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What does a ‘born-again virgin’ look like

Throughout history, in the heteronormative and religious sense, virginity was a prized quality in a woman about to be married. 

As time passed, the high value placed on abstinence before marriage came to be seen as outdated. But there are people who still believe in the power of virginity. Pop culture highlights a section of celebrities, athletes and social media figures who decide to “reclaim” their virginity. So, what is a “born-again virgin?”

A born-again virgin is a person who decides to vow to wait until marriage to have sex after already losing their virginity before. In the modern age of acceptance and woke mindsets, virginity is viewed as a social construct originating from a bygone era. Religious beliefs portray virgins as a symbol of perfection.

People started embracing the concept of reclaiming their virginity in the 90s and 2000s with the rise of abstinence-only education. The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 began the abstinence-only education movement when it promised $50 million every year in Title V education grants to be spent on programs that promote “abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children.”

The phenomenon of reclaiming one’s virginity has gained traction, especially in women, due to the societal pressures women face to be seen as “pure” across many cultures. Even members of the Hollywood elite have begun to take back their virginity.

With celebrities becoming vocal on different issues on social media they are able to give us insight into the issues they have with virginity and sex as well. Miley Cyrus’ views of virginity as a social construct developed after receiving backlash for a provocative music video. But a few celebrities maintain the idea that virginity can restart after already having had sex.

Ciara and Russell Wilson shared with fans their belief in waiting until marriage, even though Ciara had a child from a previous relationship. Supermodel Miranda Kerr and Snapchat creator Evan Spiegel also pledged to abstain until marriage to have a traditional marriage. 

What constitutes a “traditional” marriage is subject to a diverse array of opinions that cannot be easily narrowed down to one religious or cultural framework. Different cultures have different beliefs on the nature of human sexual relationships, and virginity is too broad a term to have one exact definition. 

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Born-again virginity favors the side of a more traditional view of marriage. 

Heteronormative relationships tend to follow the aspect that virginity is defined by sex between men and women, excluding gay, lesbian and bisexual conceptions of sexual relationships. All sexual relationships cannot be defined by male and female intercourse. Therefore, the definition is a social construct. 

Socially, virginity is praised by various groups and religions. In Afghanistan, virginity tests are legal. Female genital mutilation, the removal of the external genitalia, is performed in countries such as Mali, Egypt and Sudan, where up to 91% of women between the age of 15-49 are mutilated. 

Whether one decides to be a virgin again for a clean slate, their safety or moral views, virginity is a construct and its significance is in the eye of the beholder.