Filipino men consider virginity the ‘first in everything’. A gift, precious and rare, that his prospective wife could give him. It was originally alluded to the members of the Order of Virgins. A century later, it was used to describe Mary, the mother of Jesus, and then evolved to include the other virtuous and the naïve young women, irrespective of their religious connection.
From then on, virginity became synonymous to a woman’s sexual inexperience. A blank slate with an unadulterated purity. It was stringently required from maidens to gain the social status accorded to married women. This goes without saying that women who lose their virginity before getting married do not rightfully deserve an elevation to their social status even though they have gotten married.
On the other hand, British-born writer Frank Harris believed that the word was actually derived from the Latin translation of man (vir) and the old English for trap (gin), connoting men’s tendency to abduct. Marilyn Frye, a lesbian feminist scholar, found out that the term actually labels the ‘wild, undomesticated females’ who are ‘defiant of patriarchal female heterosexuality’.
Then the word evolved to mean unfamiliarity on just about anything: metals, cocktails, olive oil, wool, computer systems, a ship’s voyage, a newly elected official’s first speech, castles that were never captured, and unfertilized gametes, among others. Virginity with women just became an issue of circumstance.
Importance of the V-word: then and now
For quite sometime, societies with traditional or religious views associated ‘sexual exclusiveness’ with marriage. The Bantu of South Africa and the Kenuzi of Sudan interwove it with honor. Women were even allowed to sue a man who took ‘it’ and demand ‘wreath money’. 1 Corinthians 7 admonishes sex without marriage as well as marriage without sex.
But since the sexual revolution, virginity became a commodity. ‘Uninitiated’ women could sell theirs for as much as EUR 1 million (P59 million). Couples would engage themselves to oral sex, anal sex and mutual masturbation.
Virginity has also become a scheme to assist the judiciary and condone rapists. Pham Thi Hong, a female acupuncturist in Vietnam, has stood for three men convicted of rape to date by checking red spots on their ears.
In Middle Eastern communities, in-laws still check bedcovers for traces of blood after the marriage’s first night. This prompted a 23-year-old Muslim woman to spend $3,500 (P158,000) for hymenoplasty, the surgical restoration of the hymen.
Hymenoplasty is the easiest way to remain endearing to your man. After all, even though the concept of female virginity is still arguable, there are still women who would take lengths to ‘restore’ what was lost in the name of love.
It goes by with other names: vaginal rejuvenation, hymen restoration, hymen repair, female cosmetic genital surgery and vaginoplasty. Meditour Malaysia does it for €239 (more or less P14,000) as well as Beauty Med Thailand that charges €341 (more or less P20,000).
Some Filipinos still assume responsibility for their counterpart’s virginity. Love wouldn’t matter if their partners had sexual activities in the past (it doesn’t matter if they themselves had). Some though would prefer those ‘experienced’. Their freedom matters most to them anyway.