More and more this term has become a source of mockery in larger American culture - used to refer to someone reflecting narrow old-fashioned ideals and hopeless naiveté in relation to sexuality itself.
For many religious conservatives, this remains almost a sacred word - referencing an ideal of supreme importance to their community’s eyes and to God. Rather than a source of mere pleasure, sex is embraced in these communities as a symbol of total union between persons of heart, mind and lives. To wait for such an act until ready to commit or give oneself completely to another is understood to be God’s will - and the way towards highest happiness. Rather than an arbitrary standard, believers see this as leading to great and concrete blessings to those who comply - with those who ignore it suffering almost inevitable consequences.
Some progressive voices also acknowledge value in virginity.
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