A few comments about virginity and marriage

Melissa,

I have already addressed and discussed the possibility that there is a correlation, and that causation is not clearly established. There are, as I discussed, many factors that may contribute to dissolution of marriages AND to first instance of sexual intercourse AND to instances of pre-marital sex. These factors may in fact be the cause of marriage dissolution, and not the pre-marital sex, of itself. This lack of clear causation, however, does not necessarily break the link between pre-marital sex and increased rates of divorce, nor does my reference to a single piece of research, dated only ten years ago, negate my argument. There is more research, however, my comment is addressed to a blog post lacking scholarly research, written quickly, and based on research readily referenced and available for you to review.

In that context, you are arguing that I must demonstrate, beyond any conceivable refutation, that pre-marital sex generally, and virginity, specifically, has no impact upon sexual relationships that follow, especially heterosexual pair-bonds. You know this to be a specious argument, based on the fallacy that I must prove more than is necessary to prove my simple and plainly stated argument, which is that chastity has a social and psychological value that impacts relationships. Jellybean’s assertions, which follow below (and to deep in the comment thread to address directly) are NOT withstanding such argument. Shocking though it might be among some, pair-bonded / married couples usually have substantially more sexual experience than non-married singles. The difference lies in the number of sexual partners during the course of a lifetime, not the experience that one may acquire, excepting, perhaps, if one insists that some experiences cannot be explored outside a single lifelong relatiosnhip, such as homosexuality for a hetersexual couple.

I also feel obligated to address the time range of the study, for this has direct bearing on the content of the study and upon several assumptions that you, Melissa, apparently overlooked. First among these is the prevalence of no-fault divorce among US state laws beginning with California in 1969 and ending, somewhat surprisingly, with New York State some scant three years ago. Prior to the general availability of no-fault divorce, it is not possible to separate divorce from cause for divorce, e.g.: one cannot say now, with any certainty, that any particular divorce ended for any particular reason since so many are legally dissolved without assigning fault. As a result, one purpose of such a study would be to determine if there are causes AND CORRELATIONS between any particular quality of a marriage or the individuals within it that may be a predictor of divorce. While prior to no-fault divorce there were certainly stories concocted for the consumption of judges that might then be recorded at court, generally one could rely upon legal record to at least establish the cause for dissolution of a marriage. As things now stand in our courts, such data are no longer available and must be constructed post-hoc.

The study, which surveyed much more than correlation between pre-marital sex and marriage dissolution, nevertheless found at least that correlation. Once might also observe a correlation between so-called race (which one must carefully differentiate from the much more biologically significant cladistic lineage – none of us is sufficiently pure for “race” as implied to have meaning) and marriage dissolution, which, upon close inspection and control for other variables such as two-parent households, income, and education levels, begins to vanish. For example, more recent studies you may yourself find and investigate will demonstrate a correlation between female economic insecurity and other negative social factors no longer favors “white” women. You will also find that married white women are exempt from the negatieve social impacts of poor economic conditions. Lacking strict causation, one may only observe correlation. This does not make the correlation vanish, nor disprove the apparent causation. We each as individuals must make decisions in absence of strict evidence of causation; this does not make us fools, merely human beings with imperfect and incomplete data. The notion that irrefutable science (an oxymoron) is necessary to continue discussions is purpose-built to end debate regarding the content of reality in favor of supporting the accepted dogma.

Second, we would all be grossly irresponsible to ignore the difference in both social acceptance and biological risks and consequences of promiscuity.before general availability of oral contraceptives, not available to women before about 1957-1960, and not available to unmarried women in all states until after 1970. A study of pre-marital sex impacts upon marriage prior to 1970 would therefore introduce a host of complications that would be wholly and completely inapplicable to the legal and social framework in which we now live. Pre-marital sex prior to 1970, and certainly before 1960, carried a host of economic and reproductive risks for women AND for men. Any study reaching back before such a date would necessarily need a host of controls to be valid for consideration and application to modern rules. Therefore, your complaint regarding the beginning date for the study lack credibility.

Third, you complain that there is no information in the study regarding men. I suppose my effort to project some egalitarian empathy is misplaced. There are several studies confirming female mate preference does not rely upon the sexual chastity of men. Such studies confirm that women do not value male chastity as men – in other studies and as remarked within Jellybean’s blog – clearly value female chastity. The scientific literature is remarkable for it’s consistent confirmation of female hypergamy and later pair-bonding for cuckoldry. “Alpha #(_)X and beta bucks,” as the PUA community brutally rhymes. Jellybean inadvertantly confirms this: within communities where pair-bonding is unlikely, sexual experience is preferred versus pre-marital sexual caution. I would encourage you, Melissa, to find and review the studies showing the aggregate economic and psychological results for pair-bonded couples.

Fourth, you refer to the author’s circular logic regarding attitudes toward marriage and related notions: “Although the NSFG contains information tapping attitudes toward marriage and family roles, this information is limited to 1995 and therefore may be as much a consequence of premarital sex, pre-marital cohabitation, marriage, and divorce as a determinant of these events.” Stripped of extraneous words for clarity, the sentence is, “…attitudes toward marriage… may be as much a consequence of pre-marity sex [et al]… as a determinate…” Such fallacious logic provides scant cover for actions lacking motivation while simulteneously indicting actions with motive that correlate with marriage dissolution. You wish to blame the motives without blaming the actions taken according to those motives; such thinking is the definition of wishing to have your cake and eat it, too. If only my clients accepted such excuses for missed deadlines!

I’ll end by returning to the content of the original blog post.

“Virginity is not a thing. Not really. It is a social construct meant to make people, especially women, feel badly about their sexuality and sexual experience. It is a way of policing other people’s bodies and passing judgment on how they use them. It is, at its very core, a way of controlling and subjugating women.”

Logical subtleties of philosphy and metaphysics aside, virginity IS A THING [capitalization for emphasis]. We can describe it; its changebility and malleability within our minds and within language does not alter that metaphysical quality. Moreover, and more to the point, as a THING it can be impactful on OTHER THINGS. It can be harmful, or helpful, and – consistent with other bits of philosophy – may be perceived differently by different individuals or groups. For one person, it may be, “a way of… subjugating women,” whereas for me, it is alternately a method of measuring experience, or social competence, or gauging an individual’s time-preference or social values, guessing a religious affiliation, or, as I have discussed at length, estimating an individual’s future sexual fidelity within a marriage.

As with all things, “your mileage may vary,” however; I don’t spend considerable time upon such written discourse except with empathy toward you. I believe you are mistaken regarding the motives of those who value premarital chastity, and encourage you to examine the available data before assuming your conclusion regarding its irrelevance is valid.

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