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It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

A virgin is someone who's never had sex.

Many traditional cultures view virginity as a positive, as it is fancifully perceived as some kind of "magical and pure" state. However, when this view is restricted to women and girls — which is often — it represents a very chauvinistic and self-centered attitude.

Historical perception as a commodity[edit]

Historically, some cultures have perceived virginity as a commodity and a largely desirable trait in a woman, like paying the father of a woman with the understanding she is a virgin. The Bible also seems to value virginity in a wife over the life of the woman, as women could be stoned to death for not being virgins, even if they got raped. Islamic culture in particular makes mention of having 72 virgins in paradise after the person has martyred themselves. This translation is, of course, debated by many Islamic apologists.

Biblical use[edit]

In the Bible, Mary the mother of Jesus is called a virgin, specifically parthenos (sexually pure woman) in the original Greek of the New Testament. The birth of Jesus is claimed to have been a virgin birth.

Further, this virgin birth is claimed to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy from Isaiah. However, Isaiah wrote in Hebrew, not Greek, and he used the Hebrew word actually meaning "young woman". Bethulah means "woman who has not had sex" (c.f. Isaiah 62:5); almah, the word used in Isaiah 7:14, means just "young woman" and only sometimes "sexually pure woman," the correct meaning to be ascertained from context.[1][2]:34-35 Dictionaries were not invented until the 18th Century CE, and before that, words did not always have precise definitions.

The Jews of the first century CE typically read their scriptures in the Greek translation, known as the Septuagint. And the Septuagint translated almah as parthenos, making it seem that Isaiah was talking about a virgin birth rather than just a young woman giving birth. Moreover, Isaiah in the Hebrew Tanakh employed present participle, not future tense; the Greek translators changed it to future in the Septuagint. This was the inspiration for the gospel myth of the virgin birth. Thus, the Gospel of Matthew attempts to justify the divinity of Jesus with a prophecy that was never actually made.


Virginity in men (and asexual people) is often shamed as a sign of being an undesirable loser, as if getting laid is some measure of worth. An argumentum ad cellarium fallaciously dismisses a man's arguments by saying he's a basement-dwelling virgin. Insulting people on their virginity, or their inability or unwillingness to get laid, can be discriminatory for asexuals, those that are sterile, and those that otherwise cannot have sex due to external circumstances (social awkwardness, mental health problems, and simply either being unable to find an appropriate partner or not wanting to find one for whatever reasons).


  1. Virgin. Archived thread from alt.atheism.moderated on Usenet.
  2. Michael Paulkovich and Robert M. Price, Beyond the Crusades. American Atheist Press, 2016. ISBN 978-1-57884-037-3.