Everything about virginity in The Bible
Self-control and personal integrity are running themes in the Bible and Christianity allows for the expression of physical love within the respectable borders of marriage.
Sexual union within marriage is deemed sacred because it is the deepest physical union possible. This union of husband and wife becoming ‘one flesh’ is the consummation of marriage; one that carries weight in building a meaningful spousal bond. Conception is the positive result of such an expressive union. Catholic Christians follow a pledge to abstain from sexual pleasures and engage in meaningful sexual unions only for the sake of procreation.
A clear sign of virginity is not present in men. Circumcised Christian men undergo the cutting of the foreskin, which generates blood, and signifies a blood covenant between the man and God. Women have a particularly perceived physical sign of virginity (the hymen), which generally produces blood when disturbed. The presence of this blood provides the sexual union with the key element of oneness (the covenant of blood between the two people), a covenant that binds them.
Virgins are highly valued people, respected, and desired. Virgin women, in particular, signify purity and discipline. Christian women are encouraged to keep their virtue until marriage and the husbands are themselves directed to ‘Love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’.
The Old Testament lays extreme emphasis on chastity before marriage and urges its readers to remain as virgin. Indeed, the virgin birth of Christ in the New Testament upholds that principle that virginity is an important factor when selecting a mother figure based on virtue and devotion. In some cultures, female virginity is closely interwoven with family honour.
The loss of virginity signifies an end to innocence, the beginning of sexual maturity, and a rite of passage, a milestone in a young adult’s personal life. In western terminology the word virgin is used to describe both human and non-human qualities. Fruit cocktails containing no alcohol are ‘virgin cocktails’. Similarly, the purer and more valued ‘virgin olive oil’ is named so, for it contains no refined properties.
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