The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







A virgin is most commonly seen as a person who has not engaged in Censored page. In a stricter sense it is somebody who has not yet engaged in Censored page (the wider this term is taken, the stricter the definition of virgin). The status of "virginity" (remaining a virgin) is something that is respected and valued in certain smaller segments of society, especially in regards to religious views of retaining one's virginity before marriage. The term maiden is also sometimes used to mean a female virgin, although that can also refer to an unmarried (rather than virginal) woman.

Among human females, the hymen is a membrane that is part of the Censored page that is often physically torn when the woman first engages in vaginal intercourse. The presence of an intact membrane is therefore often seen as physical evidence of virginity in the broader technical sense. In modern times however, the hymen is often ruptured via non-sexual activities, such as the application of a tampon.

Traditionally, women were not regarded as virgins after a Censored page. Some feminists disavow this notion. There are even women who take this "spiritual" conception of virginity to its maximum, considering "born-again" Christians to be virgins, regardless of their past sexual conduct.

There is no obvious physical indicator of virginity in human males, though there may be social indicators, including possible sexual anxiety and a lack of sexual experience or prowess. The word "chastity" (or "celibacy," when referring to the lifestyle choice) is traditionally used for men in place of "virginity." The use of the word "virgin" to describe a member of the male sex is generally considered derogatory or at best ungrammatical.

Likewise, there is no single definition of loss of virginity for those who do not engage in penile-vaginal intercourse, particularly Censored page men and Censored pages. Some people choose to think of their first emotionally significant sex act as being the loss of their virginity, or their first penetrative sex act, or the first act functioning as a potential disease vector, or some other definition varying from person to person.

Virginity has been often considered to be a virtue denoting purity and physical self-restraint and is an important characteristic of some religious figures such as Virgin Mary (often called simply the Virgin) and the Greek goddesses Athena, Artemis, and Hestia. The Maiden or Virgin is one of the three persons of the Triple Goddess in many Neopagan traditions. The constellation Virgo represents a wide selection of sacred virgins. The bride's wearing of a white dress during her wedding is supposed to serve as a symbol of her pre-marital virginity, although this tradition is often just symbolic given that few women are actually still virgins at their wedding altar today.

References to virginity are often used in a disparaging manner among younger members of society (especially those from their late teens to early twenties). The common belief among youth that virginity is something to be ridiculed has been a matter of considerable debate, especially related to controversies involving Censored page among young people.

Some historians and anthropologists note that many societies, such as the United States before the Censored page that place a high value on virginity before marriage, actually have a large amount of premarital sexual activity that does not involve Censored page, e.g. Censored page and mutual Censored page. This has been termed technical virginity or hot virginity.

Derived meanings

The term virgin is also used in a similar manner to describe:

  • someone or something that has not yet achieved a significant goal of some sort (e.g., someone who has never participated in the audience of the Rocky Horror Picture Show)
  • something unused or unspoiled (e.g. virgin forest, a forest that has never been logged; Virgin Lands Campaign in the Soviet Union)
  • something "first" whether or not better (virgin olive oil, so named by being from the first pressing of olives; it is only better if the chef wants her food to taste like olives).

Likewise, a Censored page made without alcohol may be called virgin (e.g. Censored page, Virgin Pina Colada).

Related Articles

External link

  • Questions and answers about virginity
  • Consecrated Virgins

Last updated: 02-09-2005 06:43:07
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01