To virgin or not to virgin by Pearl Osibu

To virgin or not to virgin by Pearl Osibu

So, a couple of weeks ago, Nigerian social media was agog with news of Edo state governor’s wedding to the beautiful, young Lara Fortes. That some people said he had ‘violated local content act’ was not my business. That he was old enough to be maybe her grandfather…okay, let’s be kind, father, was also not my business. That it seemed like a Beauty and the Beast story did not concern me, neither did it concern me that his children were somehow absent from the festivities.


What however finally wrenched my erratic attention to attention is this talk of her being a virgin.

For starters, I would really like to know how this got out. Did he really make a statement…OMG, I sincerely hope not.

However it happened, that this is important is just disgusting.

I have had natural hair. I have had natural hair for almost eleven years now. Many times people try to make a big deal out of it, like my hair is some statement on Afrocentrism or black pride or something. Many times people have tried to ascribe to it all sorts of new-fangled ideas. Whatever makes them happy. In the same breath, these same people try to shame women who prefer to carry their hair straightened or in European styles. I tell them listen, my hair is just, you know, hair. It is not a political statement of any kind, there was no conscious thought really that went into it. I just started it and the rest is history. Eleven years ago, I wasn’t thinking politics of any kind for that matter. So I might be proud of my hair in the sense that it’s nice and full and stress-free and some people imagine, just from seeing my hair I must be some kind of celeb. Which amuses me no end.

But, do I think my hair makes me more African than the woman in Peruvian hair? No. does it ascribe to me some impetus or added credentials or more of acclaim to Africa? Like, do I need one? No. it is just hair.

This is the way I see virginity.

You see, it is not especially nice to be a virgin, neither is it not nice. It is not a thing. If you decide to stay ‘chaste,’ it is fine but nothing to be proud about. I had this friend getting married once – I didn’t know his wife-to-be’s name, where she was from, what she did, I knew absolutely nothing about her except the one thing that was whispered in hallowed tones, ‘she is a virgin.’ At a point, I turned to my friend and said if I hear one more time that the bride is a virgin, I’ll start screaming and never stop.


Big freaking deal!’

My biggest problems with this whole virginity thing are that for one, virginity is not exactly proof of chastity – whatever that even means. I have seen situations where the hymen is simply a bargaining chip, saved for the highest bidder (say piously my future husband) meanwhile, same person has engaged in every form of sex except actual penetration. For another, male virginity cannot be proven so even biology is against the woman here, and really, who expects a man to be a virgin?

I am utterly disgusted when I hear about trends such as schools giving special awards to female students who graduate as virgins. There are more important virtues than a hymen, take my word for it. I remember asking a guy once who was hell-bent on marrying a virgin, what if that is the only thing going for her? What if she’s nasty, wasteful, slothful, insolent, plain silly and a virgin to boot. He said he would forgive all. I had to laugh. Doesn’t it take only one time, one time and it’s over? Much ado. It’s guys like this who believe that any girl who enters her husband’s house already disvirgined are sluts.

Perhaps as a defence mechanism, women who are not virgins sometimes react by trying to shame virgins as though they were somehow inadequate or prudes or just plain silly. You see why I say it is not a thing? It is definitely not important enough to go to war over.
If you wish to be femina intacta, it concerns you and the man you finally decide to put it down for and only you alone. And if you decide that sex is for the living not the dead, it is equally fine.  Neither is reason to be arrogant.

People of Edo state, don’t be distracted by all this hullabaloo o. Ehen.

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