I am Having an Arranged Marriage But I’m not a Virgin. What should I do?
Are you worried about the expectations of your husband (to be) and/or has he brought up ‘virginity’ as an issue in a conversation which has worried you?
The concept of ‘virginity’ or a ‘maiden’ is one who has not had sexual intercourse as yet, therefore, having the hymen intact in the vagina.
There are various cultural and religious traditions, who place purity, honour and worthiness of a woman at the centre of the concept of virginity. These are cultural values and beliefs and the significance of virginity is predominantly towards unmarried females, associated with notions of purity which is offered to the man at the time of marriage.
These beliefs and cultural values are still practised by many but times have changed and due to the internet, the world’s concept of premarital sex has also changed.
The media has opened up on sexuality, sexual health and sexual activities. Some cultures are challenged by this openness and others are trying to focus and understand the meaning of sex, which varies from kissing or petting to bondage or criminal sexual activities.
The boundaries of good and bad sex are still being defined in different cultures. The more people are open-minded about sexual activity they realise sex is part of normal life and not dirty or cheap thing to do, if consensual and age appropriate.
Deciding whether or not to have sexual intercourse before marriage is entirely a personal choice and whether or not having premarital sex has an impact on you or your relationship depends on the values and beliefs of the individual you are marrying.
Arranged marriage in its original form means that the bride and groom has had no contact before their holy matrimony. The expectation is that the potential groom and the bride are both a virgin. They don’t know each other. After marriage they find love, passion and intimacy.
Newer arranged marriages allow the couple to meet each other and choose to be married if they both feel they want to. Some may even decide to date to see how things pan out.
In recent times, more and more South Asians and British Asians are engaging in emotional and sexual relationships before being married.
This helps them to choose the person they want to be married to. Marriage is a togetherness contract with practicalities to provide safety and security to the couple and to their family (children) if they were to have any.
Men have performance anxieties and fear being compared to another man if their female partners are already experienced. You may know more about sex, if your to be husband has not experienced intercourse.
If the family is conservative and have expectations of you to be a virgin, you have to think about two things:
- What are the values and beliefs of the family I am getting married to – are they same or different?
- Does it matter to my husband to be, that I am not a virgin?
Your sexual relationship with your husband is private and it’s no one else’s business although if your husband discusses your personal issues with his family (which can sometimes happen) it is no longer personal between the two of you. This is something you need to weigh up and decide if you would like to be a wife to someone if their values are different to yours.
You can ask indirect questions to find out their values and decide for yourself what you want to do. The repercussions are variable – but you are the best judge of that.
Rima Hawkins is a professionally trained Sex and Relationship therapist for individuals and couples working privately in London. Rima has worked in the NHS for 24 years and is a Relate Therapist. Information about her services are available on her website.
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