute who sells her body but shows integrity and compassion to fellow human beings can be a virgin than a man/woman who hasn’t had a sexual experience but is characterless otherwise! 

Even a man or woman who has reproduced or has had sex several times can be a virgin or an unmarried girl who has had sex before marriage can also be a virgin! After all, virginity is not just in the body!

Well, it’s high time that we redefine the meaning of virginity and start looking at human beings as a whole being instead of a body and specifically associating to sexual status! 

#CeeVee 

Dr Chandra Vadhana
Serial Entrepreneur | Voice Artist | Academician | Author |Feminist
Founder and Chief Mentor
Prayaana Labs
Email: connectceevee@gmail.com

#BobyChemmannur #Boche #virginity #virgin #sex #relationship #man #woman 

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