Until a few years past, the word sex had been a taboo to society for all so called ‘good families’ for ages. People were strongly discouraged to talk about sex, even on social media. Forget about doing sex before marriage. People are conditioned to believe that this word is a negative word and cannot have any positive impact on society. People looked down upon premarital sex like it’s bad, and if you do it, you’re the bad guy. Some religious people will simply call it a sin.
Furthermore, the majority of this weight of this practice of keeping your ‘virginity intact before marriage’ fell on to women’s shoulders.
So, why is women’s virginity such a precious thing?
Do you remember the sexist Facebook post from this Jadavpur University professor, Kanak Sarkar? He has been in the teaching profession for the past two decades, and what did he write? (see the image)
Leena Gangopadhyayay, the chairperson of State Women Commission, West Bengal, India condemned his statement, saying certain people’s mindset would never change.
Actually, culture take a huge part in setting this type of mindset. Various cultures still shunned the concept of sex before marriage. But for marital rape, they will just keep saying, ‘compromise’ or ‘adjust’.
In this context, sex positive advocate Leeza Mangaldas said, in the era when DNA testing wasn’t invented, men were obsessed with the idea of paternity. They wanted to ensure that their wives would only bear their children. Here again comes the patriarchal norms to make women as men’s property, and that’s how women’s virginity before marriage became a priority.
How did sex before marriage become stigmatized in the first place?
Of course, the patriarchal approach comes to the scene when we are talking about keeping a girl’s virginity intact. It has been the most important duty for her father and brother before the girl attains the marriage age and given to a groom. In patriarchal society, girls or women have always been seen as a man’s property. First of her father’s, then her husband’s, and lastly her son’s. All to keep her under protection.
Although it’s a whole another issue, I have to mention about child marriage in this context. In old India, when a girl reached the age of six or seven, she’d made believe that there’s this boy whom she’d marry later in her life. A girl of six or seven, basically a child, is being conditioned by her family that she’ll get married and leave her home to go to her in-laws’ house. That’s how it had been in the ancient era. So that since a young age she’d be prepared for her marriage when she attained her puberty.
That was the whole point. Presenting her and her virginity to her groom in the name of Kanyadaan, which is another patriarchal subjugation of women.
How women’s virginity makes their status unequal to men?
Patriarchal society’s obsession with women’s virginity makes her status unequal to that of a man. If a woman is sexually active before marriage, then people with a patriarchal mindset wouldn’t think twice to attack on her character. She would be regarded as a wh*re and sl*t as her ‘biological seal’ is broken. This is the reason why rape has been the ultimate weapon against women for ages.
Marriages become uneven when both the partners have different rules regarding their sexuality. It is okay for a man to have sex before marriage because he’d require some practice and knowledge on the night of consummation. But for a woman, ‘how can your purity seal be broken?’ Right?
Due to this stigma women face, they take on a lot of guilt and stress just to hide the fact that they have been sexually active before marriage. Even surgeries are there to reconstruct hymen. Why do women have to go through such pain just to hide they had sex before? Which is, by the way, just a bodily function!
Sex before marriage according to Sadhguru:
Here I’d like to mention Sadhguru, who explains this scenario wonderfully. At those times, sex before marriage was not an option. Of course, first, she was a child, and second, before her hormones overpowered her senses and intelligence, she already got married. So, there wasn’t any scope.
Sex at least requires an emotional attachment. Before, as someone already conditioned them from a young age, they already felt connected to each other. As there was already an emotional connection established between them, life went on like that. But now things have changed. We finish our education only by the age of 22-25 on average. During this peak age, the body has its own needs. Because that’s how things work.
According to Sadhguru, when the body has its nourishment, naturally it’s drawn to the activity to reproduce. Because science says it is the survival instinct of a species. If we do not reproduce, how will our species survive? That’s the subconscious thought related to our bodily needs. Sex is a natural process, and there’s nothing to judge it as good or bad. Some people prefer not to indulge in it before marriage, because it is their choice. But expecting the whole society to follow this same constriction would just be stupid. Without disrupting the cultural, social and mental structure, if sexuality can be taken, then it is what it is. There’s always an open scope for debate regarding this.
Talking about religion,
What our Bhagavad Gita says about sex?
According to Chaitanya Charan Das Prabhuji, people assume that spiritual life is against sex. But that’s not the case. Spiritual life is not against sex.
So, sex and sensuality is not condemned in our religion, but obsession with it must be contempt.
According to Chaitanya Charan Das prabhuji, our inborn nature is seeking pleasure from life. Sex is also a source of pleasure. So, naturally our mind keeps fantasizing about where we can get pleasure from. But today’s media gathers provocative imagination from people all over the world and presents it as visuals (images, videos, etc.). So our already agitated mind gets more aggravated by outer agitation.
It not only destroys us spiritually, it breaks us materially. Because people get so obsessed with sex, they cannot even function materially. Spiritual life does not condemn sex, it counters the unnecessary and irrational glamorization of sex by contemporary culture.
So what does it mean? There will be urges of mental satisfaction or sense gratification as long as we are alive. Because our body is made like this. There are forces of mind, anger, tongue, stomach and genitals – as material desires. When material desires are left unsatiated, it generates anger and make us agitated. So, if one can tolerate these urges until leaving this body, he becomes free from any kind of agitation.
In this era, the major question arises,
What would women do with her virginity if she decides not to marry?
Will she have to celibate till she dies? Of course not.
Getting married or losing virginity is one’s own choice. If a woman’s ideals and will permit her, there is nothing wrong with having sex before marriage. Instead of making sex a taboo, society should be more logical towards it and educate young girls and boys to be more sex positive. Sex education is a must so that there are fewer chances of unprotected sex, STIs/STDs or unwanted and early pregnancies.
This is another concern for women’s health. Girls go through unsafe and unhygienic abortions to hide unwanted pregnancies, which ultimately comes to her health.
From a psychological viewpoint:
It is very important for women to understand what she wants and what her choices are. If she wants to have sex or chooses abstinence – it is totally her own choice. There should not be any external elements like shame, guilt, force, fear or obligation involved with her personal choice about whether or not to have sex before marriage.
If you love your partner, and they also reciprocate your love, give efforts to make you feel happy and safe, if they care for you equally, then it is perfectly okay to have sex before marriage.
But you should be able to discern between love and lust. In today’s age, most of the people get attracted to the other person sexually. So, instead of keeping your partner in the dark and playing with their emotions, you should be direct with your approach. Instead of using statements like, ‘I love you, and sex is also a part of love’, why not make statements like, ‘I am attracted to you and want to have sex with you.’ In this way, you won’t hurt their feelings and emotions.
Youngstars these days are mostly into lust rather than love. So, their thought processes pretty much revolve around sexual thoughts. This might be a problem if it hinders the flow of your life.