Growing up, I had this notion that virginity was a virtue and one that should be guarded at all costs. Guys were told to be careful (no one really cares about the virginity of a man). Little girls, on the other hand, were advised by parents and guardians to keep their legs closed and remain a virgin till the wedding night. “Your future husband will respect you more if you are a virgin on your wedding night” was and continues to be the most used line in the Stay-A-Virgin-Till-Marriage syllabus taught by elders.
Virginity used to be a virtue. Virgins were regarded as special and treated as such. Parents took pride in telling prospective suitors the virginity of their young girls. Men were very proud of their “untouched” wife and told anyone that cared to listen.
Mothers were proud to display their “I was a virgin till I got married” placard whenever advising teenagers on sex. Bride prices for these virgin brides were padded to include ‘virginity fees’. A virgin bride was treated with respect and accorded royalty status. Respect accruable from remaining a virgin until marriage was more than for a girl who graduated with a first class in Medicine and found the cure for AIDS.
Virginity was priceless.
Priceless until sexual decadence crept in and eroded our moral values. Porn is readily available on the internet. Sugar daddies are becoming fashionable. Prostitution is slowly becoming a formal business transaction (money for sex). Homosexuality has become socially and legally acceptable in many countries in the world.
Virginity, like the last child of the family, has finally been caught up in the new-generation-menace. Girls are no longer proud of being virgins. It’s become a thing of ridicule and shame. In the words of a friend, Cynthia, “Everyone thinks I am sexually active because of how I dress and act. You are one of a few people that know that I am a virgin. Please keep it that way. No one should know”. She was more afraid of people realizing she’s a virgin than she was of death. Shocking.
Virginity formerly priceless now had a price.
Sometime in 2012, one Catarina Migliorini caused a morality storm online by putting her virginity on sale. The 20-year-old Brazilian woman auctioned off her virginity which fetched as much as $780,000.
To make matters worse, earlier this year, another virgin, an 18-year-old model sold her virginity at an auction for 2.3 million euros ($3.5 million).
Virginity is now up for sale.
One might think ‘virginity for sale’ was a Western world phenomenon but that school of thought would end up wrong if tested in African waters.
Spending time in one of the Southern states in Nigeria, I was informed that sleeping with a virgin would put a dent in my pockets.
“What do you mean by sleeping with a virgin would put a dent in my pocket”, I inquired.
“Sleeping with a virgin girl is sort of a business in Urhobo land. Once the virgin girl tells her parents that you are the one that deflowered her, you would be made to pay between N10,000 ($28) and N50,000 ($140) depending on your financial stature for her virginity”, he said.
I found it hard to believe so I conducted my own research on the subject topic. After informally interviewing about 5 mothers and 10 girls, my finding on the sale of virginity was more baffling than I had expected.
All the girls informed me of how much the boys/men that deflowered them had to pay and the mothers insisted on collecting the ‘virginity’ price. It was not negotiable.
A mother proudly telling me that she had told her four daughters that any man that took their virginity must pay N100,000 ($280) for their virginity was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Virginity was up for sale even in Africa.
Then as if planned, I was shown a scripture in the Bible which more or less approved the act. Deuteronomy 22:16-17 reads, “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. But if her father refuses to let him marry her, the man must still pay him an amount equal to the bride price of a virgin”. The Bible approved a bride price for virgins?
So where do we go from here?
Is religion in support of a price for female virginity?
Is it okay for society to dictate the sexuality of a woman and not that of a man?
Do virgins derive more respect from prospective suitors than non-virgins?
Who stands for those innocent ones that lost their virginity without their will?
Is it better for a girl to get paid for her virginity or lose it to just any heartbreaking scumbag?
Why is female virginity controlled and male virginity not even given a mention?
Should virginity be rewarded in the community to encourage absolute sexual abstinence?
Do we really owe anyone the explanation of how and what we do with our virginity?
I hope I get definite answers to these questions, but I’m not holding my breath in expectation.
Photo Credit: Olena Yakobchuk | Dreamstime