The Cult of Virginity has three primary sources: The early Christian Church, birth control, and the transference of property.
1: The Early Christian Church
My long-standing theory about human sexuality—and the Church’s erroneous teachings about it–has now been proven valid.
I was reading some theology today that dovetailed with my theory about human sexuality and God. This is my theory: We best know God through interaction with others. This idea originates from a sociology course I took in college, which taught that how others respond to us shapes our identity, our very sense of self. So I take that idea one step further and assert that we know God best–come closest to Him–through interaction with others, be it through family, or everyday contact, or at church, work, etc. Even monks and nuns, who are devoted to the religious life, live in communities. Our very lives are prayers.
Now if my theory holds true, then we also know God, come closer to Him, through physical intimacy with a partner, or even oneself. I turned to the Church fathers for theology on asceticism (i.e., practicing strict self-denial, including an abstinence from all sex) and celibacy (literally, the state of not being married).
A 4th Century monk by the name of Jovinianus argued that virginity–meaning never having had full sexual intercourse—and celibacy were not superior to marriage, which early Christian ascetics rejected as, at best, a pagan ideal, and, at worst, a distraction.
Specifically, the idea that asceticism and celibacy were preferable to marriage—and certainly fornication–arose from early Christians (followers of The Way) who reacted against the Ancient Roman, pagan notion that the individual was of no consequence, that one lived to serve society and only society and that marriage was in high service to society because one had offspring, which contributed to society itself. This was one’s fate, and this social ideal came from the Ancient Greeks, particularly Socrates.
These early Christians went in the opposite direction and renounced marriage and sex, asserting the primacy of the individual, as taught by the Hebrews in Jewish scripture.
Jovinianus reasserted the notion that one need not be literally solitary and individualistic to best know God; rather, one could marry and have children and worldly cares and still be close to God. One could even indulge in luxuries–be they food, wine, or nice clothing–since these gifts came from God. St. Jerome freaked out. He called Jovinianus a heretic. Notably, to prove Jovinianus wrong, St. Jerome transposed two key passages of Hebrew scripture when translating it into the Vulgate Bible. He placed marriage as an institution ordained by God after The Fall. In reality, marriage and sexual contact occurred between Adam and Eve before The Fall according to Hebrew scripture. Jovinianus was excommunicated and Saint Jerome’s teachings became Church orthodoxy. Interesting how that happened.
What’s the point? All of this means that, as argued, when we root experience in the flesh–which is one of its primary purposes–we know God through others, even through sex, either alone or with a partner. Sex is, therefore, not wrong, dirty, disordered, or intrinsically evil, as long as it is done between two mutually consenting adults. After all, it feels good. Really good. That’s why people have sex. If sex were excruciatingly painful, the human race would be greatly diminished in number.
2: Birth Control
Now on to the second principle origin of the Cult of Virginity: birth control. Until quite recently, birth control was unavailable. The best way to avoid getting pregnant was not to have sex. The earliest form of birth control, aside from plant abortives, was the condom, which was fashioned out of a sheep’s intestine. Supposedly, the condom was invented in France, hence its name, the “Frenchy.” These early condoms were unreliable and expensive. Thus, the best way not to get pregnant was not to have sex. (People did anyway, lots of it.)
3: Transference of Property
Money dictated a need for true physical virginity. According to traditional English law, all property went to the next male heir. Preferably, that heir was a male son. Were there no male heir, the property went to the next closest male relative, like a brother or cousin. Women could not inherit property. Period. A wealthy man’s worst nightmare was to marry a young woman and, eighteen years later, have his wife’s bastard son knock on the door and demand part or all of his mother’s husband’s property. Victorian English literature is full of this kind of thing. I know: I read a great deal of it in college. The bastard-son idiom was more than prevalent in English novels, as were impoverished widows and ineligible daughters. So we see that the third main contributing factor to the Cult of Virginity was money.
Thus, the Cult of Virginity is not only bogus but entirely based on man-made (literally) moral code, practicality, and greed.
 Interestingly, Jesus never uttered a single word condemning sexuality, even at the well at Bethesda, where He merely observed that none of the woman’s male partners were her husbands.
 Cf. Elaine Pagels’s Adam and Eve and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity, Chapter 4
 English erotic Victorian literature often makes reference to the Frenchy.
 Jane Austen heavily favored this narrative, whereby poor daughter’s of widows made good marriages based on their virtue.
I met you there, or was it here—on my screen? Your eyes fight through the façade of a painted face, yet the brushed-on exaggerations make you more vivid, more real, and a momentary inspiration for a lost and wandering mind.
You smile at me or is it the camera that you smile at? No. It’s easier to smile at the hidden world through a lens that is there because you let it be so close to you. You own it, but in using it, the world owns you. Though it does not judge you, it’s the gateway to a world that will do so in haste, for a laugh or for the many obscenities that trolls will lavish upon you.
Maybe you will get a compliment? Anything really meaningful; I think I must have hit pause by mistake in a somehow virtual binding struggle to freeze time and make your moment mine –to make you part of me. You are on my screen anyway, remember? You are now an artifact to be downloaded and uploaded for our personal viewing pleasure forever.
We often paint our faces to look older when we are young, and then we paint them to look younger when we are old. But everyone is on time-lapse here. You are there for a moment; your whole life in a database, on a screen, in a fantasy, it’s all in-between … the fact that you must have existed once on a thumb drive only to be deleted by the very finger that uploaded you a brief moment ago.
Though you seem so real, dancing in my office, on my bed, in the coffee shop and forever in my head, you are as if an angel, or maybe a devil, too. Intel and even AMD are not into playing moral favorites that human drama brings.
But never fear, a hacker may be able to resurrect your virtual self after finding your dead world in a recycling pile. He will surely upload you when you were most original but only if you look older when younger or look younger when older. You wanted to be ageless, so whether an angel or devil, he gets to play God. You get a kind of IT immortality. I’d take it even if naked.
When we are young, we wear less clothing to look older, and when we are older we wear more clothing to look young. We are always hiding “me” in the midst of searching for thee. We are caught in a search engine with the term “who am I?”
I asked Siri that question, and she told me my name and then said that “since we are friends,” she “gets to call me Jimmy.” She took it upon herself to name me a name she has heard before. Jimmy is 8, and, I, 48, but it makes no difference to a computer confused with only the order zeros and ones bring. Whether I am a man or a boy makes little difference to the genderless, ageless, sexless, and emotionless “girl” I have somehow befriended. Yet she is a constant in my life; I find her on every device beckoning me with her intelligent-less hyperbole.
But I think I just described a writer, a dancer, a producer, a photographer, and, yes, even a hacker. There is a kind of determined persistence in showing what is most horrible and beautiful in this world, so much so that the mundane has an ever-present feeling of security to it, an artful appeal.
Hello and thanks to all of you for making my 40 years of writing, finally, a happy and fun endeavor. I have found wonderful people here on WordPress and some fine artists. Though I have a tiny footprint and a heart as big as my ass, my appreication for all of you and your own works of art has really inspired me.