Value Of Virginity

Fake virgins. A growing number of Chinese women … are opting for a surgical procedure called “hymen restoration,” which returns the hymen to its condition before it was ruptured. … Many men, including white-collar professionals, say they want to marry a virgin. And increasingly liberated Chinese women have found a way to oblige them. …

Zhou, 44, said most of her patients are sexually active young women who are about to marry and have told their future husbands they are virgins. … For as little as … about $737, for a 20-to-30-minute procedure. … “It’s just a white lie,” Zhou said. And she blames men for having unrealistic expectations. … “It’s really worthless for couples to break up over this small issue,” said the woman, who asked not to be quoted by name. …

Some sociologists and others have criticized the virginity obsession as emblematic of a male-dominated society in which women are viewed as sex objects. … “Women demand men have houses and cars, why can’t men demand women be virgins?” asked one man. (more)

It seems to me many men really do have a strong preference for virginity, and are willing to pay a high price for it in a marriage bargain. This male preference for virgins seems as legitimate as the female preference for high status husbands. So it can do husbands a great harm to deceive them about virginity.

Imagine a woman married a man in part because of his great job and income, and as soon as she has his first kid he reveals that it was a fake; his parents had paid for a temporary high-status job and big house/car/etc. so she could give them a high quality grandkid. Now that the kid has arrived, husband goes back to being a janitor with a bike and one-room apartment. What if the man said, “It’s really worthless for couples to break up over this small issue.”

Added 10p: Wow, I go away for ten hours and 50 comments appear.  I didn’t claim male status is exactly like female virginity in all its effects, nor did I claim such preferences are independent of culture. The relevant issues seem to me to be the strength of preference, which it seems to be are often similar, and whether a preference is for some exceptional reason illegitimate. I accept most preferences as legitimate, and haven’t heard a good reason why male preference for virgins is illegitimate. Surely the fact that a preference is influenced by culture is not a reason by itself to consider that preference illegitimate.

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  • MattW

    The woman quoted, Zhou, seems to think that virginity is the important thing to men in and of itself. Virginity, however, is a signal of other things about a woman. Likely it signals the same things for a man who is a virgin, the difference is in what men are attracted to in a mate, and what women are attracted to in a mate.
    Virginity in a woman signals attractive qualities to a man, but virginity in man does not signal attractive qualities to a woman (not equally attractive qualities, perhaps).

    • Konvkistador

      Past behavior is an excellent predictor of future behavior. The average person wishing to marry would on average all other things being equal prefer a partner from whom its realistic to expect monogamy.

      • http://kazart.blogspot.com mwengler

        The average person wishing to marry would on average all other things being equal prefer a partner from whom its realistic to expect monogamy.

        Virginity signals zerogamy, not monogamy.

    • http://www.hymenshop.com Sami Hadida

      Why complicate things if one can buy her her virginity back from less then $30…

      The website www. hymenshop.com sells the artificial hymen online. They deliver these so called artificial virginity kits world wide.

  • Steven

    Faking virginity does not equal faking wealth. You seem to always side with the men in these issues. I come here to hear about human biases, not to hear someone’s bias.

    • http://clarissethorn.wordpress.com Clarisse Thorn

      Haha. Kudos to you. I wonder what critical mass of people is required to call RH out on his gender bias before he acknowledges it.

      • jsalvatier

        Faking virginity certainly *seems* more trivial (to me anyway) than faking virginity, but I haven’t heard anyone articulate a reason for why it’s more trivial even if men/women care equally about the corresponding trait.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      The last gender related post I made, a few days ago, argued that certain women, old Indian moms, were unfairly neglected. How is that always siding with men?

      • Mike

        That post included statements like these:

        The Post reserved its strongest disapproval (between the lines, but still pretty clear) for the fact that many Indian IVF moms are 60 and 70 years old, and so are taking on bigger health risks. Supposedly regulation is needed to keep such women from succumbing to “cultural pressures.” Apparently, since Post reporters know no colleagues who would consider taking such an action, they conclude that elderly Indian IVF moms must be suffering from some horrible patriarchy. (No further evidence of illicit pressure is given.)

        Some readers would disagree whether these statements, which scoff at the reality of patriarchy, really come from a perspective of “siding with women.”

      • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

        So praising these particular women is anti-women because they are the wrong women?

      • Mike

        Singling out these particular women’s actions to praise, while ignoring the arguably harmful cultural pressures–no scare quotes–that shaped those actions is not necessarily pro-women, just as praising Ann Coulter’s actions (or any other particular woman’s actions) is not necessarily pro-women. I did not claim that it was anti-women either, and am perplexed at where you got that allegation from.

      • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

        So my speaking up for virginity-loving women [men] is necessarily anti-women, while praising old Indian moms is not necessarily pro-women, and that’s how on net I am anti-women?

      • Mike

        Are you really going to argue that this post is about supporting “virginity loving women” now? It’s quite clear that the objects of sympathy in this post are the virgin-loving men, and the objects of criticism are the women who obtain hymen replacement surgeries. When are “virginity loving women” even mentioned?

        Listen, dance around the issues all you want. I’m going to sign out of this conversation now because it seems like you’re more interested in adversarial debate than a real discourse. Hopefully I’ve made my POV clear for other readers of these comments at least.

      • Mike

        As for how you behave “on net,” there are more than these two posts to consider. I’m not going to dig up all the links and nitpick the details with you, but you comes across, on net, as supporting men far more than women. You’ve received feedback from several people that it comes across that way to them as well. Evaluate this data as you will.

      • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

        Sorry I had meant to write “virginity loving men”. Edited that comment to reflect that.

      • Psychohistorian

        You sided with women who were inspired by a culture that values women principally (or at least significantly) based on how many children they bear. Any society viewing women principally as child-bearing devices is not exactly what I would call a pinnacle of gender equality. It’s an extremely patriarchal culture. Your praise of them is no more indicative of your lack of gender bias than praising women for having lots of kids early and leaving all that hard math and decisions and stuff to the men.

        Furthermore, in this case, you’re explicitly equating a superficial and noisy signal – female virginity – with an extremely practical and accurate signal, wealth. In a marriage, virginity lasts less than 24 hours, usually. Wealth is generally expected to last the length of the marriage. Your comparison equates the two as being of at least equal legitimacy, if not actual value. I think you can see how that comes off as rather anti-female.

        There’s also a significant point that maintaining one’s virginity is, in some technical senses, much more restrictive than maintaining one’s social status, and specifically restrictive in a way that is punitive to women. Acquiring wealth comes with its own costs and restrictions, but it also comes with distinct, particular benefits that virginity does not carry.

      • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

        Psycho, if you value women it will be for something. How is valuing women for having kids less pro-women than valuing women for any other particular thing one might value them for?

      • curious

        wow. robin, i didn’t think i could be surprised by your attitudes toward women any more, but seeing you act confused that “valuing women for having kids” might not be perceived as “pro-woman” is pretty stunning.

        there are plenty of men in the world who see women primarily as incubators/vessels for passing on male genes/nobility/power/wealth etc, but i don’t know many of them who would claim that as a feminist standpoint and then be left scratching their heads as to why that might not go over well.

        the thinking mostly elicits my disgust, but just in case the confusion is real, here’s a question that may help you understand the reaction you’re getting: if you value women for having kids, what is it that you value men for?

      • Ken

        Psycho,

        Way to not address the fact that if women are valued, they have to be valued for something. If it’s wrong to value women for the ability to have kids, what should they be valued for?

        The ability to have children is the single most valuable thing women can do. What happens if women stop having kids? The human race will be extinct in 100 years.

        To recap valuing women for the ability to have kids is the PRIMARY reason women are valued.

        Regards,
        Ken

      • curious

        fellas, i hate to spoil the whole women-as-fertility-goddesses party, but last time i checked, it still took two humans to make a baby, and one of those two is male. so if producing kids is something ken and robin consider an important value, then it would seem they should value *people* for doing that.

        as for what kinds of wild and crazy things women might be valued for other than incubating and ejecting babies, ken, i refer you back to the question: what do you value men for? unless your answer is limited to “producing sperm and urinating while standing upright,” women can and should be valued for the most of the same things.

        i know, i just blew your mind there, didn’t i? what can i say. the internet is like that sometimes.

      • Ken

        curious,

        I don’t value men in general, nor women in general. I value my friends and when it comes to choosing a woman to date with the possibility of marriage, I don’t value women who don’t want kids at all, regardless of how loving, rich, hot, and responsible they may be.

        And no, you didn’t just blow my mind.

        Regards,
        Ken

    • Mike

      “Always” is a bit hyperbolic. We can downgrade that to “usually” or “almost always.”

    • John Maxwell IV

      Just because Robin appears to favor one side does not mean he is biased.

      “Do not think that fairness to all sides means balancing yourself evenly between positions; truth is not handed out in equal portions before the start of a debate.”

      http://yudkowsky.net/rational/virtues

  • http://clarissethorn.wordpress.com Clarisse Thorn

    If virginity is considered a thing in itself rather than a signal (as proposed by the above commenter) then it really can’t be compared to something like income, because virginity is a condition that stops being important immediately after marriage, whereas income is a condition that is important throughout life.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think people should be honest in their relationships, and I don’t think that a preference for a wealthy mate (whether by men or women) is any more or less legitimate than a preference for a virginal mate (whether by men or women). But your comparison just doesn’t work.

    • Jack

      So I agree obviously that virginity and income aren’t symmetrical traits. But if you don’t think one is more legitimate than the other why shouldn’t lying about one be as illegitimate as lying about the other?

    • Jack

      Also, what if virginity *is* considered as a signal?

    • Chris

      I think a better comparison to faking wealth would be to faking fidelity (in a hypothetical disease free world).

      If a man cheats on his wife with no probability of disease, and allegedly his affections are not alienated, what’s the harm? “It’s just a white lie…It’s really worthless for couples to break up over this small issue…”

      In fact, it’s basically the same issue, just with a slight modification in the time of the harmless act.

    • ThePenileFamily

      Conversely one could accuse you of rationalizing your bias.

      The point perhaps, is that it is human nature and not mere rationality that drives some behavior. That you have found inequality in the comparison has the potential to say almost nothing on the given topic.

      Do Men value virgins to the extent that Women value status? I don’t know. I’ve personally never cared whether a Woman was a virgin – actually, quite the opposite. But I am one man.

      • ThePenileFamily

        Oh, and not to mention cultural forces – in all their worldly variety – which may or may not have a large influence depending on factor(s) X.

      • Konvkistador

        Cultural forces also affect how important it is for a man to be faithfull or his relative wealth (in many matriarchal societies a male’s wealth is practically irelevant).

        However the underlying reality of our biological impulesses means men on average probably slightly prefer virgins because:

        a) Its associated with youth
        b) Its a signal of relative monogamy

        of course it could also be a signal for frigidity but that didn’t really matter that much in the ancestral environment or even in the Western world up until about 100 or 150 years ago.

    • John Maxwell IV

      I suspect men who “want virginity” really want a woman no other man has ever slept with. With this tweak, the comparison works.

  • http://lesswrong.com/user/komponisto komponisto

    Anyone ready with a Darwinian explanation of why men place such a value on this (assuming it is universal across cultures)?

    It seems slightly perplexing when you think about it.. After all, usually experience makes people better sexual partners. And also, after the couple’s first sexual encounter, the woman will no longer be a virgin. (In contrast, a high-status man can be expected to remain high-status well into the future.)

    • Jack

      I think this is probably about men trying to avoid spending costly resources raising a child who isn’t their genetic offspring. Cultures where female virginity is highly valued are also countries with extreme punishments for female adulterers and restrictions on the freedom of married women to spend time with men other than their husbands.

      • http://TobyBartels.name/ Toby Bartels

        Then would it be enough to have a bride who remained chaste throughout a year-long engagement? My best undersanding of virginity-loving men suggests that this would not be enough, but perhaps this is justified because the state of the hymen is (or was until now) the only reliable evidence.

      • Bruce Hayden

        First, as you note, it is about men not desiring the raising of other men’s children. And, yes, that is very important from a Darwinian point of view. Men have limited resources, and if they are spent raising some other guy’s kids, he cannot spend them raising his own kids. And, no kids raised means no genetic heritage. And, yes, that is why the penalty for women having sex with other men than their husbands is so high – we are talking the husbands’ genetic success here.

        But why actual virginity, and not just the women being chaste for a period of time? My theory is that women who screw around before marriage are more likely to do so during a marriage – and if that isn’t true today, it likely was back in a time when there were a few years, and not decades between menarche and marriage.

        And, I think even today, the statistics will show that the fewer partners a woman has had (even before marriage), the less likely she is to cheat on her husband.

    • http://eucalculia.blogspot.com John Faben

      Erm… because a virgin isn’t carrying someone else’s child? The effects of investing times and resources into a child that isn’t your own last well into the future.

      • Konvkistador

        Yeah I assumed this was obvious.

  • Psychohistorian

    “This male preference for virgins seems as legitimate as the female preference for high status husbands.”

    You’ve randomly taken something women value and equated it to something men value, with zero justification for the comparison. Indeed, the comparison just doesn’t hold up. You’ve taken something that has obvious massive material effects (marrying someone poor when you think he’s rich) and equated it to something with no definite negative effects of any kind (marrying someone you think is a virgin when she isn’t). Indeed, the latter may be a net positive – she may be better in bed and less inclined to stray. Unless you can actually specify why a man’s requirement that a woman be a virgin is of equal legitimacy as a woman’s demand that her husband be high-status, in practical or other terms, this analogy is wholly unjustified and extremely misleading.

    Additionally, I suspect that virgin preference is strictly a social development, whereas status preference is hard-wired. Many men are not interested in virgins (I, unsurprisingly, am one of them). I suppose it’s possible some women are uninterested in status, but I have yet to meet one, though “status” is pretty fluid in meaning. Given that women generally had multiple partners in the ancestral environment, it is unlikely that strong virgin preference was adaptive; given that people were not monogamous, there’s very little payoff to bedding a virgin versus a non-virgin. The fact that human women have an indication of virginity seems to be something of a biological accident, as many other mammals also have it.

    • MattW

      Funny, to me the opposite seems more likely: that virgins are less likely to stray, and that male preference for virgins is as hard-wired as female preference for high-status mates.

      A woman who is willing to put off sex for her whole life leading up to a long term marriage commitment seems to me less likely to stray from that commitment.

      And I believe male preference for virgins is linked to a desire for assurance that the children she bares are genetically his.

      Admittedly I have not studied the topic in depth, just putting together ideas from various other readings.

      • Nate

        Even if your reading of virginity is correct, Psychohistorian’s point still holds up. Virginity is valuable as a signal, not as something immediately valuable. Thus, even if it tends to signal one thing, that signal could be a stereotype. It could be that even though the signal is true for a majority, it does not hold up for a large minority.

        A better comparison for virginity as a signal might be the following: looking at the average wealth for a person’s race, and then deciding whether or not to marry them based on that, rather than their actual wealth.

        I’m also not convinced that a preference for virginity is evolutionary rather than social. Is there any scientific data to back up that assumption?

      • Psychohistorian

        “Funny, to me the opposite seems more likely: that virgins are less likely to stray, and that male preference for virgins is as hard-wired as female preference for high-status mates.”

        Perhaps. Perhaps not. Neither of us have data on this, and it likely varies as much or more within groups than it does between groups. I’m not saying there’s no statistical benefit to marrying a virgin; I’m saying it’s unclear what it is and not guaranteed on an individual basis.

      • HH

        If we don’t have any evidence supporting the arguments for this fidelity guestion one way or the another, and if we really wan’t to make guesses, there are a lot of factors to think about.

        First, whether the married couple is sexually compatible (needs, preferences, anatomy etc.). Second, how satisfied the couple is sexually, and how do they prioritise that satisfaction compared to other things in their relationship. Also, you might want to consider this: if the woman was a virgin when she got married and then found that she is not sexually satisfied (after being told/believing that saving herself for the right man would somehow ensure that she would be), she might get curious: what is sex like with other men or maybe women. Truthfully, most people get curious anyway. You would also need to take into account the couple’s sexual knowledge, skills and the will to practise and become better. And values, of course.

        All in all, trying to make up valid prediction about someone’s likelihood to stray based on his or her virginity seems like a very uncertain way to do it, therefore making the legitimity of the preference questionable (assuming that this straying issue even was it’s point; I honestly didn’t quite get it).

        As a woman, I could never imagine marrying a man who was insisting on virginity. It doesn’t seem like a very promising start for an (sexually) equal relationship.

      • Matt

        It’s not just for the length of the marriage, it’s for the more immediate question of “is she already pregnant?” In (I think it’s orangutans) females will mate with one male then sleep with another to trick him into thinking the others’ child is his. If you marry a virgin you know she’s not already pregnant and looking for a provider. Granted this doesn’t necessarily help Robin’s argument that virginity fraud is equal to income fraud because couples usually do not conceive immediately so the strategy, while probably part of our evolution, is irrelevant today.

        However we also have a society with more female liberation so the need for a male provider is increasingly irrelevant. Unless you’re willing to argue that women still need men to provide for them both instances of fraud are simply lying about something the other values and there is no reason to infer that one is greater than the other.

    • J

      “Additionally, I suspect that virgin preference is strictly a social development”

      Virgin preference goes back far enough and is consistent enough across cultures that I’d have a hard time believing it wasn’t hard wired.

      • Psychohistorian

        Unless I’m mistaken, all of those are agricultural societies. If you view the 1950’s as the pinnacle of “natural” human relationships, then yes, it makes sense. If you actually look at our ancestral bands of hunter-gatherers and some interesting physiological characteristics of humans (penis size and shape, sperm competition), it’s pretty clear that exclusive lifelong mating is a rather recent phenomenon. It seems unlikely something so complex as virgin preference has become hardwired within 10,000 years. This is doubly true when there are many exceptions to this rule. If it were really genetic and valuable, you’d expect it to be near-universal, like preference for facial symmetry or a .7 WHR.

      • bdavies

        Lakota culture placed a high value on chastity in women prior to marriage and it was a nonagricultural society.

    • Steve

      “You’ve randomly taken something women value and equated it to something men value, with zero justification for the comparison.”

      The justification is that in each case we are talking about something which people value.

      The thrust of your counter-argument is that they are not equal because YOU see them as not being equal. You see one thing as being truly important and the other as being inconsequential. You want to make value judgments for all of humanity.

      The flaw in your argument is that you do not get to decide for other people what is important for them. To use an economic analogy, it’s as if you were to decide that SUV drivers were making an incorrect choice in purchasing their vehicles.

    • http://kazart.blogspot.com mwengler

      Additionally, I suspect that virgin preference is strictly a social development, whereas status preference is hard-wired.

      I bet the status that is hard-wired has you mating with the head of an outlaw bike gang or the singer for a garage rock band that still lives with his mother before it has you marrying the average millionaire computer nerd.

      From my reading, many human societies have pretty open lack of sexual fidelity, too many it seems to even begin to imagine a preference for it is hard-wired. I think that meme has been passed down through words spoken and in books rather than written on DNA strands.

  • Nick

    The most charitable interpretation is that people think husbands have less reason to care about whether their wives are virgins than women have reason to care about whether their husbands will be able to take care of their children. That doesn’t sound very implausible to me.

    The fact that the husbands will never find out about the truth is probably relevant to the judgment, though I admit that this may involve selectively caring about deception.

  • Simetrical

    The analogy you give is poor, because wealth has a material effect on the wife’s life. A better example would be lying about a felony conviction (supposing that your spouse is unlikely to ever find out). An opposite comparison is if someone has a strong conviction that, anyone who has played Scrabble is evil, or some similarly crazy thing. Someone who wanted to marry them might lie and claim to have never played Scrabble.

    I think most people would say it’s unacceptable to lie to a potential spouse about past felony convictions, but many (although probably a minority) would find it acceptable to lie about playing Scrabble, if the match was otherwise good. This is not hypocritical or inconsistent. The theory in the latter case is “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” — whether you’ve played Scrabble will have no reasonable bearing on your marriage, and they’re just being unreasonable. On the other hand, if you’re a convicted felon, most people would assume that says something important about your character, which is important to the future of the marriage and which your spouse needs to know.

    So on virginity, I see three basic positions:

    1) Lying to your spouse about anything they think is important is wrong, because you have to be honest (at least with your spouse). You shouldn’t lie about any of these things: felony convictions, virginity, or Scrabble.

    2) Lying to your spouse about inconsequential things that they wrongly overvalue is okay, and virginity is inconsequential or maybe even bad, so it’s okay to lie about virginity (and Scrabble).

    3) Lying to your spouse about inconsequential things that they wrongly overvalue is okay, but virginity is important enough that it’s bad to lie about it (but lying about Scrabble would be okay).

    I’m very firmly in camp 1, but I don’t see any arguments against the other two positions that would stand a chance of convincing their adherents.

    • Konvkistador

      Your basic argument that its ok to lie as long as you are sure the other person is *wrong* in their preferences. That’s rather… practical.

      • Konvkistador

        Its a very good way to break down the camps btw and gives much food for thought.

        You say you are in camp 1, and I guess I’m there too. But I’m currently trying to think of cases I might be in camp 2 or 3. I’m coming up blank for now but I’m really interested if people in general are consistent about this, does anyone have any good ideas for scenarios?

        Also is anyone aware of being “inconsistent” on this? I mean besides the obvious universal hypocrisy that we basically want *other* people to be in camp 1 because *our* preferences are *certainly* not wrong or trivial.

  • Ribald

    A would-be husband might prefer a virgin spouse so that she can’t compare his performance to past lovers, or to ensure that her non-solo sexual experience and feelings are more focused on him.

    I second the challenge to Robin: why almost always posts about abuse of males? Yes, male-oppressing things are neglected by most commentators for signaling and political reasons, and so your posts on this topic are more unique within the blogosphere, but it still seems disproportionate even so.

    • Konvkistador

      I don’t think its disproportionate. Since the the “women and children” and “defending the fair maiden from slander” memes are so universal in our signaling efforts and culture in geral that Robin may as well devote his entire blog to just promale rants and he still wouldn’t make a dent on intellectual cultural circles. However that’s cultural warfare not rationality.

      A interesting fact to ponder in these debates is that the median woman is more vital for the survival of the tribe than the median man, think of how this affects our cognition, especially in the light of that lovely evopsych study that confirmed that we judge how other people’s grief for their children varies with the age of the children in perfect accord with the children reproductive value.

      I will admit that its however hard to know for oneself or even others if one is being just free of a particular widely spread bias or it one is participating in a cultural war.

  • Jack

    I’m rather interested in what looks to me like a deemphasizing of female virginity in the Western world’s recent past. While there are certainly still men who want to marry virgins and still possible permanents of that desire in other men (aversion to marrying extremely promiscuous women, interest in women who appear ‘innocent’) it seems by and large we care about female virginity a lot less than we used to.

    Is it birth control? Pre-marital sexually active monogamy? Female economic independence? Genetic testing of offspring? Secularization? I suppose most of those factors are already correlated. Anyone have theories?

    • Brett

      Is it birth control?

      This, plus female economic empowerment giving them more bargaining power in the marriage and mating processes. A lot of the old “virginity protection” stuff was about ensuring that the man wasn’t getting cuckolded.

      Of course, the fact that it was more important than the woman’s sexual freedom is an artifact of the patriarchal nature of most agrarian societies. Male sexual preferences got higher priority than female ones.

    • Konvkistador

      Genetic testing of offspring and improvements in medicine I would say. Many people are forgetting what effect of venereal diseases for example.

      I couldn’t care less if my wife is a virgin or not if she agreed to all our children being tested. If she wasn’t particularity “livley” I wouldn’t bother asking for a full test for STDs, since most things can be fixed by antibiotics.

      We would be in a major culture shock if we will find ourselves without effective antibiotic treatment and no good replacement in ten or twenty years (as some people have predicted might happen).

  • paquibena

    Virginity is about offspring. Before contraceptives, if your wife was virgin you knew whatever children she had were much more likely to be yours (and rearing children is a huge and expensive effort).

    Wealth preference is also about offspring. If your husband can gather more resources your children will be more numerous and in better shape to compete with someone´s else children in life (including finding and keeping a good mate).

    So, really, they are two aspects of the same phenomenon: evolution in human beings.

    • djw

      This seems likely to be the correct explanation.

      Virginity is a signal that children from the marriage are likely to be the man’s genetic offspring. So the situation really is symmetric:

      1) Man tricks woman into bearing his child based on fake income claims.

      2) Woman tricks man into raising her child based on fake virginity claims.

      In modern times #2 has become less important with the advent of contraceptives and genetic tests, whereas #1 is still important.

  • Nate

    Just a question. Even if the male wish to marry virgins was created by evolution (which I’d have to be shown some evidence of), wouldn’t that be the bias here? It seems to fit my definition of a bias: it’s an inborn trait that either server an exclusive signaling purpose or no purpose at all in our modern society. At best, it’s less useful now than it ever was, at worst it’s harmful.

    Even if it was justifiable in the past, shouldn’t we be trying to understand where it fits in the present, and to overcome it if we find that it is no longer applicable?

    • Konvkistador

      It gets tricky. Many people argue that some men value virginity in a women in itself, this makes it a value (dosen’t matter if it was crafted by evolution since lots of our values have been).

      However if people just like it as signaling and its proven to be less relevant than it was as a signal than other things then yes we should try to overcome the bias.

    • Steve

      Why are “we” supposed to be in the business of “overcoming” individual preferences?

      This business of “we” telling other people what their sexual preferences are supposed to be seems so … Talibanesque.

      And no, the fact that the ‘we” in question sees itself as enlightened and just does not change anything. Would-be social engineers always see themselves in that light.

      • Ali

        Why are “we” supposed to be in the business of “overcoming” individual preferences?

        Well, the site is called Overcoming Bias.

      • Konvkistador

        I don’t think you quite understood me.

        If people value virginity in itself regardless of other factors this is a value, no good rationalist reason to change it.

        If people only value virginity because it signals good thins and it indeed still does signal them, again no need to change it.

        If people only value virginity because it signals good things but the trick is that this isn’t really true in the modern world then this is a bias one should try to get rid of to be more rational about *his* choices.

        We was meant as in aspiring rationalists if and only if it was indeed just a out of date heuristic for any particular person. Belive me I’m no friend of most attempts at social engineering.

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  • curious

    husbands who are virgins themselves are justified in wanting a virgin partner, if that’s their preference, but good luck asking me to feel sympathy for dudes like this:

    Some men who were interviewed agreed about the importance of finding a virgin. “I really care about virginity,” said Xia Yang, product manager for a technology company. “If you go to buy a cellphone, of course you’d want to buy a new cellphone. Who would spend the same amount of money to buy an old cellphone that’s been used for two years?”

    it’s pathetic that women undergo a needless, costly surgery to satisfy the fantasies of jerks like this.

    • Mike

      Seriously.

    • Konvkistador

      That really sounds like someone who would post on Roissys blog.

  • djw

    Another possibility is that marriage to a virgin denotes status. In a society where high status men monopolize access to young women most low status men will have to content themselves with older women that the high status men are no longer interested in. The ability to attract a virgin implies high status.

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

    Slumlord took a look at divorce rates among women by number of sex parnters here The first big drop in marriage success was at 2 and the next big drop was at 5. The study doesn’t sort out all sorts of factors such as what kind of men women at each level tend to pick, but the quality of the women is doubtless a factor too. Virginity does apparently have value.

    My infamous post on where to find virgins to marry is here.

    • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

      Sorry, the first big drop is at 1 partner, but the rate of marital success drops below 50% at 2.

    • Jack

      What a useless study. Have the authors even heard of confounding factors?

    • curious

      ooh, goody, a “study” from the heritage foundation! everyone’s go-to destination for unbiased research on human relationships and sexuality…

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday
  • Gee

    Virginity could be a signal of significant things to survival of one’s genes. Although I think that one still has to present evidence and make a strong case for it whereas income, power, or whatever that goes into being a high-status male is already understood as having a significant role in the survival of one’s genes. In this sense, lying about virginity and income are not equal sins.

    • Konvkistador

      Actually if we are going for survival of genes, unless the male is Kennedy rich he is likley to sire less children than a lower or even underclass male in the modern Western world. If women care about “sexy son’s” they will hunt for low impulse control men.

      • Gee

        Perhaps. But the argument ignores the quantity / quality tradeoff. That is, survival of genes might be better with fewer but higher-quality children.

      • K(yle)

        If women care about “sexy son’s” they will hunt for low impulse control men.

        They do. That doesn’t mean they marry that guy.

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

    Well, the correlations are there and they’re high.

    Also, we know that previous numbers of partners predict cheating, so some of that would seem to be caused by the personalities of the women. Study here.

    • Nate

      Also, we know that previous numbers of partners predict cheating, so some of that would seem to be caused by the personalities of the women.

      The authors of the study seem to disagree.

      This inclination may be attributable to the individuals’ skills at recognizing sexual advances or recruitment of sex partners. Moreover, it does not appear to be the result of an individual’s tendency towards sexual experimentation, since we failed to detect a significant relationship between age of first sexual encounter (a reflection of sexual experimentation tendencies) and extradyadic inclination.

      Not saying they’re necessarily right, but attributing it to personality might be reading too much into it.

      • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

        I’d use the analogy of IQ. Age of first intercouse may have more relation to when your parents wanted you to have sex while your sexual behaviour as you get older is more influenced by your own inclinations. But I could be wrong too.

      • JustSomeDude

        ‘Previous number of partners’ is not the same as ‘age of first sexual encounter’. Yes, previous number of sexual partners before marriage is strongly correlated to infidelity for women. For a man, the question of whether the children he will help raise and provide resources for are actually his own is arguably the single most important issue.

        Number of sexual partners between age 18 and start of first marriage or cohabitation are positively associated with infidelity – Treas & Giesen, 2000.

        Married and dating women with four or more sexual partners prior to their primary relationship are more likely than other women to engage in infidelity – Forste & Tanfer, 1996.

        Our findings demonstrate that infidelity and number of sexual partners are both under moderate genetic influence (41% and 38% heritable, respectively) and the genetic correlation between these two traits is strong (47%). – Twin Res Hum Genet. 2004

    • Jack

      It’s useless and inexcusably amateur. Socio-economic status alone is going to account for nearly all of those correlations. The ‘stable marriage’ statistic rather bizarrely doesn’t first exclude those who aren’t in any marriage at all! So rather unsurprisingly the set of women who got married at age 25 have had fewer partners than those who by age 35 haven’t gotten married. Not mention, anyone who got married at age 28 and is now 32 gets left out of the stable marriage category, systematically discriminating against those who got married later. A competent study would examine a large collection of women who got married at the same age and check to see what factors predicted the health of their marriage 10 years down the line (controlling for education, socio-economic status, religiosity, attractiveness ratings, introvert-extrovert scale, etc).

      The other study, while at least competent is too small to sufficiently control for most confounding factors and isn’t at all sufficient for demonstrating that a woman with many past sexual partners is unusually untrustworthy. Rather obviously attractive and outgoing people are going to have a greater opportunity to cheat (just as they had a greater opportunity to hook-up while single). Want to make sure your wife doesn’t cheat? Marry the least desirable person you can find!

  • OhioStater

    Well the child borne to a true virgin wife is the legitimate offspring of the father (support for primogeniture?) if conceived on the honeymoon.

    I would assume a woman with history is more likely to divorce than a woman without history, just as a kid growing up in Minnesota without books or TV doesn’t know California is warm in the winter.

  • Dave

    This may be too basic,but what does the surgery do that proves to these masterminds that the woman is a virgin. I mean, the evaluation of hymens is no easy matter,given human variability.

  • http://www.getyourexbackforever.com/ Mandy Simpson

    Men feel pride in taking away the virginity of a lady …and thats what makes it important.

  • http://blog.jim.com James A. Donald

    Actually the last time western society was somewhat normal was about 1900 or so, not the 1950s. Every since 1910, or so the west has been really strange and perverse about sex, reproduction and gender differences, as compared to most of history, most other societies, and what we know from biology about gender differences. Affirmative action for women and all that set in 1910 – it is merely that in 1950 they became over the top and extreme, and it became unspeakable to doubt that women were not the same as men.. Anyone in 1900 hearing people say that pretending virginity was just a little white lie that harmed no one would wonder what planet they came from.

    The big change came with affirmative action for women in 1910, not with censorship for men in 1950.

    The west, starting 1900, 1910 or so, is the only society where illegitimacy is not severely penalized. 1950s is just when the censorship got thick enough to deny the affirmative action.

    • Psychohistorian

      Do you really have any sense of history? You think 1950 marks a period in which society believed women were just the same as men? Have you ever read or heard or seen anything from the 1950’s? There were incredibly starkly defined gender roles, indeed, on a large scale more so than at nearly any other time in history.

  • http://bluej100.blogspot.com Braden

    Chris, psychohistorian, and simetrical have it right: the key to this debate is the value of authenticity (whether “what they don’t know can’t hurt them”), and any comparison which omits that feature is unreasonable.

  • richardd

    Hi Robin, long-time reader, first-time caller…

    The value placed on virginity is, to my mind, highly dependent on cultural context. In some cultures it may be useful as a proxy for “I can trust that children of this relationship will be mine.” In my culture (upper-middle class professional Toronto), it’s a proxy for… what? Being socially maladjusted and not capable of having sex with someone else before marriage? Demonstrating bizarre and unrealistic expectations about what sex is in its relation to long-term relationships? A good indication that someone is going to be unfaithful later in the relationship when their own internal emotional pressure-cooker finally blows?

    I would never have been interested in marrying a virgin. So either I’m an abberation, or the “hard wired” hypothesis isn’t as solid as some here are advancing.

  • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

    I just added to the post.

  • Carey

    Here goes the second time…

    While they may be signals, they’re not equal signals.

    For one, men are notoriously bad at determining virginity at all. Men routinely get it wrong in both directions. Hymens are frequently gone by the time women reach sexual maturity, or are nonexistent from the outset.

    For two, the costs of ‘getting it wrong’ are significantly different. You forget that in most cultures where virginity is prized, women’s options for entering into, and leaving a marriage are severely curtailed. In those cultures, their options for sexual exploration prior to marriage are equally limited, meaning that the likelihood of being cuckolded out of that first potential child are relatively small. By contrast, in those same situations, the deception of lying about one’s wealth has serious rammifications for ALL children produced in the marriage thereafter.

    So no, as much as you’d like to argue that they’re equal they’re just not. For a better understanding of both the virgin mystique and the history, cultural traditions surrounding and origins behind it, I highly recommend ‘Virgin’ by Hanne Blank (http://www.amazon.com/Virgin-Untouched-History-Hanne-Blank/dp/B001G8W5W6/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1282100630&sr=1-1-spell) Great book, and totally worth the read.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      I’m taking these men’s word for it that they care lots about virginity, as it seems consistent with their actions, just as I take women’s word for it that they care lots about status, as that seems consistent with their actions. Many folk here argue that such men *shouldn’t* care so much, but I mostly accept people’s preferences as they are.

  • Mario

    Maybe a better comparison would be virginity and engagement rings. Giving a woman a fake diamond would be about on par with lying about virginity; once the marriage is entered into neither should matter much, but you would expect a pretty big argument from either side if the truth were ever revealed, as each would feel cheated as they just lost something they previously valued. I don’t think it’s necessary to agree with someone’s value judgments to understand their reaction.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    I thought the analogy was bad because it is assumed that the woman discovers the man is low-status, while I think most of these men will not discover their wives are not virgins. Robin’s post on honoring the wishes of the dead is relevant here.

    An evolutionary reason for this preference: stds are a huge cause of infertility. Your genes did not evolve to sabotage your reproduction, but infections constantly evolve to overcome our defenses against them.

    Psychohistorian, the Chinese are not hunter-gatherers. They have been heavily shaped by their agricultural history.

    Like Robin, I have a hard time grokking preferences that are in themselves illegitimate. We may not want the fulfillment of some preferences, but the idea of a clash of interests in familiar enough to handle that.

    • Psychohistorian

      “Psychohistorian, the Chinese are not hunter-gatherers. They have been heavily shaped by their agricultural history.”

      I would call this a reading comprehension fail. My point is that in the ancestral environment – hunter-gatherers – virginity was not particularly relevant, because people in general had numerous partners and the tribe cared for children communally. The nuclear family is VERY modern phenomenon, and spans perhaps less than a minute in the day of human existence. If you’re arguing that virgin preference is an evolved trait, you need to explain either how it conferred significant advantage in the ancestral environment, or else how it managed to become dominant in a mere ten thousand years or so, and you would probably also need to show that its prevalence varies based on how recently one’s ancestors were hunter-gatherers.

      Oh, you’d probably also want to explain why so many exceptions to it exist. I would say there are few upper-middle class men who value virginity in a wife. Indeed, I’d be surprised if a large percentage of American men (particularly those who are not religious), really give a damn about this.

    • Steve

      “Like Robin, I have a hard time grokking preferences that are in themselves illegitimate.”

      Who gets to decide what preferences are “illegitimate”?

      • Ali

        Everyone, I guess. For example, I don’t think the preference for dining on human flesh is a legitimate one that I should validate and respect.

      • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

        I’ll respect that preference.

  • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

    Since an unusual amount of people here have an interest in “men’s rights” and/or anti-feminism, they might be interested in Sister Y’s “The Patriarchy, the Gynocracy, and Other Comforting Myths of Struggle“, as well as David Benatar’s paper on “The Second Sexism” linked from there.

    • ThePenileFamily

      Thanks TGGP.

      He concludes:

      “In this paper I have sought only to highlight this discrimination and to argue that it should be opposed.”

      Some of it should be opposed and some of it shouldn’t. In specific circumstances I feel there are rational reasons why Women and Men are discriminated against.

    • CM

      I don’t know if anti-feminists are going to be interested in “The Second Sexism” since it was written by a pro-feminist who also takes great care not to make the kind of sweeping generalizations that are usually made in posts about gender on this blog. Of course, they should read it anyway.

      • ThePenileFamily

        The responses I’ve gotten from feminists regarding the paper thus far have been embarrassing. They run the gamut, from defensive, and angry, to quasi-hostile. And so it is with my own experience that I think the paper offends feminists more easily than anti-feminists; and so it follows that I think anti-feminists will enjoy the paper more, regardless of the general perspective the author may or may not hold.

        I don’t have any opinion in regards to whether this pattern generally holds true.

        Sweeping generalizations are okay. Often times they are necessary, especially for “blogs” and non-academic papers. Given the daily amount of content you find here, should it not be expected that specifics and extra detail will be omitted for practical reasons?

  • http://queersingularity.wordpress.com/ Summerspeaker

    The perference for virginity is harmful because, as the quotation says, it comes out of and supports the culture of male supremacy. It’s not some isolated whim but part of a system of oppression.

  • Leon

    I recently came across your blog and read a few of your posts. It made me wonder. I have always thought that the limited accomplishments of economists were a result of the impossibility of testing their hypotheses with experiments. But, since most of the questions I read you struggling with have already been answered by biologists, could it be that another thing impeding economists is ignorance of biology? For example this topic. All primate societies are hierarchical and male dominated. The struggle for fairness in our species is a fight between our reason and our instinct, and will probably never end.

    On the other hand, perhaps most economists don’t work on these types of questions. Now I must look for blogs by other economists.

    • Buck Farmer

      Bonobos (primates) are not male-dominated hierarchical.

      Research Robin has previously blogged on suggests that hunter-gather humans are fairly non-hierarchical.

      Other research I read suggests that strong gender differentiation is a result of social affluence. At least the trend (over the centuries) has been towards greater gender differentiation, not less.

  • Melissa

    Psychohistorian, the Chinese are not hunter-gatherers. They have been heavily shaped by their agricultural history.

    In the book Sex at Dawn, the authors mention that there are some differences between human populations in sexual characteristics. It’s simply a fact that statistically Chinese have smaller penises than other populations. And that is a marker that sperm competition perhaps was less of a factor there because of cultural sexual proscriptions. Perhaps promiscuous sex was selected against because of the STD-load common in dense agrarian societies.

    All primate societies are hierarchical and male dominated.

    Dude, just not true. There are thousands of primate species and it’s laughable to say that. Even one of our closest relatives, the bonobo, is not hierarchical/male-dominated.

    • Kate

      Another hypothesis is that perhaps due to being poorly endowed and generally bad in the sack (in many Asian countries giving women oral sex is considered shameful or even illegal), Chinese men might feel less insecure sexually with virgins.

  • Buck Farmer

    I’m a guy, and maybe I’m a crazy outlier, but I prefer non-virgins.

    Not for the intrinsic virginity/non-virginity but for what it signals.

    I want my children to have lots of sex, to be attractive, confident, and sophisticated people that have lots of kids.

    I don’t want to pass on hang-ups and anxieties around sex, sexuality, ownership because I see these as reducing the confidence and sexual attractiveness of my offspring. People with these anxieties frequently seem either reluctant or excessively aggressive when exposed to sex. All this communicates low-status, low-quality. Experience communicates sophistication and the power to choose (independence.) Experience makes the choice to commit to one guy valuable (because you know they’ve seen what else is out there.)

    I’d support a social norm in favor of wide-spread paternity testing, but I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it.

    • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

      maybe I’m a crazy outlier, but I prefer non-virgins.

      You’re not a crazy outlier.

      IIRC, the data shows that a significant number of men even before the sexual revolution cared nothing about a woman’s virginity.

      However, according to David Buss in Evolution of Desire, most men tend to prefer women with low partner counts, though not necessarily virgins. So, if you don’t care at all about your wife or girlfriend’s partner count you are probably in the minority.

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

    Virginity seems a decently reliable signal of future faithfulness and by extension certainty of paternity, which mean that a the preference for it in some men is not irrational in the sense that there is no substance behind the preference.

    However, as some have pointed out, we now have paternity testing to reliably determine paternity, so we can through out all that stuff about faithfulness or virginity. The thing is though that at least some men have evolved to like the signal, whether virginity or faithfulness, for its own sake, not because they are consciously thinking of its benefits for their genes.

    As for cites, I’ve already linked to thisthis. David Buss has further cites in his book Evolution of Desire.

    Also, according to this, those with high sociosexual orientation have less satisfying relationships. Dissatisfaction is a major predictor for unfaithfulness.

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

    I’m kind of surprised at the hate on a lot of people have here for virgins and the men who prefer them. Having moved in conservative religious circles and dated quite a few of the virgin girls there, I can attest that they are generally really normal, nice people who don’t seem to have many problems getting it on once they are married. The image non-religious people seems to have of the religious seems to be bizarrely out of touch with the reality. This seems to find an echo in Jonathan Haidt’s experience of living in a traditional community in India. He started to really like the people he was interacting with.

    (I can also attest that it was the girls I’ve met through school or in bars that were more likely to be really fucked up, sexually and otherwise.)

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      I’m also surprised by the overt hate. It shows the boundaries of tolerance and the circle of sympathy for many folks. Men who value virgins, even if they are willing to pay a great price for it to show their value is high, are beyond the circle and outside the gates; their loss matters not to those inside.

    • Ali

      I’m okay with people who prefer virgins, as long as they’re virgins themselves.

  • http://TobyBartels.name/ Toby Bartels

    It seems to me that there are two main reasons why commenters are considering the preference for virgins illegitimate (at least relatively). One of these has been identified and commented on: that virginity is preferred not (or not only) for its own sake but for what it signals, and these signals are meaningless or even misleading in modern civilisation.

    The other reason hasn’t been discussed much yet. I don’t know what to call it, so I will illustrate it with a little story. Suppose that you tell me that you want to attend some event, although you don’t tell me why, and you need my help. (Perhaps you need a ride from me, or you need to reschedule a meeting that we’ve planned, or you need me to give you some money, or whatever.) I might or might not satisfy you, but I will certainly give your preference consideration. I consider it legitimate, and for its own sake.

    On the other hand, if you tell me that you want me to attend an event, then I won’t give that preference any consideration for its own sake. If you give me a reason for your preference (that you think that I will enjoy it, that you need me to be a witness to something important, that the mob will break your kneecaps if I don’t show up, etc), then I may give those reasons consideration, but your preference for my life bears no weight in itself.

    I think that this situation is similar. Women who prefer high-status men and men who prefer virginal women, on the face of it, have preferences that are strictly about other people, which I would consider illegitimate. However, the factors signalled by high-status men (material well-being for the woman and any children) are so obvious that people will naturally read them right into that desire, and these factors are legitimate preferences (at least by my standards), so one might jump to the end and claim the desire for high-status men as legitimate. In contrast, the factors signalled by virginal women are questionable (and have here been thoroughly questioned here), so one might discount them and look at the desire for virginity for its own sake, and that is (by my standards) illegitimate.

    So I don’t quite agree with the commenters who declare a preference for virginity illegitimate but a preference for high status legitimate, but not because I find them both legitimate; instead, I find them both illegitimate in themselves. And therefore, the only thing that matters is what they might signal (which has already been discussed).

    • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

      the factors signalled by virginal women are questionable (and have here been thoroughly questioned here)

      This is silly. For example, being cheated on is usually very unpleasant. One of the things signalled by virginity is less likelihood of cheating. There is in fact some evidence that virgin women are less likely to cheat.

      • Ali

        Do you remember what journal that study was in, by any chance?

      • Randall Randall

        Didn’t you read Toby’s comment? A preference not to be cheated on is strictly about other people, and therefore clearly illegitimate.

      • http://TobyBartels.name/ Toby Bartels

        @ Thursday

        The sentence that you quoted is from a paragraph whose reasoning I don’t actually agree with. It is better to separate the desires about others’ lives from what these signal, and I’m explaining the reasoning of a hypothetical person who doesn’t do that (and who also has certain opinions about what they signal). It would have been better if I had written “(and have been thoroughly questioned here, although answers have also been proposed)”. I only want to address the legitimacy issue.

        @ Randall

        Heh, yeah, I do believe that. It’s never bothered me that my sexual partners might have sex with someone else, as long as we settle the safety issues (which can affect me). Obviously I’ve broken through a strongly grounded genetic predisposition that almost everybody else has, but I think that I broke through it by the power of reason; jealousy is a bias that I have overcome. (For the record, I expect neither virginity nor wealth from my mates.) Pace Thursday, I may be underestimating the risk of disease or heartbreak, but I certainly don’t value monogamy as an end.

        I also didn’t address the issue of honesty. If I began a relationship with a woman who had, for whatever misguided reason, believed that I expected her to be a virgin and had reconstructed her hymen to trick me, then I would be upset if I learnt about the deception, because of what dishonesty signals. There’s a solid feminist position to take which says “What these women are doing is wrong, because it is dishonest; but what these men are expecting of them is also wrong, because it is an illegitimate expectation.”, and that is my intuition. I accept Thursday’s (and others’) arguments that virginity signals something valuable as potential responses to this; they have to be evaluated on the facts. But I don’t accept “All desires are legitimate.”. (Or it might be better to taboo “legtimate” … I can use Less Wrong jargon here, right?)

  • CM

    So, many Chinese men demand virgins and it does much greater harm to women (pointed out by other commenters) than deception about virginity. This demand impacts straight women’s self-image and even rape victims are made to feel that their value as human beings is reduced simply because they lack a hymen. These women feel pressured to either limit their sexual experiences before marriage, undergo and pay for surgery, or limit their pool of potential partners – all significant costs. There may also be some psychological costs involved, like the idea that one has to settle for a man who wouldn’t accept her the way she really is, which is likely to reduce marital satisfaction both for the woman and, indirectly, her husband.

    You accept the male preference of holding their partners to a higher standard than themselves and treating women as objects akin to cell phones as legitimate despite the great and overt harm it does to women, but you treat the female preference for self-enhancement to meet those unrealistically high standards as illegitimate and deserving of criticism, even though it does much lesser harm to men. This “harm” is not even actually experienced in most cases and can only be understood in some weak metaphysical sense. I guess the sex of preference holders is the only reason to consider their preference illegitimate, huh?

  • Jason Malloy

    “This male preference for virgins seems as legitimate as the female preference for high status husbands.”

    You are much too conciliatory towards third world morality (which directly and indirectly contributes to the poorness of these nations– especially China).

    Western values have shifted to a companionate model of relationships, so I think the unspoken morality of mate selection has evolved towards an expectation of compatibility (Pair Bonding < Peer bonding?). Women who seek men too far outside their own status are viewed as superficial gold-diggers. Men who seek women who are much younger or chaste than themselves are viewed as similarly superficial.

    I don't think virgin men who seek out virgin wives are subject to much skepticism. Rather the cultural double-standard (which is much larger in poor nations) is rightly open to criticism.

  • Bill

    This preference may not really exist for most people in that country. There is a woman shortage in China. A reasonable attractive woman has no problem finding a man, especially in an urban area.

    Now, it could be that the men who are in high demand are the ones insisting on this silly virgin preference, but that would mean that the women subjected to it have other choices as well.

    • http://shagbark.livejournal.com Phil Goetz

      I find it hard to believe this woman shortage has a large impact on individuals. The male/female ratio in China is something like 1.2. Washington DC has a female/male ratio of 1.1, and I don’t see women fleeing to Baltimore.

  • http://shagbark.livejournal.com Phil Goetz

    Robin, you’re so descriptive (as opposed to normative). Virginity vs. lack thereof, assuming the woman isn’t pregnant at the moment, has no effect outside of the man’s mind. It no longer has any social value (other than the empty value it provides to the man who values it and attains it; if you advocated preserving a value for that reason, you might as well make up arbitrary easily-satisfied values, such as valuing the word ‘fnord’).

    As thinking animals, we have the ability to choose to discard such values when we find they have costs and no benefits – if not individually, then collectively, over time. We wouldn’t find it so easy to choose to discard valuing a man’s wealth.

  • slumlord

    @Jack
    Socio-economic status alone is going to account for nearly all of those correlations.

    How?

    The ’stable marriage’ statistic rather bizarrely doesn’t first exclude those who aren’t in any marriage at all!

    That’s because the stable marriage statistic looked at the ability to both form and maintain a stable marriage. The premise being that the promiscuous have difficulties in both areas.

    Not mention, anyone who got married at age 28 and is now 32 gets left out of the stable marriage category

    Yep, because the definition of stable was being over thirty and being married for five years. The data involving that group was excluded from the study. It also excluded non-sexually active women. Check the Technical Notes section at the end of the study. No bias.

    The study has its flaws but the correlations are valid.

    • Psychohistorian

      The correlations are valid, but don’t generalize. If you were betting on which twenty-five year olds would have been married by 30 and still married by 35, given only their number of sexual partners, it might be useful. For pretty much anything else, it is not. The 5 year mark is also quite arbitrary, particularly as 7 years is the typical breaking point of a marriage. It would at least be interesting to see such graphs for different age ranges. I bet they don’t look as good for the virgins; there’s probably a reason they picked 5 years.

      As is pertinent to this discussion, ff you’re trying to predict the odds that the woman you are about to marry will remained married to you for a long time, i.e. 20 years, it’s completely worthless. It could well be that most women who were virgins at marriage cheat, then divorce in their mid-30’s. This would not show up. It could be that, of the women who do have a large number of sexual partners, all who actually do get married do so and never divorce. Unlikely, but possible.

      More generally, sexual experience is a proxy for both low and high socioeconomic status. In the former, it’s probably a bad thing for marital stability. In the latter, it’s mostly a good thing; divorce rates among the fairly wealthy are still about where they were forty years ago. Failing to control for socioeconomic status in any way is going to generate a lot of noise.

      • myth buster

        Good points. I’d like to see the study redone and published as a stratagram, rather than a histogram. Separate the women into five categories, listed from bottom to top: stable marriage (as previously defined), currently married to first husband for less than five years, widowed (including those who have since remarried, but not yet having been married for five years), never married, divorced (including those who have since remarried).

  • http://www.lewrockwell.com/ John and Dagny Galt

    Deceit is deceit, plain and simple. Honesty and Truthfulness should make and break associations of all types. Even seemingly innocent omissions plant seeds of doubt and mistrust that sprout into Redwoods.

  • http://www.joshuafox.com Joshua Fox

    If it were nothing but a personal preference, as for a beauty mark on the left cheek or for redheads, there would be a lot less controversy in this thread.

    But as it is, there is reason to be suspicious of a preference for virginity — it is associated with a lot of abusive practices, as seen in various historical and contemporary societies.

  • Lia

    I think you’re approaching this quite the wrong way. In women and girls, the hymen can be torn or abraded by everyday activities that don’t include sex, and it’s pretty common, all things considered, for a healthy, active woman, who has never been sexually active, to have very little hymen left by the time she is an adult. In societies that value virginity, the value is therefore placed on something that is not an accurate indicator of virginity!

    So, if your value as a spouse is based on the presence of a piddling piece of membrane, why not have it surgically altered to pass inspection? Insofar as there is only the shakiest of links between the presence of the hymen and virginity, I don’t see this as dishonest at all, and I can’t fault women for doing this!

  • Calzone

    The vast majority of these commenters are ridiculous. They sound like blind feminazis in their condemnation of the piece.

    For me, the question of faking virginity is FAR more serious than faking wealth. Virginity is an intrinsic aspect of the person. You can lie and say you’re a virgin or not, and that’s not so serious. But when to go as far as to have surgery to conceal an intrinsic biological trait with the goal of deceiving a potential mate, then it is extremely serious.

    Faking wealth is something love overcomes because many couples go through financial ups and downs and love is what helps them get through it.

    A better analogy than faking wealth is faking gender. Imagine if a woman married a man only to discover one day that he is actually a woman who underwent a sex change operation.

    To summarize:
    If you have had surgical work done on your body to make it more attractive to a potential mate, and you can’t admit it to your partner, and the nature of the work is to conceal something that you partner would find offensive if he or she knew you had the work done as opposed to it being your biologically natural state, then that is a HUGE breech of trust.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Men want virgins because they do not want their wives to know how lame they really are, and what they are missing.

    Intelligent experienced men want intelligent experienced women with whom they can share life’s sweetest moments.

  • Lexi

    Wow lots of comments! I didn’t read all of them.

    While I agree virginity and wealth are not equivalents per se that is kind of irrelevant, the root of the problem for me is the lie and what the need to lie, on both sides says about us as a species– both from a biological perspective and cultural perspective. We suck! I get it, but we suck.

    We are not yet at the point where we can re-wire our biological drive for more noble reasons to be attracted to someone. However, our cultural environment can have a big impact on that. Culture aside it is reasonable to want to know who the offspring actually belongs to. But as someone else pointed out, we have tests for that.

    Additionally, women being able to support themselves has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, more freedom of choice. On the minus side, men have to do more to be impressive/worthy, their income alone is not enough. More might look like– becoming significantly more emotionally intelligent than their compatriots (at least for me).

    That women are undergoing the surgery suggests they buy into the cultural norm enough to do it. Even if they don’t buy into it enough to not have sex. I wonder how many of these women have had to sell themselves for sex (to support their family), have been raped, or whose hymens were not intact for other reasons.

    • Lele

      “Additionally, women being able to support themselves has pluses and minuses. On the plus side, more freedom of choice. On the minus side, men have to do more to be impressive/worthy, their income alone is not enough.”

      Wrong. Men nowadays must do less. In the past, they had to prove they had financial means to provide for her and that were willing to stick around. That was all long courtships were about. Nowadays, you just need to look cool and fun, and women will give in (unless they are looking for a sucker to marry because they are older and eager to settle, but then they are more “forgiving”, not less, because of less options). As a previous social-awkward nerd, discovering that (Western) women will value me more the less I do for them has been a mindset shift.

      So, yes, in traditional societies, female virginity is a steep requirement, but then as a man you face steep requirements as well, albeit different ones. It’s not like you can hook up with virgins while still in school, you know.

  • Lexi

    Also this site needs a “thumbs up” option for comments I agree with or disagree with . . . like on the last psychiatrist’s site.

    • Fructose

      Or introduce a Karma system, like Less Wrong.

      • Psychohistorian

        Upvoted! …. wait.

  • Locomotive Breath

    If I understand what some posters are saying:

    Women are entitled to choose what they value in a man and no one may pass judgement on the legitimacy of that choice.

    OTOH, men are NOT entitled to choose what they value in a woman and women ARE justified in passing judgement on the legitimacy of that choice.
    ====
    If I find out my new bride is not only not a virgin but had two-dozen sexual partners, am I allowed to care?

    If, as a result of her prior promiscuity, she’s contracted and given me an STD am I allowed to care?

    If I find out my new bride was previously pregnant by another man but had an abortion am I allowed to care? Multiple abortions?

    If I find out my new bride delivered a child or children by another man or men, and any children I have with her will have step siblings, am I allowed to care?

    Am I allowed to pass judgement on ANY former (and likely future) behavior of my new bride?

    Apparently not.

    • Lexi

      Yeah I tend to agree people get to have their preferences, even if they are ‘stupid’.

  • http://www.memomachine.com memomachine

    Hmmmmm.

    1. Congrats on the Instalanche.

    2. Faking virginity? How is that not fraud? Wouldn’t a husband who was convinced to marry have a case?

    3. With faking virginity being so prevalent wouldn’t the prudent groom have a medical professional “check under the hood” so to speak?

    4. If you’re wealthy enough to attract women willing to undergo surgery then you’re frankly better off hiring a surrogate mother to bear your child and avoid the whole problem altogether.

    • George

      Isn’t faking virginity fraud similar to rolling back the odometer on a car. Low mileage is valued because it removes the uncertainty of what happened in the past and guarantees that nothing is worn out from use and abuse. Performance isn’t optimum yet during the early break-in period, but the trend is toward improvement. Can’t imagine committing to a long-term relationship without a test drive, but I could see someone valuing newness independent of concern about reproduction.

    • Carey

      Much as I’m sure there’s some that would disagree, faking virginity (absent perhaps the STD example from above) isn’t an actionable fraud.

      Fraud requires the following:
      1. a representation of an existing fact;
      2. that in its materiality;
      3. is false;
      4. and the speaker has knowledge of its falsity;
      5. and intentionally makes the claim, knowing that it will be acted upon by the plaintiff;
      6. plaintiff’s ignorance of its falsity;
      7. plaintiff’s reliance on the truth of the representation;
      8. plaintiff’s right to rely upon it; and
      9. and resulting consequent damages suffered by plaintiff.

      And therein lies the rub. Merely being upset by the fact that a woman lied isn’t considered the kind of ‘damages’ that courts generally find necessary to support a fraud claim. Unlike the latter example Robin used (where financial deception _could_ create damages, although perhaps also a challenging action nonetheless), merely being distraught that one’s lover lied over their sexual history does not.

      In truth, Mario’s example of the fake diamond ring was a more apposite example, and would lead to the same result.

    • silly engine needs to work better (Carey)

      Much as I’m sure there’s some that would disagree, faking virginity (absent perhaps the STD example from above) isn’t an actionable fraud.

      Fraud requires the following:
      1. a representation of an existing fact;
      2. that in its materiality;
      3. is false;
      4. and the speaker has knowledge of its falsity;
      5. and intentionally makes the claim, knowing that it will be acted upon by the plaintiff;
      6. plaintiff’s ignorance of its falsity;
      7. plaintiff’s reliance on the truth of the representation;
      8. plaintiff’s right to rely upon it; and
      9. and resulting consequent damages suffered by plaintiff.

      And therein lies the rub. Merely being upset by the fact that a woman lied isn’t considered the kind of ‘damages’ that courts generally find necessary to support a fraud claim. Unlike the latter example Robin used (where financial deception _could_ create damages, although perhaps also a challenging action nonetheless), merely being distraught that one’s lover lied over their sexual history does not.

      In truth, Mario’s example of the fake diamond ring was a more apposite example, and would lead to the same result.

  • http://www.memomachine.com memomachine

    Hmmmm.

    “I wonder how many of these women have had to sell themselves for sex (to support their family)”

    The shorthand term is “prostitute”. The vulgar term is “whore”.

    And if I may point out that the circuitous phrasing you used is rather odd.

    • Lexi

      My phrasing is such because I sometimes work with women who do that for a living and I’m in the habit of saying some things in the least shaming way possible. i.e. the way most likely to make it safe for them to talk about their problems/help them find alternative solutions.

      Either way, my preference for how someone would deal with that, is honesty. Granted most people cannot handle honesty, which does not make lying the correct course of action either. If people were more honest, we’d have a more accurate picture of what needs to be changed. Or what may not actually matter.

      I don’t think it is wrong for people to have a preference, whether it is a virgin or a wealthy spouse. Or someone taller than you, or someone that makes you feel good. But I think the way a culture is set up so that a significant portion of people feel they *have to* lie is a problem.

  • http://www.memomachine.com memomachine

    Hmmmm.

    Oh btw. It isn’t just in China. Japanese women are having these procedures done as well.

    Evidently Japanese men prefer virginity in their wives. Frankly in the age of the internet and Google I, along with archival websites, I wonder if these men are making any sort of effort to verify that this is real or if they are willing to accept the fantasy and not the reality.

  • Joe Hooker
  • Milwaukee

    Virginity and wealth are quick symptoms of deeper things.
    Perhaps, if the woman is religious in the Christian sense, then virginity recognizes a willingness to place oneself second to ones beliefs. In the 1930 Lambeth Conference the Anglicans separated recreational and procreational sex. I think the Catholic view is that the marriage act is a renewing of convent between spouses, and is meant to be procreational as demonstrating the partners love for each other as God loves us. Thus either of the partners being sexual active before marriage indicates a lack of commitment to what marriage, and the marriage act, are all about. If these things aren’t important to either party, well then, party on.
    Wealth indicates that the earner knows how to earn and “husband” their resources. Both require separate skills, and diligence. A man who can make money, but doesn’t know how to spend wisely might not be much of a catch. A man who doesn’t know how to care for himself by earning money might not be much of a catch. I saw a poster on another blog talk of how she had supported her artist husband for years. She wasn’t so much a spouse as a patron. Well, there are artist who can support themselves as artists. Or who can figure out jobs which support themselves as artists. “I wait tables so I can finance my painting hobby.”, might be an example.
    Willful deceit is definitely grounds for invalidating a marriage.

  • Steve

    “Faking virginity does not equal faking wealth.”

    Well, that’s an opinion. But not a very sensible one. In both cases one person is faking the possession of an attribute which another person will find desirable. So what actually is the difference?

  • http://submandave.blogspot.com submandave

    For those objecting to the “virginity-income” analogy and see no logical reason for virgin preference, please consider the following scenario:

    Imagine that there was a culture where women exhibited a marked preference to marry men with a full head of hair. In modern times, marriage is more delayed, often until past the onset of male-pattern baldness. Many balding men seeking wives, however, have sought medical attention for a temporary cosmetic treatment to deceive their brides-to-be into believing they have a full head of hair. Would you support this or not?

    • Lexi

      I’m not the greatest person to ask as baldness itself does not necessarily indicate attractiveness– how he carries himself in relation to it does.

      However, if part of what you are selecting for are traits that may get passed down to your kids, you have a good point. If ability to maintain virginity is also an indicator of self control or the ability it may make it even more important.

  • Steve

    “So, if your value as a spouse is based on the presence of a piddling piece of membrane …”

    The assumption there is that YOU get to decide for other people what things are important for them and what things are “piddling”. Where did you get that power again?

  • RonF

    Here’s what men have a right to expect; to be told the truth. So do women, of course. But what women who do this kind of thing are saying is that they have a right to deceive a man about something he cares about. It’s not up to these women to decide whether or not what the man is worried about is valid. Person A has no right to lie to Person B – and seal a bond with the legal and emotional consequences that marriage has – on the basis that Person A thinks Person B’s concerns are invalid and therefore lies to them about it.

    If they lie about this, what else will they lie about?

    • Lexi

      Well said.

    • JS Allen

      Good point. That’s why I refuse to trust women who wear makeup, and divorced my first wife after I learned she wore braces as a child.

      • http://www.viliam.bur.sk/en Viliam Búr

        Your analogy does not include the intentional lie part.

        The analogy would be more correct if you had clearly expressed that not-wearing-braces-as-a-child is very important for you, if she understood it, and then she would swear to you that she never had any. Extra points if she would pay doctor to create fake evidence.

        Perhaps in that situation you could see some serious dishonesty being involved.

    • Dawn Isola

      I think men deserve to be deceived for thinking this way! Serves them right!!!!

  • james hays

    Attraction is driven by instict, and not subject rational modification, but the prefernce many men feel for virgins or at least non promicious women is a result of the fact that men can be tricked into supporting and raising the offspring of another man, while women can not. This preferencewould likely be exasterbated by a government enforceing a one child policy (or a culture having a very low fertility rate). Women who want their mates to be wealthy but find men’s preference for non promicious women unreasonable are being both hypocritical and unreasonable.

  • http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/ daedalus2u

    I think the focus on the value of virginity is a mechanism to control women.

    If a large fraction of a woman’s value as a bride is tied up with her being a virgin, she has a greatly reduced value as an ex-wife because she is no longer a virgin. If she has less value in the mate-purchasing market, she has fewer opportunities to escape from her first marriage no matter how bad it is.

    I think this is why certain men put so much focus on virginity. I suspect that deep down, they know they don’t have that much to offer a woman so as to entice her to stay married to him. He is relying on the loss in her value when she is no longer a virgin to compel her to stay with him because she doesn’t have other options.

    Typically (in my experience), men who place great value on the virginity of women are misogynists.

    I think this is what is happening in China, especially with the excess of men. Men know that women have other opportunities for mates should their marriage to this man fail. I think such men are trying to devalue women who are non-virgins so that a wife does not have other opportunities and so he can maltreat her in the marriage and she will not have the recourse of leaving.

    • Tim

      daedalus2u – Re: “I think the focus on the value of virginity is a mechanism to control women. ”

      I don’t think that’s correct.

      I think in the past (or in some current cultures), when men did on the whole control women more than they do today, there was also more focus on a women’s virginity being valuable. And men (probably fathers most of all) might try to control women to keep them virgins. But that’s caring about virginity (in women, often not so much in men), and having and imposing control to try to preserve it, not so much valuing it or trying to preserve it, and thus gaining control.

      Its not mostly a mechanism for achieving control, but rather a focus for that control when and where it exists.

  • myth buster

    I’d like to know why no one has mentioned the fact that having sex creates a hormonal bond with one’s partner, and it’s never as strong as with the first person it’s formed with.

    To Toby’s point, both concerns are legitimate because the people in question are asking us to spend our lives with them. Hence, you had a very reasonable analysis and came to the wrong conclusion. Why? Because there’s another option- this person doesn’t pass one of my deal breakers, so I’ll find someone else to marry. True, we can’t dictate what anybody else will do with their lives, but we can say we want no part in it.

    • Kate

      Ahaha, how many people had/have strong bonds with their “first” formed by sex? The thought is almost laughable, considering how bad the sex was then. I never think about him.

      Contrast that with the first guy who gave me an orgasm…well, I think about him quite a lot. The bonding hormones you seem to think you know a lot about are mainly released on orgasm.

      • K(yle)

        Ahaha, how many people had/have strong bonds with their “first” formed by sex?

        Maybe your experience is different, but it is extremely normal for women to form a lasting bond with the boy they lost their virginity to. I was ‘single’ until 28. I’ve probably dated personally close to a 100 women, and have an excellent memory. I can’t think of a single woman in that time who did not pine over her first love well into her adult life; and probably for the rest of her life. Nor do I have any female friends or family members that I’ve discussed the issue with

        The only exceptions I can think of among my personal anecdotese are victims of childhood sexual abuse not pining for the carress of Pedo Joe. Even there though, they were still emotionally attached to some boy they slept with in highschool.

        Your first love, and your first lover is unique. It’s the only relationship you will ever have that doesn’t rely on you having to recommit to a new person, and moving on with your life after being heartbroken. Every other relationship that you have after that one is a further indicator that you are capable of finding yet another after the current one ends.

        All that aside, you sort of undercut your own position. Losing your virginity apparently wasn’t special, but a later sexual encounter was. You had a man in your life that you will never forget, and still think about, and yet you couldn’t form a lasting relationship with him. That certainly signals an ability to divest yourself from a relationship and move on to the next one with relative ease. This isn’t a desirable quality in a longterm mate, for men.

        A woman who doesn’t have that past emotional baggage, and who is potentially capable of forming the kind of emotional, psychological bond that is unique with only a single individual in our lifetime is something of value. Virginity is an imperfect signal of that quality, but signalling rarely is. It’s about playing the odds, and feeling that you are actually worthy or desirous of the thing being signalled.

      • K(yle)

        …end of that first paragraph should read:

        ” Nor do I have any female friends or family members that I’ve discussed the issue with that don’t also have ‘The One That Got Away’. I know more than a handful of guys that do as well, although it doesn’t come up in conversations with men as often. I know I personally didn’t truly get over my first until five years after the fact. I moved on physically, but I never really invested in anyone emotionally and I’m sure if the women in my life at the time were privvy to that knowlege they probably wouldn’t have gotten involved.”

        Must have accidentally cut that somehow.

    • silly engine needs to work better (Carey)

      The idea of the hormonal cocktail release (mostly norepinephrine, seratonin and oxytocin) being substantially stronger with the first (as opposed to subsequent strongly-paired sexual bonds, is not only laughable, but its logically bunk.

      If a woman’s “first” time is through sexual violence, you honestly believe she’s bonded to her rapist, like some baby chick is bonded to the first thing it sees?

      Methinks you need to reassess your science.

      • myth buster

        Yes, yes she is, and that’s one of the things that makes rape so horrific- the victim’s mental and emotional responses don’t match her physical response. Oftentimes rape victims end up loathing themselves for having an orgasm against their will, and they will find it hard to have a normal sexual relationship because they associate sex with violence as a result of the rape. Rape crosses two things that should never be crossed.

      • John Walters

        The idea of the hormonal cocktail release (mostly norepinephrine, seratonin and oxytocin) being substantially stronger with the first (as opposed to subsequent strongly-paired sexual bonds, is not only laughable, but its logically bunk.

        And of course you’re not going to cite any kind of science to prove your claim.

        When you start linking to your webpage that proves you’re a professor of endocrinology, I’ll take your opinion seriously.

        @Daedalus

        she has a greatly reduced value as an ex-wife because she is no longer a virgin. If she has less value in the mate-purchasing market, she has fewer opportunities to escape from her first marriage

        Excellent insight – except I would add that such control is in the long-term interest of women.

        Monogamy saves women from their instincts. Without monogamy, women regress to their instincts, and society regresses to a feral state.

        Go right ahead and abolish the expectation of bridal virginity. All of society will end up paying the price.

      • http://daedalus2u.blogspot.com/ daedalus2u

        Carey, if humans were strictly logical creatures, maybe you would have a point. Have you ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome? An instance where people bond to people who abuse them?

        Is that “logical”? Bonding to someone who abuses you would seem to be quite illogical. Unfortunately sometimes women (and males too) don’t have a choice. Humans are descended from organisms that had an alpha male type mating strategy, where the new alpha male would kill the old alpha male and then kill his children (so the females would go into heat faster) and rape his females. Just like what happens in lions. If the alternative is being killed and your children being killed, bonding to someone who abuses you is a more “logical” strategy, objectionable as it may be.

        No John, treating women as objects or property is the feral state. In civilized regions, civilized people treat women as human beings with human rights and not as property of their male relatives. Keeping a marriage intact takes work by both parties. If a man can’t keep his wife happy and satisfied being married to him, he doesn’t deserve her and she should be free to seek companionship elsewhere. Or would you prefer that her new mate have the “right” to kill her children by her prior mate the way that lions do? The risk of lethal abuse by a stepfather is about 60 times that from a genetic father.

      • John Walters

        In civilized regions, civilized people treat women as human beings with human rights and not as property of their male relatives.

        Monogamy is not the notion that the woman herself is property.

        Monogamy is the notion that a woman can exchange her reproductive abilities for her husband’s economic abilities.

        Monogamy was very effective in agricultural societies because the husband got the labor value of the children, even if the mother would not or could not work.

        But if you are smart enough to make modern society function without monogamy, patriarchy, and the virginity taboo, go right ahead.

        John Bagot Glubb wrote a short book on why you will fail.

        http://www.arlev.co.uk/glubb/index.htm

        I highly recommend this book.

    • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

      Contrast that with the first guy who gave me an orgasm…well, I think about him quite a lot.,

      If a woman’s “first” time is through sexual violence, you honestly believe she’s bonded to her rapist, like some baby chick is bonded to the first thing it sees?

      These responses are missing the forest for the trees. It may well be that a woman won’t bond with her first partner if the sex is really bad or is forced. That doesn’t negate the basic principle.

  • joe in the south

    tramps can’t change, takes more than hymen surgery

  • http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com Assistant Village Idiot

    Robin, when you use the phrase “women’s virginity,” the only thing you are allowed to say is that it’s wrong for men to be so obsessed about it. And “obsessed” is not optional. You can say that ten times in a row, and still be whacked for saying anything more.

    Try it at home kids, on your own blogs, and you’ll see what I mean.

  • OhioStater

    It’s an ego thing for the guy, a point of pride. The Normans were the last to successfully invade England. Likewise, a “virgin” bride is very attractive (otherwise I wouldn’t marry her), and she turned away every guy except for me.

    • Lexi

      So what you’re saying, is men want to feel special too. Totally makes sense.

  • mike

    I agree with everyone who is saying that this comparison is unequal. Virginity is something every single woman is born with, while wealth is something that requires a tremendous amount of effort and is by definition something only a fraction of men can attain. It’s an enormous burden on men to refrain from leisure activities and navel-gazing to focus on their careers so they can impress these irrationally materialistic women. Clearly this cultural expectation of wealth is a tool used by the matriarchal power structure to control and oppress men.

  • Anne

    Has anybody thought about maybe not having sex before marriage? That’s what my husband and I did and it is really nice not to have the baggage. It takes some will power, but it was worth it.

    • http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress.com TGGP

      We live in a depraved culture still reeling from modernity. The mass sentiment displayed on blogs such as these will not survive the demographic transition. The only question is whether the values of the underclass or those retaining the old ideal of family will become the new norm.

      I really don’t understand what the Normans have to do with anything.

  • redz

    Men definately suffer with insecurities about their penis size so I suspect that is why they prefer a virgin so that she would have nothing to compare the sexual experience to.

    • http://hertzlinger.blogspot.com Joseph Hertzlinger

      Speaking as a science-fiction fan, I’m fascinated by this assertion of psychic powers (you just know what men who prefer virgins are thinking) and I’d be even more fascinated it came with actual evidence.

  • http://manwhoisthursday.blogspot.com Thursday

    Back to virginity! Slumlord seems to have found a study that specifically looks at divorce rates and controls for education:
    http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2010/09/sexual-partner-divorce-risk.html

    The results don’t seem that different from the Heritage Foundation study so much derided above: even one partner before her husband and a woman is much more likely to divorce.

    • http://hanson.gmu.edu Robin Hanson

      Interesting, and quite believable.

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  • Juancho_maceda

    being virgin is a big respect of you’re life ever!!!!!!!!

  • David

     All these sociologists and feminists simply don’t get nothing. Men and women are one species. Men have dominated women in as much as women have dominated men. All these demonisation of man and distortion of history are fabricated fictions to cause discord and conflict so that the government can create more laws to intrude in people’s privacy! There is no double standards when it come to sex. Virginity/purity in men is worthless – ‘WORTHLESS’!!! Let a man sell his virginity online and he might get a few minority of gay men and perhaps one 50yrs/o lady. Let a girl sell hers and the price will skyrocket to the heavens especially if she’s from a race where virginity is even a rarer attribute – e.g. caucasian! How much more proof do we need that Women themselves DO NOT VALUE PURITY IN MEN? A man has utilitarian value only, it stands to reason that a virginal man not only doesn’t provide more pleasure, but in fact provides less pleasure to a woman, and he provides even lesser if he happens to be a teenage boy (for biological reasons)!!!
    While feminists and sociologists always blame men or religio-patriarchal-society for indoctrination of the so-called male-obssession with female virginity they fail to see the actual logic behind it. Thus whilst these Western academics experts spend their lifetimes criticising the male ego, meanwhile the yet-to-be-discovered ‘female ego’ gets down to all kinds of mischiefs? After living a life of depravity she gets herself surgically fixed and she cries “fairytale or nothing!”. And sometimes convert to a religion such as reborn christianity to increase her bargaining power even more by becoming a ‘born-again virgin’! All the while these idiots social scientists saw nothing coming because they were busy focussing on double standards, patriarchal oppresion and demonising the male ego!

    ” Some sociologists and others have criticized the virginity obsession as emblematic of a male-dominated society in which women are viewed as sex objects…”
    And of course the woman – the real fraud here – forces a man to ‘menopause’ himself for her by having only the amount of children she would have goes uncriticised. The real culprit here uses trickry to reinforce her bargaining power to not only enforce menopause on him but also monogamy on him.
    As every sensible person who hasn’t been indoctrinated by our feminist political correctness would know, all a young woman needs to have sex is to sit in a bar. The moment a man approaches her and starts speaking to her, she won the war already. She doesn’t need to be humourous, doesn’t need to own anything except her own fine self, and she doesn’t even need to even speak English for that matter. All she needs to decide is whether she wants to give him her tel number, let him kiss her or let him take her home. She can’t go wrong she won the battle already! A little restrain goes a long way! A man unlike a woman doesn’t have the choice of restrain, if he doesn’t restrain himself it’s called rape! And unlike a woman, a man cannot sell his body to the opposite sex, he has to work hard to achieve his social status; all for what? To pay for a self-centered woman and self-centered children for the next 20yrs of his life – the equivalent of physical castration!?!?!
    I say if he’s to menopause himself and to castrate himself in a monogamous marriage he’s entirely justified to settle for no less than a family oriented woman who would yield and raise family-minded children! If a woman enjoys herself so much when she had much bargaining power, without thinking about her future husband and children, she can’t expect a man to menopause and castrate himself for the sake of wife and children for her sake once her market value starts to dwindle!

    I’m happy about the analogy about the janitor, cause a woman these days can and would divorce the janitor and her ground would be ‘deception’. It wont even be a divorce, it would be an ‘annulment’! Can a man get an annulment because his wife deceived him about her virginity? Of course not! His case would be dismissed at once. He would probably be declared a sexist by matriarchal society and loss his job! This kind of double standards are never seen by sociologists and academics of course!

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  • Hannah

    I cannot believe this comparison isn’t a joke. It’s absolutely laughable.