chapter  15
15 Pages

Rethinking virginity: A post-Jungian reframing


Virginity is an ambiguous concept, de®ned as much by its absence or loss as by its presence, as exempli®ed in the widely acknowledged Madonna/whore dichotomy (Bernau 2007; Douglas 1990; Harding 1990; Qualls-Corbett 1988; Rowland 1999; Warner 1976, 1995; Welldon 1992; Woodman 1985). It has been valued or despised for one or the other aspect throughout human history (Yates 1930, in Holtzman and Kulish 1997: 36). Whether virginity has any intrinsic signi®cance or meaning as a state of being has not been clearly debated. I will explore what has been and is understood by `virginity', where and how the concept itself is unclear and unhelpful and how it might be rethought.