Friday, August 6, 2010

I Swear My Hymen is Still There

I'm a virgin.


What does that even mean? I took a human sexuality class last semester and the professor posted a really good question. What does it mean to have sex?

Does it mean to have actual intercourse? Ok let's break it down by throwing out some scenarios. Before I do that let me put down a disclaimer that physical contact between men and women is generally a big no-no in Islam, let alone dating or even coming close to premarital relations. At the same time our reality in the US is that so many young Muslims are doing it anyway, regardless of its prohibitions in Islam.

With that said, let's look at the following three scenarios.

  1. Couple A want to remain 'virgins' so they decide to dry hump (keeping their clothes on)
  2. Couple B decide to engage in oral sex especially so the girl keeps her hymen in tact
  3. Individual C is frustrated so masturbates to release tension
What's in common with all three?

The possibility of reaching orgasm for one.

So let's suppose 1, 2, and 3 all reach climax. What does that mean? They're all sexual experiences but does that mean they've lost their 'virginity'?

I feel like this is a topic that Muslims need to speak up about. It's prevalent in our communities and it's time we talk about it! A lot of times for Muslim women, virginity equates to keeping one's hymen intact. A lot of girls who become sexual active actually go and get get their hymen sewed so their future husbands don't suspect anything. Does that mean she has suddenly been given back her virginity?

So what does it really mean to have sex or lose your virginity.

God says in the Qur'an "But let them who find not [the means for] marriage, abstain from sexual relations until Allah enriches them from His bounty..." [24:33]

From my understanding, the Arabic here leaves leeway to the meaning of sexual relations which connotes all types of sexual relations with a person who is not your spouse. That includes touching, kissing, hugging, etc. The wisdom behind this is that these types of sensual actions all lead up to sex.

I think that these types of relations are on a continuum and virginity deals with all of them. I mean honestly there are so many ways to be sexual active other than intercourse.

I guess that next question is, what do Muslims that engage in these behaviors thinking they're still 'virgin' do?


.::Tuttie::. said...

That is a very good point mashaAllah!

I think all of it applies to virginity. To me virginity means lack of sexual experience.

A raped woman though is still considered a chaste woman because she did not participate in the act as evidence by this hadith

btw would you mind if I shared this in a couple of my pages to start dialogue?

ellen557 said...

Unfortunately I know of quite a few Muslim women who thought that virginity specifically refers to the hymen and as such thought that any other kind of sex with anyone was okay.

sillybilly said...

very interesting questions. that is why there are many things to do and follow whn it come to guarding ur loins: lower your gaze, dont be alone with opp. sex.

PI said...

jazakallah khair for writing about this. the only one that i'm unclear about is masturbation.. there are some scholarly opinions that say its permissible if it saves the person doing it from having actual sex (but fasting is better) so i dont think it falls in the same category? it depends though, and i dont want to get into all that..

to answer your question i guess muslims who engage in those behaviors have to repent a lot, stop doing it, and focus on making their relationships halal through marriage or leaving those relationships completely. may Allah protect us, make it easier for us and guide us..

PI said...

i dont think i really want a cat as a house pet but maybe a barnyard cat.. or a cat that just hangs around outside my house that i can feed once in a while. like the squirrels and rabbits that hang out here in my backyard.

supreem said...

way to burst the imaginary bubble!! Kudos. I agree... to an extent. I would say that losing your virginity does require a partner.... so, that leaves masturbation out of the loop.

Kate said...

So interesting. I had this conversation with my friend who had done everything but intercourse and considered herself a virgin. I agree with her, but now I've realized I don't think it matters so much.

I think something to think about is abstinence versus birth control argument with teenagers. I find it very interesting that teens that take an abstinence pledge are no less likely to engage in sex with their significant others, they wait longer, but when they do they don't use condoms making it more likely for them to become pregnant and transmit STD's.

I am a fan need to wait until you are emotionally ready and are really in love with someone, but if you do it before then (or after that) USE PROTECTION!

Youthful Wisdom said...

Yea, scenario C would be different because its just one person. However I feel that all of the others things that a couple can do would be considered part of virginity because its a sexual experience with another person even if there's no actual penetration. I think there's a lot more on the topic.

Muslim Girl said...

"A lot of times for Muslim women, virginity equates to keeping one's hymen intact."

You can have an intact/no hymen but still be a virgin.

A clarification in that quote would be how in some backwards cultural thinking (ex. Arab, Pakistani), virginity = intact hymen. It doesn't have anything to do with Muslim or Islam, but it's just unfortunately what some people, who happen to be Muslim, think.

Muslim Girl said...

Oh and the literal meaning of a virgin is someone who has not had intercourse with a male. So although the other things are sexual acts, it doesn't mean you are no longer a virgin.

F. Nightingale said...

Love your blog, very interesting topic. :)

PI said...

also i just want to say that in Islam, if we had an islamic government like the prophets, the only time someone is punished for zina (the lashes or stoning for adultery) is when actual PENETRATION is witnessed. so its almost impossible to be punished for it by shariah law because its difficult for one to produce 4 witnesses (with different laws for husband/wife as the witness of course).

that in itself does prove that there is a major difference between penetration and the other sexual acts. however, those lead to zina (fornication), and thus are haram as the qur'an says "do not approach zina" (but not to the same degree of sinfulness..)

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