Comments from NoodleFood


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Comment #1

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 18:51:49 mst
Name: Freddy Ben-Zeev

Diana, given that the idea of "second virginity" is ridiculous (and the source for it is evil) I think that you're partially mistaken in your (negative?) view of virginity. The common idea of virginity comes from the negative view of sex, equating virgin with pure and unspoiled - a really disgusting view. But there is a second aspect to virginity - the idea of a first experience. This is not something to take lightly (not in any issue that deals with important values) - as a "first" of anything is by definition non-repeatable. You remember Francisco's words after his and Dagny's first time? "We had to learn this from each other". The first experience of any positive and powerful value will be something special. I still remember the experience of reading Atlas for the first time, and even though I read and enjoyed it many more times, this was an unrepeatable experience.



Comment #2

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 20:23:13 mst
Name: Susan

Why do you assume that virgins would be inadequate lovers and experienced people adequate? There are plenty of lousy lovers who have tons of experience.

I believe a person's caliber as a lover is determined primarily by the soul, not experience.



Comment #3

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 6:28:09 mst
Name: Amy Nasir
URL: http://www.kindredist.com

Hi Diana,

This topic could be compared with a range of disturbing practices: sadomasochism to female genital mutilation, and many painful, sexual-related practices in between. This particular case involves having a piece of skin rebuilt so it can be ripped apart again. Perhaps re-circumcision will be the next craze!

And, I agree, sex is a learned skill. Our emotions of love and admiration and worship for a partner do not automatically translate into being able to make a lover's body feel good. Back rubs are learned too - there are even schools that teach you how to do it well.

There is nothing mystical or other-worldly about rubbing a person's back - why should rubbing a lover's genitals be regarded as mystical? Yes, there should be commensurate spiritual or emotional meaning involved in giving physical pleasure to someone. Considering this context, virgins are not only inexperienced with physical sex, they are inexperienced in effectively expressing their emotions of love to a partner *in a sexual situation*. Being rationally sexual takes practice, practice, practice.

These deluded women will not be able to experience what they are hoping for. But they will probably say they did. They will neither be able to relive their first time, nor really convince their partners that the event truly had meaning. It makes me wonder what else they fake.



Comment #4

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 10:33:07 mst
Name: Don Kenner

Ms. Hsieh,

Enjoyed the article and your comments. The only thing I would add is that virginity is important where children are concerned (obviously) and where teenagers are concerned. No, this does not mean that society's fabric is rent when 17 year-olds lose their virginity, but prudence and reason demand that teens be very cautious where sex is concerned. Sex is important. Therefore, the consequences of fifteen and sixteen year old kids having carnal relations in a school stairwell can be enormous, not only psychologically, but also socially and economically.

I realize that nothing in your posting essentially disagrees with this, but I thought it should be emphasized.

Love the blog.



Comment #5

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:03:50 mst
Name: Mike Hardy

I am puzzled by the comment that "Our culture worships virginity". This seems obviously not true. That there are some elements within our culture that worships virginity is true, but it has been some decades since the time in the past when someone who lost their virginity before their wedding night would stay in the closet about it and hope that no one found out, lest they be embarrassed. By the end of the 1960s that was over; by the end of the 1970s reactionaries were no longer frequently complaining about the fact that it was over.



Comment #6

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:04:21 mst
Name: kishnevi

I agree that the idea of a second virginity is absurd. Less absurd than the idea of virgin birth, which I would bet is common in the same circles, but absurd enough.

But virginity is not as negative as you portray it. When not linked to a religious value system (which of course is what most of the "abstinence" movement is) it's the sign of self control and the use of judgment. It's no more negative than picking through the fruit at a farmer's market to look for the best peach or apple in the bin. Sex is probably the most intimate activity possible for human beings to engage in togther. Adolescent males make a project out of losing their virginity--and that habit, even more than the state of virginity itself--is something that most people view as a sign of being immature. A mature, intelligent adult is assumed to think of sex as something more than indulgence of physical pleasure.



Comment #7

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 12:31:04 mst
Name: Amy Nasir
URL: http://www.kindredist.com

I highly recommend this website:

http://www.midwestteensexshow.com

It a video blog featuring tasteful, light-hearted, often hilarious, educational skits about teen sex. I really wish it had been around when I was a teenager. I rate it PG-13 -- and an enormously helpful resource.



Comment #8

Monday, March 3, 2008 at 16:32:58 mst
Name: Joe from Forces blog
URL: http://forcesblog.blogspot.com/

"...the simple fact is that a woman with years of sexual experience cannot honestly claim to be a virgin."

But: what about Doris Day? ;-)

(c.f. the famous quote by Oscar Levant)



Comment #9

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 15:16:27 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Diana,

I agree with you that a "second virginity" is a completely absurd idea that represents wrongheaded thinking.

But I do disagree with your assessment of virginity. I think you are very much under-emphasizing the point that "Women (and men) should be discriminating in their choice of lovers. A young person ought to think hard about whether and when and with whom to have sex for the first time, just as any person ought to do with any new love interest." I think that this can, *in the proper context* imply that virginity *is* a major value, as it (within the proper context) represents a person's understanding of the importance of sex, such that they do not want to engage in it outside of the proper values that must necessarily accompany it for a rational man.

In other words, that someone has highly discriminating *standards* for sex IS VERY MUCH SO a value, and apart from religious nonsense, this is in fact the value that is associated with virginity. Furthermore, I would venture to say that this holds true even for the majority of the population today - even the religious ones I think know this on some level.

Now I agree that outside of the above context, it is not a value, but the above is a very common and important context, and I think your statement of "In modern society, virginity not a value at all -- except to jealous fiends and religious dogmatists." is highly incorrect.

I think that Freddy and Kishnevi are correct here.

I also agree with Susan that you are incorrect to claim that virginity implies incompetence at sex. It implies *inexperience*, which is not the same thing as incompetence - and which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on context.

The proper view and treatment of sex is as the highest and most intimate spiritual bond possible between two people - not as merely a physical process. To imply that "experience" in sex is a value, such that one should seek to gain it *as such*, is to reduce sex to that physical wriggling of meat. Your statements in your post on "experience" as a value that you do not qualify are, by omission, treating sex in that way. (I don't know if this was your intention or not, but when you say things like that without qualifying them, that's what you're effectively saying.)

No rational man ought to seek to gain "experience" in sex as an end in itself - i.e. to seek someone to "practice" with to "gain experience" as opposed to seeking someone that they actually love and value. As a corollary to this, then, no rational man ought to value this behavior in their partner, or value their partner having gained "experience" in this way.

So the *wrong kind* of "experience" is much more of a negative value than no "experience" at all.

This is a case of religion mis-integrating a real, actual value (which is for the most part what religion does). While it is important to condemn the misintegrations of religion, it is equally important to not answer them with disintegration of the real, actual values involved. To answer the religionists' "second virginity" by saying that virginity is not a value at all is the equivalent of answering religion's commandments by saying that morality is not a value at all and anything goes.

-Inspector



Comment #10

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 18:05:50 mst
Name: Tony Donadio

I strongly disagree with what I think is the frankly bizarre idea that virginity constitutes some kind of value. Having self-respect and choosing a partner who is worthy of and right for you is a value -- but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being a virgin. And with all due respect, I think that anyone who thinks that it does is defining the issue by a non-essential. It's like valuing unemployment because you haven't found the right job or career yet. It's the job or career that's the actual value, not the unemployment that you go through before you find it.



Comment #11

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 19:54:17 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Tony,

That's a bad metaphor, since the goal of employment is to be employed - employed as such as opposed to unemployed. Sure, you might still be seeking a better career but you still want to be employed in some way in the meantime.

It obviously doesn't work that way with sex - not for a man who values sex and has any sort of *standards* about who he sleeps with, anyhow.

"Having self-respect and choosing a partner who is worthy of and right for you is a value -- but that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with being a virgin. And with all due respect, I think that anyone who thinks that it does is defining the issue by a non-essential"

Where did I or anyone use the term "necessarily?" I carefully qualified my statements to say that it represented a value if and only if it was a result of being self-respectful and waiting for a worthy partner.

I think if someone wants to talk about the value of virginity as some kind of frozen value-in-itself rather than as a direct reference to the fact that they have standards and don't wish to share themselves with the unworthy then yes that would be defining the issue by non-essentials. You're absolutely correct there.

Just as I believe seeing it as an "obstacle" is making the exact same error, only the reverse side of the coin.

-Inspector



Comment #12

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 21:04:04 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

I had the same thrill as Freddy ben Zeev when I got to "We had to learn this from each other". As for Inspector, I must say that while being discerning is a kind of virtue, failing to seek out and actively search for potential partners worthy of a romantic relationship indicates a very un-virtuous passivity. And staying virgin, even in the context of mutual romantic attraction with someone worthy of one, indicates something much worse.

Unfortunately, America is no longer a country where it would even be legal for young people, no matter how objectively virtuous, to celebrate each other's virtue with a romantic sexual relationship. If Dagny and Francisco had sex with each other at the ages when they "learned it from each other" in _Atlas_ - 16 and 20 respectively - Francisco would be a felon under our current laws in nearly all states, laws that are very vigorously enforced by prosecutors with a Christianist (i.a. virginity-worshiping) agenda. He would face years in prison, followed by life-long registration as a sex criminal. And, since he was a house-guest of the Taggarts, Dagny's parents would face criminal prosecution too, for "endangering the welfare of a minor." And most young people today, and their parents, would not have the financial resources to fight such charges in court.

"Second virginity?" Most Americans are Christians, and really believe far more ridiculous things, than that virginity is somehow an indicator of virtue. And those Christians are using their political power to reduce the lives of young people to a pale shadow of what I and other young people enjoyed back when Ayn Rand was writing _Atlas Shrugged_.



Comment #13

Tuesday, March 4, 2008 at 21:55:27 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

"As for Inspector, I must say that while being discerning is a kind of virtue, failing to seek out and actively search for potential partners worthy of a romantic relationship indicates a very un-virtuous passivity. And staying virgin, even in the context of mutual romantic attraction with someone worthy of one, indicates something much worse."

Why did you think you must say that to me? I made it quite explicit that I don't hold any kind of position that would disagree with that.



Comment #14

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 6:29:35 mst
Name: PMB

Inspector..."virginity" and "value" have specific meanings. Anyone who acts to gain and keep virginity is a monster. As Tony pointed out, one values sex with a partner one highly values, and pursuing that value can involve waiting, but one does not value the waiting.

Put it in different terms. When one has sex for the first time with a partner one highly values, one does not "give up the value of virginity."



Comment #15

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 8:03:52 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Inspector,

I read your postings to mean what they say. "Waiting," which you recommend to teenagers, implies passivity - the opposite of actively seeking out a worthy partner. "Value," which you use in reference to virginity (and as a "major value" at that) means something that one tries to gain or keep - and since virginity is not something one can gain, your use of "value" plainly means that you think virginity is something young people ought to try to keep.

If you did not mean what you wrote, an explicit correction would be appropriate. (Are you just learning English for the first time? If so, no big deal. But then, this may help you understand why lack of experience is _not_ a rational value in any normal context.)



Comment #16

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 11:26:18 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://s7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

PMB,

"Anyone who acts to gain and keep virginity is a monster."

Quoting myself, I used the explications: "*in the proper context*" and "outside of the above context, it is not a value." Did you read that part of my post? Apart from simply missing that part of what I wrote, I don't understand how you could be reaching the conclusion you are.

Adam Reed,

" "Waiting," which you recommend to teenagers, implies passivity - the opposite of actively seeking out a worthy partner. "

Perhaps if you took that statement completely out of the context of everything else that I said, you might be able to conclude that, but I don't understand how you could get there when reading what *else* I said. Specifically, where I identified what value that I was recommending acting upon: having highly discriminating standards for sex.

Furthermore, I didn't use that word - "waiting" - until *after* your first post. So even if you misunderstood me on that basis, that doesn't explain why - as of your first post - you thought that I would need an explanation of that kind.

I said, explicitly, that virginity represents a value *inasmuch as* it is a reflection of having highly discriminating standards. I also explicitly stated that outside of that specific meaning it does not represent a value. Did you perhaps miss that part of what I wrote?

As for the idea of virginity *in itself*, apart from being a result of having high standards, I said explicitly that such would be defining the issue by non-essentials.

But I do not believe that anyone outside of the fundamentalists and the hedonists do this. I even said, earlier, that I do not even believe that the majority of religious people define the issue that way. Perhaps I simply have a bad sample, and the majority of people are much crazier in this regard than the ones that I've heard from on the subject.

I think that to the limited extent that "our culture worships virginity," it does so as a healthy holdover from before the hedonists and hippies wrought their havoc upon it. (again, with the fundamentalist attitude as represented by "second virginity" being still very much the minority - if a scary one) However, when analyzing our culture's attitude on sex, you don't want to omit what *men* are told on the subject of virginity: that it is some kind of albatross around their necks, to be thrown off as quickly as possible - and at any price - lest they be the subject of ridicule.

Notice that this also represents defining the issue by non-essentials, only doing so from the other side of the intrinsic/subjective coin.

Finally, I am puzzled by your statement: "But then, this may help you understand why lack of experience is _not_ a rational value in any normal context." (English is my first language, by the way. Is it yours, also?)

The context we are discussing here is that of what a rational man would value in his sexual choices, and as a corollary what he would value and expect in his partner. "Experience," as an unqualified value, means that he would value his partner having slept around indiscriminately, simply to have become familiar with the mechanics of sex.

What I am saying is that the value of romantic exclusivity and discrimination is *so much higher* than mere knowledge of the physical mechanics of sex that to seek to gain the latter at the cost of the former (or to seek to gain the latter at all, when taken *as such*) would represent an enormous and monstrous sacrifice. And no rational man would value his partner having made an exchange of that kind.



Comment #17

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 13:54:57 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Inspector, you appear to make two different claims in your comments. On the one hand, that virginity (in the appropriate context) *is* a value: "I think that this can, *in the proper context* imply that virginity *is* a major value..." But then that virginity (in the appropriate context) *represents* a value: "I said, explicitly, that virginity represents a value *inasmuch as* it is a reflection of having highly discriminating standards." These are two different things, which I'll restate here to make it clear what I take the gist of each to be. First, the claim that virginity is a value means that virginity as such is something one should strive to keep in the appropriate context. Second, the claim that virginity represents, or perhaps symbolizes, a value distinct from it, that of sexual discrimination, means that it is a consequence of virtue and thus in the appropriate circumstances worthy of respect. (It thus is akin to, say, the poverty of an upright scholar in ancient China who refused to take service with an immoral ruler, which was on occasion symbolized in Chinese poetry by the trope of a forlorn lover or solitary unloved man.) If it's the latter that you mean, note that it doesn't mean that virginity itself is a virtue--it's essentially a state of ignorance, an absence of value that is chosen in that case because it is preferable to the alternatives you face--and your statement that it *is* a value is very poorly worded.



Comment #18

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 14:19:03 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Adrian,

I'll have to think that over for a bit. I think you may be right, but I'm not sure yet.



Comment #19

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 16:51:35 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Inspector, you write: 'I think that to the limited extent that "our culture worships virginity," it does so as a healthy holdover from before the hedonists and hippies wrought their havoc upon it.'

What culture do you mean by "our culture?" In the culture that I share with Ayn Rand, the culture of secular (Hiloni) Jews, virginity has not been regarded as a positive value for many centuries, much to the scandal of the Orthodox. Writing about the Hiloni custom of hosting a chosen boy in the family (ring any bells?) the Orthodox Jonah Landsofer wrote, back in the eighteenth century CE, "they allow them to live together and give the girl over to fornication in the house of her father..." (You may take a look at David Biale's "Eros and the Jews" for more about this custom.)

Inspector, you seem to be making a big assumption here - that holdovers from Christian anti-sexuality are somehow healthy, and that placing a positive value on finding a worthy romantic partner in one's teens is something peculiar to "hedonists and hippies." Finding sexual, romantic love in one's teens is an objectively positive value that is well known - not only from theory and fiction, but from quantitative evidence, including twin studies with samples in the hundreds - to lead to a healthier and happier life.



Comment #20

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 18:02:30 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Adam,

I mean the general American culture. I am aware of the fact that this is a generalization and that many sub-cultures exist, not all of whom subscribe to the mainstream. And also, as I said, there are *several* competing and conflicting views out there in American culture.

I don't fully get what you're driving at, but hedonists and hippies are not looking for, nor do they carry the standard of, a "worthy romantic partner." They want sex - sex as such, and sex as an end in itself, with the only standards, if any, being physical appearance and mechanical aptitude. They have no thoughts of romance in any sense of the word, and not a single inkling that an "inexperienced" woman who won't settle for just any man (and therefore hasn't done so) might be more desirable than a loose woman, no matter how much "experience" she has "gained" in her escapades. They have no comprehension of the idea of a man who would rather his woman's "experience" came just from *him,* and who has no desire for his love to have gained it from *other men.*

To them, such a man is some kind of repressed religious dogmatist (because, like, anyone with any principles must by definition be an un-groovy religious dogmatist, man), or an eevil, paleolithic-chauvinist possessive fiend who doesn't see the modern feminist "liberated" woman with her "free love" and her "experience" as a turn-on.*

You seem to be making the assumption that *any* respect for the state of virginity represents "Christian anti-sexuality" or perhaps that all pre-hippie American culture was Repressed Christian in nature, whereas my stated premises are that both of those things are untrue. *Romance* is the operative value in play here, and while it is indeed Old School, it's an Enlightenment value that is most assuredly *post*-Christian.

As for your statistical citing of the possibility of romantic love in one's teenage years: I don't know what point you could possibly be making, given what I wrote. It's almost as if you're addressing me by name but speaking to someone else entirely. It certainly doesn't bear any relation to anything I've said, as far as I can tell.

(Finally: "ring any bells?" ....uh, Heinlein? He had weird endorsements of casual sex and families in some of his works.)

-Inspector

*(Which is why I'm concerned with Diana's statement that "In modern society, virginity not a value at all -- except to jealous fiends and religious dogmatists." Really? So any man that doesn't eagerly desire for his woman to have slept with *other men* so that she could learn sexual techniques from them must be religious or irrationally jealous?)



Comment #21

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 19:25:11 mst
Name: PMB

I think the relevant points have already been made, but this deserves a response:

"Which is why I'm concerned with Diana's statement that 'In modern society, virginity not a value at all -- except to jealous fiends and religious dogmatists.' Really? So any man that doesn't eagerly desire for his woman to have slept with *other men* so that she could learn sexual techniques from them must be religious or irrationally jealous?"

That's not fair to Diana. What she is objecting to is the disgusting desire that a woman *be* a virgin. For a rational man, her virginity or non-virginity is *irrelvant.* The question is: what kind of person is she? And that evaluation includes, what kind of sexual standards does she have? But whether one is a virgin or not says *nothing* about one's sexual standards. A virgin can have the worst sort of sexual standards, and a person who has slept with several people can have the highest standards.



Comment #22

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 19:49:43 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Inspector - I think that our misunderstanding stems from your (more basic) misunderstanding of Diana's statement that "In modern society, virginity not a value at all -- except to jealous fiends and religious dogmatists."

First, the point Diana is making that there is nothing wrong, and much that is (contextually) good, about a young person's desire for sexual fulfillment - for "experiencing the reality of her values in the form of pleasure." This is the rational teenager's motive for seeking out (and, if competent, finding) a partner worthy of a romantic relationship. Now if the teenager in question is isolated in some backwoods cabin without contacts, unable to travel and so on, then virginity becomes understandable. But under more normal circumstances, it raises questions about character. Does she not desire sex enough to have sought a romantic partner? Is she one of those people who do not carry out their rational desires into action? Or did she seek a worthy romantic partner, but was not competent enough to find one? A woman who is truly eager to experience the reality of her values in the form of pleasure, who is active, healthy, rational, and competent, is not very likely to remain a virgin long beyond becoming capable of having a healthy romantic and sexual relationship and seeking one.

In the context of relationships among rational people, then, virginity beyond the teenage years is rightly suspect - and cannot possibly be a value.



Comment #23

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 20:01:59 mst
Name: Boaz

"the simple fact is that a woman with years of sexual experience cannot honestly claim to be a virgin."

HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Diana, that's probably the funniest thing I've read in weeks. Just priceless.





Comment #24

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 21:13:39 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

PMB,

"That's not fair to Diana. What she is objecting to is the disgusting desire that a woman *be* a virgin. For a rational man, her virginity or non-virginity is *irrelvant.* The question is: what kind of person is she? And that evaluation includes, what kind of sexual standards does she have? But whether one is a virgin or not says *nothing* about one's sexual standards. A virgin can have the worst sort of sexual standards, and a person who has slept with several people can have the highest standards."

That's how I honestly read her statement - I'm not trying to be unfair.

But this is why I see what she said that way: From a romantic standpoint, a rational man would not desire for his woman to have slept with other men on the idea that she would have learned sexual techniques. He would not desire, in other words, that she be a non-virgin on that basis.

But that is the very basis that Diana outlined when she said, "Virginity is not even a real quality of a person: it's just an ignorance of and inexperience with sex. Ignorance of sex means incompetence at sex. So for a rational, value-seeking lover, virginity can only be an obstacle to be overcome in the pursuit of the pleasures of sex, not a positive value. For a person to seek virginity requires a mangled set of sexual values."

She is suggesting, not merely that virginity as such is not a desirable trait in a partner, but that *lack of virginity as such* is in fact a desirable trait in a partner.

That is why I say that her attack goes too far.

Adam,

If one has, as you put it, "a worthy romantic partner in one's teens," then they are most likely still together, unless something unfortunate or unusual happened. Or the partner wasn't in fact worthy after all. Else why did one party dump the other?



Comment #25

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 3:37:56 mst
Name: PMB

"She is suggesting, not merely that virginity as such is not a desirable trait in a partner, but that *lack of virginity as such* is in fact a desirable trait in a partner."

Not "as such." Rather, "all other things being equal." And all other things, it's true--at least in my experience and opinion.



Comment #26

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 3:39:07 mst
Name: PMB

Ugh, should read:

Not "as such." Rather, "all other things being equal." And all other things BEING EQUAL, DIANA IS RIGHT--at least in my experience and opinion.



Comment #27

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 4:54:48 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Inspector:
"From a romantic standpoint, a rational man would not desire for his woman to have slept with other men on the idea that she would have learned sexual techniques. He would not desire, in other words, that she be a non-virgin on that basis."

That's not what Diana is claiming:

"Virginity is not even a real quality of a person: it's just an ignorance of and inexperience with sex."

Quite so, regardless of the reason one is a virgin.

"Ignorance of sex means incompetence at sex."

In fact, this is usually quite true, especially in the realm of emotions. Of course, this ignorance and incompetence is overcome quickly enough when you're with a worthy lover, but it still is not a positive quality--innocence might be charming, but you don't want your lover to remain in that state.

"So for a rational, value-seeking lover, virginity can only be an obstacle to be overcome in the pursuit of the pleasures of sex, not a positive value."

Exactly what I was putting in my own words just above it. (Of course, for a rational man or woman, it's no onerous burden actually overcoming that obstacle, but it still takes experience for a person to learn what exactly gives pleasure to them and how to communicate that to a lover, recognize what a lover's responses say about their sensations, and learn to reciprocate. This, not the mechanics of the various acts, can only be learned through experience.) Note too the context Diana explicitly stated: "for a rational, value-seeking lover." I'd say it's a given on an Objectivist forum that that automatically implies a discriminating sex life, and it's the context you should keep in mind when you read comments here that disagree with you--we're not a bunch of hippies.

"For a person to seek virginity requires a mangled set of sexual values."

Virginity should be (largely or entirely) *irrelevant* to what a rational man or woman seeks in a lover--it's the reasons for virginity that would matter. But there are quite a few men, even at least one Objectivist, whom I have heard say or read write that they *want* a virgin because that way the woman will learn about sex from them. This view I find incomprehensible on a gut emotional level--I'm interested in a woman who's lived her life as fully as I have mine, and that will entail 99.99999% of worthy women having been in love and being passionate lovers before ever meeting me. But for some men innocence hath great charms.

In any case, you have to remember that this is in the context of women having expensive operations to restore their hymens. In this context virginity *as such* is being treated as a value.

"If one has, as you put it, "a worthy romantic partner in one's teens," then they are most likely still together, unless something unfortunate or unusual happened. Or the partner wasn't in fact worthy after all. Else why did one party dump the other?"

You're leaving out a very common occurrence: People change as they get older and a relationship that was fulfilling and valuable at an earlier stage in their lives became less so.



Comment #28

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 6:11:19 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Inspector,

'If one has, as you put it, "a worthy romantic partner in one's teens," then they are most likely still together, unless something unfortunate or unusual happened. Or the partner wasn't in fact worthy after all. Else why did one party dump the other?'

"Dump" is a presumption. As Adrian wrote, sometimes "people change as they get older and a relationship that was fulfilling and valuable at an earlier stage in their lives became less so." And that is only one of many possibilities. Here are some others, all drawn from real-life:

* People have free will. A previously admirable person may have become religious, or socialist, or irresponsible and so on. Or might have been an exceptionally bright fake all along - a certain self-esteem guru comes to mind.

* Bad things sometimes happen to good people. A good person can be imprisoned even though objectively innocent of any actual crime, killed by accident or bigotry or disease or by a hazard rationally accepted in defense of one's values, deported because he was not on our government's list of government-approved persons that Americans are permitted to love, and so on.

* To a rational person, a romantic relationship is usually a major value but not the only value in life. Sometimes, other things - such as an exceptional opportunity for fulfillment in one's creative work - can absorb a person in ways that make keeping a romantic relationships difficult or impossible. And sometimes that other major value can be a second romantic relationship - and then one needs to make a choice that a rational person will make without regard for the opinions or bigotries of others.

In short, life is an exciting, never wholly predictable challenge, and interesting people seldom live predictable lives.



Comment #29

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 6:46:39 mst
Name: Tony Donadio

Inspector wrote: "If one has, as you put it, "a worthy romantic partner in one's teens," then they are most likely still together, unless something unfortunate or unusual happened. Or the partner wasn't in fact worthy after all. Else why did one party dump the other?" Adrian Hester and Adam Reed then responded with several examples of why such a couple might not stay together.

But there's an erroneous premise implicit in the question, and which hasn't been challenged by the other responses to it that I've seen: that sex is only legitimate in the context of a relationship that involves a permanent commitment. But that's not the case, and that premise instead seems to me rather like a secularization of the religious injunction against sex before marriage.

Not every couple knows immediately that they will be right together as a long-term couple, and there are worthy partners with whom things don't work out in the long run. Should such partners eschew sex before then? On what grounds? Exactly what standards of "worthiness" are being assumed in this discussion?

To illustrate the point, take Dagny Taggart. Ayn Rand makes it clear in Atlas Shrugged that Francisco and Rearden are not Dagny's final choice (and that Rearden, at least, knows it). Dagny's final choice was symbolized by the image of the man holding the rails in his hand in the horizon, and she finally found that man in John Galt. I hope that no one is going to suggest that her standards were not sufficiently discriminating until then.



Comment #30

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 7:03:34 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

"What I am saying is that the value of romantic exclusivity and discrimination is *so much higher* than mere knowledge of the physical mechanics of sex that to seek to gain the latter at the cost of the former (or to seek to gain the latter at all, when taken *as such*) would represent an enormous and monstrous sacrifice. And no rational man would value his partner having made an exchange of that kind."

This is exactly what I mean about starting from the assumption that there's a significant hippie contingent here. First, as I've written previously, it's the emotional experience in sex that must be learned and that makes most for the proverbial clumsiness of virgins getting in the way of fully experiencing sexual pleasure; others will have to speak for themselves, but I suspect Diana, Adam Reed, Tony Donadio, and PMB would agree with me. (It's one of the points Amy Nasir made too.)

Second, the suggestion on an Objectivist forum that we are urging people "to seek to gain the latter [mere knowledge of the physical mechanics of sex] at the cost of the former [romantic exclusivity and discrimination] (or to seek to gain the latter at all, when taken *as such*)" boggles the mind--and might even be offensive to someone with thinner skin than mine.

Third, you then say that such a choice "would represent an enormous and monstrous sacrifice," which in the context of this discussion is utterly beside the point--and because it's beside the point (I don't think anyone is suggesting that young men frequent prostitutes until they've completed a hand-on course in sexology, or that young women have relations with every gentleman caller) it adds a hysterical note of denunciation that's quite out of place.

Fourth, by positing the choice in such stark terms, you're implicitly equating being a rake or a slut with having failed sexual relationships with people you have romantic feelings for or even that you know from the beginning of the relationship cannot be permanent--I might add that your loaded question to Adam about getting dumped as a teenager implies strongly the view that most impermanent sexual relationships really weren't worthy and thus are cause for a rational man to regret as a "monstrous sacrifice." But those latter relationships are *not* in any way "an enormous and monstrous sacrifice," and saying so would be false and downright bizarre. Such relationships are *not* cause for regret (one might wish circumstances had been different, but that's a different matter entirely), they are *not* monstrous sacrifices, and they are *not* the cause of some dark stain on the soul or a spiritual equivalent of syphillis. (And this is to leave aside entirely the positive content of your assertion, which strikes me as overstated, even hysterically so.)



Comment #31

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 7:11:55 mst
Name: PMB

"'If one has, as you put it, "a worthy romantic partner in one's teens," then they are most likely still together, unless something unfortunate or unusual happened. Or the partner wasn't in fact worthy after all. Else why did one party dump the other?'"

To add what I regard as the most important factor to Adam's list:

People aren't born knowing their romantic/sexual values. They have to discover these, and that often requires a certain amount of trial and error.

There is a huge difference between a teen deciding someone is a worthy romantic partner--and knowing that this is a partner he wants to be with for life.

What typically happens is you find someone you're attracted to and value when you're young, you date, you find out that you two are not a good fit for each other, you clarify what you're looking for in a romantic partner, and you do better the next time.



Comment #32

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 7:38:26 mst
Name: Paul Hsieh
URL: http://www.geekpress.com

I was always fond of the following Woody Allen quote:

"Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best."



Comment #33

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 13:17:59 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Paul,

I'm rather more fond of this quote,

"...just as physical action unguided by an idea is a fool's self-fraud, so is sex when cut off from one's code of values. It's the same issue, and you would know it. Your inviolate sense of self-esteem would know it. You would be incapable of desire for a woman you despised. Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire, is capable of the depravity of a desire devoid of love. But observe that most people are creatures cut in half who keep swinging desperately to one side or to the other."

A lot here, so I'm going to respond only to a few bits:

"But for some men innocence hath great charms."

So does this represent "a mangled set of values?"

"Not "as such." Rather, "all other things being equal." And all other things, it's true--at least in my experience and opinion."

I'm confused: first you say that the only thing being discussed by Diana's post is the idea of virginity *as such* - then you switch to saying that we should treat the statement as "all other things being equal."

Which is it?

"In any case, you have to remember that this is in the context of women having expensive operations to restore their hymens."

No, it's not. She's clearly widened the topic past the statement, "However, that's not the worst of it."

Next,

"A previously admirable person may have become religious, or socialist, or irresponsible and so on..."

Yes, thus: DUMP.

"Bad things sometimes happen"

Yes, thus, "or unusual"

"To a rational person, a romantic relationship is usually a major value but not the only value in life."

Wow, that's some romance then. If the romantic fire is really so dim, then I would suspect deeper problems.

But I really think this is getting off topic. Virginity can mean all sorts of things, depending on the context - it is *not* an unqualified Bad Thing, as Diana claims.

"Exactly what standards of "worthiness" are being assumed in this discussion?"

That the relationship isn't based on the long (or short) term evasion of something you can't stand about them. Note that this is not precisely the standard of lifelong romance, but there is quite a bit of overlap.

"Second, the suggestion on an Objectivist forum that we are urging people"

I don't see how else I'm supposed to see her post. I'm glad you find the idea mind-boggling, however.

"or even that you know from the beginning of the relationship cannot be permanent"

What do you mean by this? Because you know you ultimately can't stand the person or what?

Next, the idea of a "monstrous sacrifice" would be in exactly the context I outlined - where someone does it on purpose, seeking "experience" on the idea that somehow sleeping around will make them *more* desirable as a partner.

Finally, "one might wish circumstances had been different" is precisely what I was getting at.



Comment #34

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 13:50:44 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Me:
"But for some men innocence hath great charms."

Inspector:
"So does this represent 'a mangled set of values?'"

If virginity is what a man desires *most* in his partner, then it most certainly is.

"Wow, that's some romance then. If the romantic fire is really so dim, then I would suspect deeper problems."

So you really do believe then that you shouldn't have sex with anyone unless she's The One? That's not the position you've taken on OO.net, so I suspect your flippant reply is in bad faith and unworthy of you.

Me:
"or even that you know from the beginning of the relationship cannot be permanent"

Inspector:
"What do you mean by this? Because you know you ultimately can't stand the person or what?"

No, because you know that the relationship will end eventually because the two of you are at different stages in life, have different career paths that will separate you, and so on. It's certainly not a violation of sexual discrimination to have a relationship in those circumstances. In any case, I made exactly this point in a discussion at OO.net and you agreed that such a relationship was not immoral in your view, so I see no need to belabor it further.

"Next, the idea of a "monstrous sacrifice" would be in exactly the context I outlined - where someone does it on purpose, seeking "experience" on the idea that somehow sleeping around will make them *more* desirable as a partner."

And you're taking a lot of heat because it's insulting to suggest that *that* is the context your interlocutors are assuming in arguing against you.

"Finally, "one might wish circumstances had been different" is precisely what I was getting at."

Either it is *not* what you're getting at and you've misread me or you have a bizarre view of romance. I'm speaking of circumstances that prevent a permanent romantic relationship with a worthy partner from occurring, as I mentioned above. Such a relationship is not something a rational man regrets--wished not to have happened--but wishes might have happened under more auspicious circumstances.



Comment #35

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 13:59:12 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

PMB:
""Not "as such." Rather, "all other things being equal." And all other things, it's true--at least in my experience and opinion."

Inspector:
"I'm confused: first you say that the only thing being discussed by Diana's post is the idea of virginity *as such* - then you switch to saying that we should treat the statement as "all other things being equal."

Which is it?"

Here is what PMB wrote in full:
"[Quoting Inspector]: "She is suggesting, not merely that virginity as such is not a desirable trait in a partner, but that *lack of virginity as such* is in fact a desirable trait in a partner."

"Not "as such." Rather, "all other things being equal." And all other things, it's true--at least in my experience and opinion."

In other words, the "as such" you quoted was about "lack of virginity as such," so it's a different "as such" than the "virginity as such" that PMB is saying was her point.

Inspector:
"A lot here, so I'm going to respond only to a few bits:"

If you do respond further in the future, I'd urge you to read what you're responding to more thoroughly.



Comment #36

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 15:35:35 mst
Name: Tony Donadio

Adam: "To a rational person, a romantic relationship is usually a major value but not the only value in life."

Inspector: "Wow, that's some romance then. If the romantic fire is really so dim, then I would suspect deeper problems."

Excuse me? How does that follow? Please explain how the presence of other major values in one's life is supposed to indicate a tepid romance with deeper problems. I don't see the connection.

Me: "Exactly what standards of "worthiness" are being assumed in this discussion?"

Inspector: "That the relationship isn't based on the long (or short) term evasion of something you can't stand about them. Note that this is not precisely the standard of lifelong romance, but there is quite a bit of overlap."

Nonsense. There's a world of difference between "I'm evading something about you that I can't stand" and "You're my soulmate." And frankly, the suggestion that these have "quite a bit of overlap" offensively trivializes and cheapens the latter. If you don't understand the difference, then try actually *saying that* to a life partner and see what happens.



Comment #37

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 15:36:43 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Inspector said: "Virginity can mean all sorts of things, depending on the context - it is *not* an unqualified Bad Thing, as Diana claims."

I have not said that. If I had, that would be morally atrocious, for it implies children ought to have sex as soon as physically possible. I would never in a million years endorse such a view.

Here is my view: Sex is a value, an important value. To achieve that value, a person must be discriminating in his/her choice of sexual partners. So sexual discrimination is a virtue. (That does not imply that a person ought not have sex with anyone other than a soul-mate, however.)

A virgin is simply someone who has yet to have sex. That's not a value in and of itself. In fact, to be a virgin simply means that a person has not yet experienced the major value that is sex. A person might be a virgin because he/she is properly discriminating in sexual partners; that's good. Or that person might be a virgin due to religious dogma or irrational fears; that's bad. Virginity does not imply or require the virtue of sexual discrimination.

Moreover, a person does not automatically know how to be a good lover -- in the full spiritual and physical sense. That must be learned by experience. So a lover's prior sexual experiences would often be good for their own sake (i.e. for what they offered that lover at the time), as well as good for what they taught the lover about good sex, again in the full spiritual and physical sense. Sexual competence should be welcomed by a lover, not regretted.

Virginity is a state of ignorance and inexperience in sex that must be overcome (at some point) in order to achieve the genuine value at stake: sex. Virginity is not a value to be sought or prized -- in oneself or in others. Chastity is not a virtue. Instead, sex is the value, and discrimination, sensitivity, generosity, enthusiasm, adventurousness, and the like are the relevant virtues.

None of that implies that virginity is a disvalue that a person ought to jettison as soon as possible. Nor does it imply that a person ought to have sex with any willing person in order to gain experience. That's too absurd for comment.

The above is all that I plan to say about this topic. I've got far more pressing demands on my time than these kinds of debates. However, if I am misrepresented again as advocating indiscriminate sex, I will shut down this comment thread.



Comment #38

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 15:51:02 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Tonay Donadio:
'There's a world of difference between "I'm evading something about you that I can't stand" and "You're my soulmate."'

Just to clarify, you mean "I'm *not* evading something about you that I can't stand," right?



Comment #39

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 16:08:32 mst
Name: Tony Donadio

Adrian: Yes, you're right, that's what I meant. Thanks for the correction.



Comment #40

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 18:19:27 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://s7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Adrian,

"If virginity is what a man desires *most* in his partner, then it most certainly is."

Indeed, I agree with that. But that's not what Diana said - she didn't say, "For a person to seek virginity *as the most important trait* requires a mangled set of sexual values." She said, "For a person to seek virginity requires a mangled set of sexual values." That means, for a person to seek it *to any extent* i.e. to value it *to any extent* "requires a mangled set of values."

She clarifies the point somewhat, but adds, "Sexual competence should be welcomed by a lover, not regretted." Diana: Perhaps if viewed in a vacuum, yes. But this isn't a vacuum - this value you are talking about always comes with the price of sleeping with other men - something I don't understand how you expect men to "welcome." Because, since they are inseparable in the context you are talking about, welcoming the one means welcoming the other.

Continuing to Adrian,

"So you really do believe then that you shouldn't have sex with anyone unless she's The One?"

As I said, the standard I use is: "That the relationship isn't based on the long (or short) term evasion of something you can't stand about them. Note that this is not precisely the standard of lifelong romance, but there is quite a bit of overlap."

But that's not what prompted your question - I said that a romance that is so low on someone's priority list that they can't make the rest of their life work around it isn't much of a romance - and I would suspect deeper problems if a person didn't. Yes, as you say I accept that it is at least theoretically possible. But that does not mean that I think that two people simultaneously getting unique, once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities that pull them apart permanently and irreconcilably is a common incident. I believe I similarly raised an eyebrow at that idea on OO.net as well, so I don't know what you're on me about.

"Such a relationship is not something a rational man regrets--wished not to have happened--but wishes might have happened under more auspicious circumstances."

That scenario isn't what I'm talking about at all - as I said, I don't think it's very plausible, even if I suppose technically possible. Most people who break up, break up because they discover that they don't like each other (or one party the other).

"In other words, the "as such" you quoted was about "lack of virginity as such," so it's a different "as such" than the "virginity as such" that PMB is saying was her point."

Sorry; *what?*

Tony,

"Excuse me? How does that follow? Please explain how the presence of other major values in one's life is supposed to indicate a tepid romance with deeper problems. I don't see the connection."

Sorry, man - I just don't have the time. For the short version, see what I told Adrian.



Comment #41

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 18:48:43 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Inspector wrote: "[Diana] clarifies the point somewhat, but adds, "Sexual competence should be welcomed by a lover, not regretted." Diana: Perhaps if viewed in a vacuum, yes. But this isn't a vacuum - this value you are talking about always comes with the price of sleeping with other men - something I don't understand how you expect men to "welcome." Because, since they are inseparable in the context you are talking about, welcoming the one means welcoming the other."

Oh. My. God. Horror of all horrors: a sexually experienced woman has slept with men other than her current lover! She surely enjoyed it too! It's not like sloppy seconds, for goodness sake.

The existence of a woman's prior lovers is not something that should bother a psychologically healthy, sexually secure man. To be upset that a woman has expressed her sexuality with other men in meaningful and serious relationships -- meaning that she didn't keep herself "pristine" just for you -- is pathological. It's a self-destructive form of jealousy. Hence, it's a good reason for therapy.



Comment #42

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 19:50:52 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Diana,

There's a difference between that and actually *welcoming* it, which is what it seems to me you are suggesting men should do.



Comment #43

Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 23:22:44 mst
Name: Ergo
URL: http://ergosum.wordpress.com

To value virginity to *any* extent is indeed a reflection of a mangled set of values! I don't see how it can be any other way.

It is not virginity but the qualities of discernment that is worthy of seeking and gaining. Virginity is useless and in itself has no import. Discernment may be a constitutive reason for why a person is still a virgin, but it is merely an incidental aspect of it.

A sexually discerning person may or may not be a virgin, and I would not think *more* highly of a sexually discerning non-virgin than a sexuall discerning virgin (all other value-factors and judgments being equal).



Comment #44

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 1:27:07 mst
Name: Tony Donadio

Inspector wrote: "...this value you are talking about always comes with the price of sleeping with other men - something I don't understand how you expect men to "welcome." Because, since they are inseparable in the context you are talking about, welcoming the one means welcoming the other."

Let me see if I understand you correctly, because with all due respect I find that viewpoint to be astonishing. Are you actually suggesting that a rational man should have a problem with ("not welcome") the fact that his partner had lovers before they were together as a couple? On what basis? On the contrary, I would consider that to be the normal case, for a woman with values to offer, and the healthy sense of self-esteem that would make her expect such values in return. Objecting to that is not philosophically or psychologically healthy. And Dagny challenges precisely this notion in one of her exchanges with Rearden in Atlas Shrugged -- where she points out that his fixation on knowing who her prior lover was means that he has never accepted that it was right for her to have been with him. How exactly would you defend this attitude from an Objectivist perspective?

And while we're at it: why the repeated focus on what a *man* should allegedly object to in a *woman* partner? Shouldn't the same standard apply to him as well? Accordingto the view that you're defending, shouldn't a woman want a partner who is a virgin as well? I know the story that Diana is commenting on spoke of women, but shouldn't we be discussing the matter in principle?

For the record, I completely agree with Diana's response: "To be upset that a woman has expressed her sexuality with other men in meaningful and serious relationships... [is] a self-destructive form of jealousy."



Comment #45

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 6:35:24 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Me:
"If virginity is what a man desires *most* in his partner, then it most certainly is."

Inspector:
"Indeed, I agree with that. But that's not what Diana said - she didn't say, "For a person to seek virginity *as the most important trait* requires a mangled set of sexual values." She said, "For a person to seek virginity requires a mangled set of sexual values." That means, for a person to seek it *to any extent* i.e. to value it *to any extent* "requires a mangled set of values.""

First, you obviously have an almost Christian fascination with virginity as such. Virginity is not a value--it is at best *symbolic* of a value, and it need not be that at all. *Seeking* virginity is indeed indicative of an unhealthy fixation on something that even in the context of representing sexual discrimination is less desirable than its absence (experience in pleasing and being pleased by a lover, experiencing romantic joy, and so on). What one *should* seek is sexual discrimination (among other values and virtues), not virginity; but virginity obviously is so closely associated for you with the virtue of sexual discrimination that you take any criticism of virginity as an attack on sexual discrimination as such.

"That scenario isn't what I'm talking about at all - as I said, I don't think it's very plausible, even if I suppose technically possible. Most people who break up, break up because they discover that they don't like each other (or one party the other)."

Do you mean most people at large or most rational, value-seeking people? In the former case, perhaps that would account for the majority of breakups, but in the latter case, no. They might find they weren't as close a match as they thought, or again they might change--which in my experience is *much* more common than you admit; I'd go so far as to say these two are probably the norm among my friends and acquaintances. But neither of those is cause for regret; in my experience both lovers uniformly gained great value from their time together and retain great affection for each other.

"Perhaps if viewed in a vacuum, yes. But this isn't a vacuum - this value you are talking about always comes with the price of sleeping with other men - something I don't understand how you expect men to "welcome." Because, since they are inseparable in the context you are talking about, welcoming the one means welcoming the other."

Price? PRICE? Presumably a rational, value-seeking woman who had previous lovers considered the price well worth paying. And "welcoming the one means welcoming the other" is simply false--welcoming the one means *accepting* the other, just as you must *accept* the consequences of all the other values of your lover once you've chosen her. And to a rational man, this is not something hard to accept. If it *is* hard for a man to accept, that's a good sign he needs a good shrink. He probably has some twisted values needing demangling.

But really, think about it: Price? What did she *pay*? She didn't give up the virtue of sexual discrimination, she only gave up her virginity, which means she passed from ignorance of sexual pleasure and romantic joy to their experience, which is a *great* value. In other words, even if you take virginity as a value of some sort, she abandoned it for a greater value. For you then to complain about the "price" she paid means that you consider virginity a greater value than her own self-fulfillment. Why? Because her first time wasn't with *you*? Because she's now *damaged goods*? Because she's tainted somehow? These are not the responses of a rational, self-respecting man, but rather a twisted jealousy about a woman's entire past that underlies the whole insistence on *chastity* and *purity*--not discrimination, but *chastity*--that Christianity and Islam both preach loudly form the pulpit. Once you strip away all the guff about virginity representing the virtue of sexual discrimination, it's really quite ugly.



Comment #46

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 10:10:54 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Wow, you all are *determined* to see it as something twisted and ugly - as hating someone who doesn't happen to be a virgin.

I was, instead, thinking that a man falls in love with a woman who happens to be a virgin - he thinks it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone. I can't fathom that he would instead be disappointed that she hadn't slept with other men instead. Like that's something he's supposed to actively desire.

And to go so far as to say that anything other than that makes him a psychotically jealous monster, or a religious nutjob (religious? I don't even think most *religious* people think of the issue in terms of religion) just seems bizarre.

Oh, and Adrian: to say I have an "almost Christian fascination" with virginity - in the context of a bloody *discussion* about virginity is unfair. I know you're angry because you think I'm being less than fair in how I'm reading peoples' statements, but that's no cause to retaliate in kind. As I said, I'm not trying to be unfair to anyone here.



Comment #47

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 10:51:35 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Inspector:
"I was, instead, thinking that a man falls in love with a woman who happens to be a virgin - he thinks it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone."

That might be the context *you* had in mind, but it's certainly not what your words convey. Again, it's your words I'm responding to; if they don't express what you mean to say, then you should choose them more carefully in the future.

"I can't fathom that he would instead be disappointed that she hadn't slept with other men instead. Like that's something he's supposed to actively desire."

It would be a largely irrelevant matter. *You* are the one who talks about actually *seeking* virginity *to some extent* (and thus to *any* extent)--thus implicitly arguing that virginity *is* a value one should (to whatever extent) *seek* in a lover.

"And to go so far as to say that anything other than that makes him a psychotically jealous monster, or a religious nutjob (religious? I don't even think most *religious* people think of the issue in terms of religion) just seems bizarre."

And *again* you profoundly misrepresent what everyone else is saying.

"Oh, and Adrian: to say I have an "almost Christian fascination" with virginity - in the context of a bloody *discussion* about virginity is unfair."

In the context of a "bloody *discussion* about virginity" in which you have written statements like "this value you are talking about always comes with the *price* of sleeping with other men." That goes *far* beyond "he thinks it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone." In the context of a discussion in which you have argued that virginity *is* a value a man should seek (to whatever extent) in a lover--which goes far beyond "he thinks it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone."

"As I said, I'm not trying to be unfair to anyone here."

And yet you continue being so.



Comment #48

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 11:29:43 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Incidentally:

Inspector:
"I know you're angry because you think I'm being less than fair in how I'm reading peoples' statements, but that's no cause to retaliate in kind."

No, I'm not angry. I'm irritated by the fact that you fail to recognize the non sequiturs, fallacious equivocations, and misrepresentations and misreadings of people arguing with you in good faith. Nor am I "retaliating in kind." You insist that all you are saying, presumably, is that it can be sweet to think your lover has never been with anyone else. It's also sweet that your lover has, say, strawberry blonde hair or, who knows? has the last name "Lincoln" yet graduated from Jefferson Davis High School. So what? It's shared experience between the two of you and inessential facts from her life; it's not something to *seek out*. But then you constantly argue much further that virginity *is* some sort of value, but when pressed on this you retreat. Sorry--your position is internally contradictory and I've been holding your feet to the fire. If it's too hot for you, then I'm willing not to pursue the issue further, but I will not stand idly by and let you jump from one professed position to a much stronger *insinuated* position.



Comment #49

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 11:30:19 mst
Name: Boaz

Yes, you should desire that she has slept with other men. You should desire that she has had good family, friends, dance partners -- and lovers. I'm not even buying the idea that one should merely "accept" the necessary fact of her previous experience.

Now, think about it from a woman's perspective. How many healthy, rational, desirable women do you suppose are keen to sleep with virgins?

Sexual experience in a partner is a *very* desirable thing. Period. No, there's no 1-1 correlation between experience and ability. But if I meet someone interesting and worthwhile, ideally she's had several good experiences and one or two healthy relationships. That can only reflect well on her -- and can only be good for me.

Conversely, if I meet a woman near my age (25-35) who has no experience, I'll be suspicious. I'll want to know what dire circumstances could possibly have kept her virginity intact. Was she a Mormon in a previous life? Or something worse.

It's a pretty cut and dry issue.



Comment #50

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 11:31:29 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Me:
"I'm irritated by the fact that you fail to recognize the non sequiturs, fallacious equivocations, and misrepresentations and misreadings of people arguing with you in good faith."

Heh! Rather:

"I'm irritated by the fact that you fail to recognize the non sequiturs, fallacious equivocations, and misrepresentations and misreadings of people arguing with you in good faith that you have made throughout this discussion."



Comment #51

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 12:37:11 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

"And *again* you profoundly misrepresent what everyone else is saying."

How? That is my understanding of the matter. If it's a misrepresentation, it's not on purpose.

"*You* are the one who talks about actually *seeking* virginity *to some extent* (and thus to *any* extent)--thus implicitly arguing that virginity *is* a value one should (to whatever extent) *seek* in a lover."

How does *seeking* it to some extent not follow logically from *valuing* it to some extent? If you agree that it doesn't make a man a jealous or religious monster to "think it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone," then how does he become wrong if he *wants* for that to happen?

Finally, my objection to your characterization of me is that 1 - you're calling me "fascinated" when it's the bloody topic of discussion 2 - you're saying it's "Christian" which as far as I can see is completely uncalled for as I haven't said anything even remotely religious. (and of course you should know I would find a comparison to a Christian to be insulting)



Comment #52

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 12:52:19 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

Finally, on how "price" makes me have an "almost Christian fascination," that doesn't follow. First, per your premises Christians are fascinated on completely different grounds. Second, "price" is literally true. To have X, you must also *necessarily* have Y. To desire for X to be so is therefore to desire Y to be so. I don't see how you can expect men to desire Y, so I don't see you can expect them to desire X.

That's what I mean.



Comment #53

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 14:18:31 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Inspector:
"How does *seeking* it to some extent not follow logically from *valuing* it to some extent?"

Uh, yeah, that's precisely my point. You imply a man should seek out virginity, which means you value it to some extent as such, even in the context of a rational, passionately-valuing woman with an impeccably discriminating sexual history; it's not something you merely respect as a consequence of the virtue of sexual discrimination--it's not just something sweet and romantic for you.

"If you agree that it doesn't make a man a jealous or religious monster to "think it's sweet and romantic that she can be exclusive with him alone," then how does he become wrong if he *wants* for that to happen?"

Because it's a focus on non-essentials, essentially a preference for a particular type of romantic relationship that is not an *essential* feature of the sexual life of a rational, passionate valuer. More than that, arguing as you do that it is, and above all casting aspersions on the characters of men who don't go all warm and fuzzy about virginity, is to elevate virginity to a position of much higher value than merely "think[ing] it's sweet and romantic" implies.

"Second, "price" is literally true."

No, it most certainly is not. You wrote, "this value you are talking about always comes with the price of sleeping with other men." Again, price to *whom*--her or you? If a woman is sexually discriminating and a passionate valuer, then sleeping with men before you is not a "price" to her in any meaningful sense; it's a great value! But I don't think you're implying that it's the *woman* who pays the price--it's the man whose lover has slept with other men before him. What kind of price is *he* paying? Not getting an untouched, chaste virgin? Yes, we know you like that, but you most certainly should not assume that your *preferences* for either virginity or (say) strawberry blondes are at all binding on other rational, passionately-valuing men--and you most certainly should not insinuate that men who do not share your preference are a bunch of hippies who don't see the virtue of a discriminating sex life.

"To have X, you must also *necessarily* have Y. To desire for X to be so is therefore to desire Y to be so. I don't see how you can expect men to desire Y, so I don't see you can expect them to desire X."

That. Does. Not. Follow. To test new medicines *necessarily* requires killing animals to make sure they're safe, but the desire for safe medicines does not imply that one must desire killing animals. It is what one must accept. To produce large-scale power for an industrial society *necessarily* requires mining large amounts of coal or uranium ore, which causes a certain number of fatalities every year from mine collapses, black lung disease, and so on, but the desire for cheap reliable electrical power does not imply a desire for miners to die. To go to university and graduate school to train for a fulfilling profession *necessarily* entails forgoing a lot of money that you'd earn otherwise on the job market and a straitened life style, but the desire for a fulfilling profession does not imply a desire for self-imposed poverty.

In short: Desiring X when it requires Y says nothing about whether one should therefore desire Y. Y might be something desirable on its own terms, it might be a price one must accept to pay for X, or it might be largely neutral (as I consider virginity to be).

"That's what I mean."

And that's what I mean by fallacious equivocations riddling your postings.

"Finally, my objection to your characterization of me is that 1 - you're calling me "fascinated" when it's the bloody topic of discussion..."

You're the one who considers a woman sleeping with other men before her current lover *as such* to be a "price" to the man. You not only consider virginity sweet and romantic, but you imply rational men should seek it out and cast aspersions on everyone who doesn't share your valuation of it. You freely admit you are unable to see any virtue to the arguments of the people against you or anything in them that in any way sets them apart from hippie hedonism, presumably because you associate virginity so closely with a discriminating sex life that you cannot back off and view the actual arguments dispassionately. Okay, possibly you're right that I've unfairly described you: You're not *fascinated* by virginity but rather *blinded* by it.

"2 - you're saying it's "Christian" which as far as I can see is completely uncalled for as I haven't said anything even remotely religious. (and of course you should know I would find a comparison to a Christian to be insulting)"

Funny, I consider your claim that we're all indistinguishable from hippies (you yourself said that "I don't see how else I'm supposed to see [Diana's] post" as anything other than urging people to abandon all sexual standards and become hippie hedonists) to be potentially equally insulting--but since I'm right and you're wrong, I just write it off as your crying out at pinched toes. Now, your valuing virginity is redolent of Christian doctrine even if it starts from entirely different premises, but if you find my pointing that out so grotesquely insulting, then I apologize for it.



Comment #54

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 17:42:11 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

"it's not something you merely respect as a consequence of the virtue of sexual discrimination--it's not just something sweet and romantic for you."

How does that follow? How does not merely respecting it as a consequence make it not just something sweet and romantic?

So, now you're saying that you *are* retaliating in kind to what insults you've perceived from me, despite saying before that you weren't doing that?

And yes I do find it insulting, because since as you say I'm going from entirely different premises, it's no more redolent than liking cheese makes one redolent of a plague rat. So, yes, I'd consider anyone who draws such a comparison to be insulting - and not only that, but the fact that you've made the claim that all you'd done was point out some truthful redolence is in fact *doubly* insulting.

"More than that, arguing as you do that it is, and above all casting aspersions on the characters of men who don't go all warm and fuzzy about virginity"

Now wait just a minute - I didn't cast aspersions on the characters of men who don't like it - I cast aspersions on the position that liking it *necessarily* makes one religious or in need of therapy (what I see to be *Diana's* position, in other words). Twice now you've accused me of saying that "we're all indistinguishable from hippies" when I have only claimed that I cannot see parts of *Diana's post* in any other way. Note specifically that I haven't even accused *Diana* of actually having a position "indistinguishable from hippies," but rather only have said that her *post* reads that way. So that's several degrees off from what you're saying I've done.

"Desiring X when it requires Y says nothing about whether one should therefore desire Y."

Okay, I see what you're saying and you've convinced me of that. (I *did* mean it when I said "How so?" As I said, I am being sincere here.) But then I'm still left with a problem with Diana's position. While she isn't necessarily saying that a man must desire Y, I do think she is still saying that it is immoral for a man to find any value in not having Y. (i.e. "In modern society, virginity not a value at all -- except to jealous fiends and religious dogmatists.")

(Note, however, that "price" is still literally true.)



Comment #55

Friday, March 7, 2008 at 17:50:26 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Adrian writes to Inspector, "your valuing virginity is redolent of Christian doctrine even if it starts from entirely different premises..."

But does that valuing of virginity in fact start from entirely non-religious premises? I consider that unlikely, given that the most widespread notion of what romantic love is (and the only notion of romantic love in romantic literature before Ayn Rand, including the novels of Victor Hugo and Henryk Sienkiewicz) was at its core a religious idea. Neither was it specifically Christian. One finds it also in the Hindu practice of _suttee_, and in the traditions of Moslems, Haredi Jews, and most other theistic religions.

The core idea of this notion (first expressed in the West by Plato, but probably older) is that God creates people in pairs, so that for every soul God creates exactly one ideal soulmate. Then God arranges things so that the two will meet, and fall in love, without either of them needing to actively _do_ anything to make it happen. Christians and Moslems go farther: it happens only if one trusts in God, and refrains from doing anything as impure and unchaste as actively seeking to find a romantic partner. So if you find your romantic love object, the one whom God intended to be your exclusive soulmate, that person must perforce be a virgin - or else a sinner unworthy of your romantic love.

This is the exact opposite of the Objectivist view that romance is a value that a rational person will actively seek, even at the cost of risking a mistake in evaluating the character of a potential romantic partner. A failure to seek romance actively is not _necessarily_ an indication of a character flaw, but it is objectively suspect. If one finds out that a "candidate" for romance has not even sought a romantic relationship by their middle-twenties, it becomes reasonable to ask why.



Comment #56

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 5:13:59 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Boaz:
"Yes, you should desire that she has slept with other men. You should desire that she has had good family, friends, dance partners -- and lovers. I'm not even buying the idea that one should merely "accept" the necessary fact of her previous experience."

Yes and no. I was trying to describe my own emotional response to a woman's not being a virgin--it's something I consider so natural that it simply makes no great impression on me. It just is so in the same way the rest of her choices were such and so. It certainly doesn't *bother* me in any way, so yes, "accept" is the wrong word on that score.

"Now, think about it from a woman's perspective. How many healthy, rational, desirable women do you suppose are keen to sleep with virgins?"

Heh. Not sure I've known any.

"But if I meet someone interesting and worthwhile, ideally she's had several good experiences and one or two healthy relationships. That can only reflect well on her -- and can only be good for me."

Quite so.



Comment #57

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 6:06:32 mst
Name: Adam Reed
URL: http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/areed2

Going over my previous postings in this thread, I notice a persistent error of perspective: starting with the wrong question. The error is to ask about valuing virginity in a potential partner first, when the question, like any question in ethics, should be asked first in the first person. Would I ever value virginity in myself?

And the answer is very much: no. Even when I actually was a virgin, it was definitely not a state that I wanted to keep. And earlier, when I was a child, virginity would not have been a state I would have wanted to keep myself in, if I had even thought of the question. I cannot easily imagine a context, short of imprisonment or slavery or being stranded on a desert island, or otherwise without hope of finding an acceptable partner, in which a reasonable person old enough to ask the question would wish to remain a virgin.

And if virginity in oneself cannot possibly be a value, how can it ever be a value in a potential romantic partner? When viewed from a first-person perspective (thank you, Ayn Rand,) to value virginity - to value in a partner something that one could not possibly value in oneself - is totally depraved.



Comment #58

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 6:07:54 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Inspector:
"How does that follow? How does not merely respecting it as a consequence make it not just something sweet and romantic?"

Huh? Well, I guess that paragraph might be a bit cryptic. Try this: "You say you view virginity as something sweet and romantic, something you merely respect as a consequence of the virtue of sexual discrimination, whenever the issue of a rational, passionately-valuing woman's previous sexual history explicitly comes up in the discussion, and that all you are attacking is the position that "liking [virginity] *necessarily* makes one religious or in need of therapy." At other times, however, you argue from a much stronger implicit position that virginity as such is a value even in the context of the sex life of a rational, passionately-valuing woman with an impeccably discriminating sexual history. So no, virginity's not something you merely respect as a consequence of the virtue of sexual discrimination--it's not just something sweet and romantic for you."

"So, now you're saying that you *are* retaliating in kind to what insults you've perceived from me, despite saying before that you weren't doing that?"

Huh? I said no such thing. You mean this? "...but since I'm right and you're wrong, I just write it off as your crying out at pinched toes." That just refers to an emotional response to the dubious implications of one's position being drawn out, just like trying to run in a pair of shoes a size too small for you.

"Now wait just a minute - I didn't cast aspersions on the characters of men who don't like it - I cast aspersions on the position that liking it *necessarily* makes one religious or in need of therapy (what I see to be *Diana's* position, in other words). Twice now you've accused me of saying that "we're all indistinguishable from hippies" when I have only claimed that I cannot see parts of *Diana's post* in any other way."

Okay, saying you cast aspersions on the characters of your interlocutors is a serious misrepresentation of what you've said; I apologize. Attributing to you the position that "we're all indistinguishable from hippies" is not, however, that far off. "Our position is at root indistinguishable from that of the hippies" *is* what you charge, I take it.

"(Note, however, that "price" is still literally true.)"

Why is it a "price" to a rational man for his lover to have been sexually active before him? (I am, of course, restricting myself to the context of a rational, passionately-valuing woman with an impeccably discriminating sexual history, for which this question is most cogent.) It might be a price to you, but it's not a price to me or a number of others who have posted against you. I find that whole formulation bizarre and psychologically suspect. It's no skin off my nose if a woman has had lovers before me, nor is it any sign of my being a crypto-hippie (or, if you prefer, of accepting hippie premises) that it's not.

And further: Why is it a price to *you*? Presumably for you her virginity would *not* be a price, in which case, yes, you value virginity rather more strongly than you admit in saying you're merely attacking the position that "liking [virginity] *necessarily* makes one religious or in need of therapy." (You yourself say that you mean "price" to be taken as literally true, so yes, you *literally* value virginity above experience--the latter has a *price* for the woman's lover.) *This* is the contradiction in your words I'm trying to get you to face squarely. And your implicit high valuation of virginity *over* sexual experience *even* in the context of a rational, passionately-valuing woman with an impeccably discriminating sexual history is what I'm attacking, not your respect for virginity as symbolizing the virtue of sexual discrimination; it most certainly *is* redolent of the Christian insistence on chastity before marriage, like it or not, and more to the point it is contrary to the Objectivist view of sex as a great value to be pursued passionately, vigorously, and joyously with a lover whom one highly values, no matter whether you are the first or the tenth.



Comment #59

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 6:15:52 mst
Name: Adrian Hester

Me:
"the virtue of sexual discrimination"

You know what'll happen now, don't you? Rabid feminists are going to seize on that phrase and say Objectivism preaches the virtue of descriminating against women. Oops, sorry...



Comment #60

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 11:23:34 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

"You say you view virginity as something sweet and romantic, something you merely respect as a consequence of the virtue of sexual discrimination, whenever the issue of a rational, passionately-valuing woman's previous sexual history explicitly comes up in the discussion, and that all you are attacking is the position that "liking [virginity] *necessarily* makes one religious or in need of therapy." At other times, however, you argue from a much stronger implicit position that virginity as such is a value even in the context of the sex life of a rational, passionately-valuing woman with an impeccably discriminating sexual history."

Sorry, that still doesn't make sense. If I am attacking the position that liking virginity (on the grounds that the intimacy of sharing one's sexual life exclusively with the one love of your life is sweet and romantic) necessarily makes one religious or in need of therapy, then how is it "a much stronger implicit position" that virginity (not as such, but on the above grounds) is a value? If liking it is not irrational, then how it is not defined as a value?

"Why is it a "price" to a rational man for his lover to have been sexually active before him?"

Well, we've already established that a man is not irrational for liking the romantic aspect of it, so therefore logically if there is something you like that is lost, then that is a *price*. "Price" being a value exchanged for something else.

"so yes, you *literally* value virginity above experience"

Yes, and I literally said that. The problem is that you are not looking at this as I am. I mean that statement literally - that the romantic aspect of sharing one's sex life with only the one you love most is more valuable to me than meeting that same love with foreknowledge of the mechanics of sex.

Now, you on the other hand bring in all the other things that you might value about previous relationships - something which *I* haven't been talking about, since I am arguing against the formulation that Diana used in her post, which *only includes the above*.

Am I saying that it always exceeds the sum total value of a relationship that isn't permanent? No, I'm not saying that. I am saying that it always exceeds the value of mere knowledge of sexual technique*, which was the *only* value Diana held up in her post.



Comment #61

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 11:34:03 mst
Name: Diana Hsieh
URL: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog

Inspector said: "I am saying that it always exceeds the value of mere knowledge of sexual technique*, which was the *only* value Diana held up in her post."

My post did not say that. It said that prior experience with sex makes a person a better lover -- and my comments since then have made quite clear that I wasn't just speaking of physical mechanics. Somehow, you seem unable to read the words plainly written on your computer screen.

Inspector, I'm sick of your misrepresentations (and your mind-boggling rationalism too, but that's your own damn problem) -- none of which you've bothered to retract, even when seriously offensive. Such misrepresentations drag me into this discussion with you -- something that I regard as a total waste of my time.

Please consider yourself no longer welcome to post on this topic in my NoodleFood comments.



Comment #62

Saturday, March 8, 2008 at 12:27:13 mst
Name: Inspector
URL: http://z7.invisionfree.com/capitalistparadise/index.php?showforum=17

It's your property, Diana.

I'll just ask, then, that other posters here bear in mind my inability to respond, and not take advantage of that fact.



Comment #63

Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 7:49:43 mdt
Name: kittie

"Ignorance of sex means incompetence at sex."

You are ignoring several variables which could contribute to sexual incompetence. A virgin with a very high libido and rich imagination might be much better at sex than an unattractive, self conscious 38
year old that has sex thousands of times, but has a waning libido and little imagination.

You're simply making an assertion without thoroughly examining reality.