Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Muslim, But I Don’t Want To Wait Until Marriage To Have Sex”

I am a single Pakistani-American Muslim girl, born and raised in the U.S., and I just turned twenty. I’m very secular, but I believe in God and the various tenets of Islam. (I’m comparable to Christians who only go to church on Easter and Christmas.) My immediate family is very much like me, but the rest of our family, who we are very close with, take religion quite seriously. I’m expected to marry a Muslim man someday, which I have absolutely no problem with; I do want my eventual children raised under this faith.

Here’s my problem: I really, really want to have sex now. I’m twenty, and I’m still a virgin. And I’m not a virgin because of moral or ethical reasons, or that I’m ashamed of my body; it’s simply because I’m afraid I’ll end up marrying an old-fashioned guy who, upon discovering I am not a virgin, will not be interested in me anymore. My fears stem from what I was told about an aunt who was not a virgin when she got married; when her husband discovered that she did not bleed, he kicked her out onto the street, on their wedding night!

I know that it’s most likely not this severe anymore; that incident was many years ago. I’m certain I could find a Muslim man who wouldn’t really care whether or not I was sexually active before I’d met him. But in the back of my mind, there will always be that “What If?” I can’t simply ask, “So, I’m not a virgin. Is that okay?” or, “Hey, hypothetically speaking, if I’ve been sexually active, you’d be cool with it, right?” He might tell his family that I’m not a virgin, and they could easily spread this information to other families, and, consequently, any marriage prospects I might have. (Our religious community is very small, and we’re a minority within Islam itself; it will be difficult as it is to find a husband with so few of us. I’ve never run into another Muslim of our specific sect in the street, for example, which is how I get away with never wearing a headscarf.)

I almost think that getting married right now would solve my problem; I could have all the sex I want without any social repercussions, but life just doesn’t work that way; I don’t know any single Muslim men (or single men in general) who are near my age and ready to get married. Also, being horny is a very stupid reason to marry someone.

I don’t know how much you know about Pakistani religious culture, but I need your advice. Should I stick it out, ignore my body’s desires, and refrain from sexual activity until I’m married? Or should I do what will make me happy, but risk ruining my romantic future, as well as risk my family never speaking to me again? Even my own mother told me she’d pretty much disown me if she discovered I’d been sexually active. — Bodacious and Burqa-less


Admittedly, I know next-to-nothing about the Muslim faith, so I can’t advise you in that regard. But I do know a little something about relationships, and I know that unless you’re planning on entering an arranged marriage, you’re probably going to be looking for a potential life-partner who, in addition to sharing your culture and religion, will be trustworthy and like-minded. To that end, if you were dating a man you truly feared would turn on you if he discovered you weren’t a virgin, I would think you wouldn’t want to marry him anyway. I mean, wouldn’t that be a pretty big red flag that the guy wasn’t progressive or trustworthy enough to make a life-long commitment to? Wouldn’t you be far happier finding someone who, while respecting the tenets of Islam and the importance of family and marrying within your culture, shares some of your more liberal/modern values and viewpoints? Sure, it may be hard to find him, especially if you have a small circle to choose from, but hopefully not impossible.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there’s no physical way for a man to tell if you’re a virgin or not. The idea that all virgins bleed the first time they have sex is a total myth. If you’re counting on that to seal the deal on your wedding night and protect you from your aunt’s fate, you’re in for trouble whether you have sex before marriage or not.

That said, if this is a moral dilemma for you that’s left you worrying about being disowned by your mother, you might want to wait until you have a bit more emotional maturity to deal with the repercussions of your actions. The fact that you are basing a pretty big decision — in least in part — on a somewhat far-fetched family fable indicates that you probably aren’t quite there yet. Besides, is there even anyone in your life you want to have sex with right now? While being horny is a pretty stupid reason to get married, it’s also not the best reason to have sex willy-nilly either when the decision to do so is fraught with such emotional tension. A better reason would be that you’ve found someone you love and trust and want to share that part of yourself with. Until that’s the case, I’d hold off if I were you, and find other ways to relieve some of that sexual tension.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected].

84 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Green_Blessings_Goddess March 29, 2011, 9:13 am

    Enjoy yourself, you are only young once, nobody really cares if one is a virgin when getting married anymore anyways.
    I don’t think you should marry a man that would not want to marry you for not being a virgin, he would not respect you and be very realistic.

    I think you can be Muslin without being a virgin and so strict, live life, just make sure you use a condom!

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      maynard March 29, 2011, 9:33 am

      “nobody really cares if one is a virgin when getting married anymore anyways.”

      that’s just completely false.

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        LTC039 March 29, 2011, 10:53 am

        I think she meant in general society. Obviously I’m sure there are people in this world that still care, but generally, in this day & age & in our country, she’s making a pretty accurate generalization.

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        maynard March 29, 2011, 1:14 pm

        I think in this situation, where the LW brings up her culture that clearly cares about virginity, I think saying that “no one” cares was not a fair representation.

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        LTC039 March 30, 2011, 8:37 am

        Yes, true. But she still is a 20 year old girl living in the U.S. & clearly wanting to break away (in that aspect) from her culture & traditions.
        Green_Blessings was referring to people in THIS country. I think she def could’ve expressed herself a little better, but I totally understood what she was trying to say & agree.

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        riz August 12, 2011, 6:10 pm

        i want to friend ship with you

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      Mainer March 29, 2011, 9:50 am

      Live life. That’s deep. In what capacity are you suggesting she “live life.” Should she live life the way a Muslim lives life, or in the way a liberal 20-something American female lives life? What about her suggests she is not living life right now? Because it’s not the life you live, or it’s not the life you think all people, regardless of religious affiliation or racial culture, should live? Is there a right way to live life? I’m interested in this enlightened philosophy of yours that people should live life.

      And I’m just curious as to how long you have been Muslim, GBG, that merits such advice on how devoutly she should follow her religion?

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 29, 2011, 9:51 am

      She comes from a culture that very much cares whether she is a virgin when she gets married.

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      ladiejoy March 30, 2011, 10:06 am

      Ah, but can you be Muslin without also being Cotton?

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        Maracuya March 30, 2011, 10:38 am

        Haha! Did NOT notice that.

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    WatersEdge March 29, 2011, 9:24 am

    This is what we call putting the cart before the horse. You don’t have a sexual partner. Are you allowed to date? If so, I suggest that you start dating.

    While I personally believe that you should be able to become sexually active before marriage, I would not advise you to become sexually active just because you’re horny. More than Wendy or any of us, I think the people you should be asking are your peers. Do you have friends that you trust to ask about this topic? What are your young Muslim peers doing? Are they sexually active without telling their parents? Or are they all virgins and waiting for marriage? If you don’t know who you would marry, have you asked your parents what their plans are for you? If they plan to send you back to Pakistan to find a guy, then your virginity may be a bigger deal. If they encourage you to go to grad school in a big city to meet Muslim men, then it probably won’t matter so much (the latter is my advice- move to a bigger city where you can meet progressive, Muslim men).

    And Wendy, I wouldn’t call the situation with her aunt a “far-fetched fable”. Yes this man was misinformed about how to tell if his wife was a virgin, and we hope the young men of today wouldn’t make that mistake, but that doesn’t mean that situations like this never happen.

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    • avatar

      MissDre March 29, 2011, 9:31 am

      I think Wendy meant “bleeding your first time” is a fable. Not that men throw their wives out… people can be idiots about their bodies so I’m sure that part is quite true.

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        WatersEdge March 29, 2011, 9:35 am

        Bleeding your first time isn’t a “family fable”, it’s a common misconception. When Wendy said a “a somewhat farfetched family fable” I assumed she meant what happened to her aunt in general?

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        MissDre March 29, 2011, 9:41 am

        Nah! Lots of girls in general think they are supposed to bleed their first time. I heard that one growing up too, and it’s definitely not true. I am pretty sure Wendy was just trying to clarify that. She wouldn’t go so far as to assume the story about the aunt was made up.

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      maynard March 29, 2011, 9:41 am

      “This is what we call putting the cart before the horse. You don’t have a sexual partner. Are you allowed to date? If so, I suggest that you start dating.”

      Totally agree with this. If I were the LW I’d try to start dating and if I thought I met someone I cared enough about to lose my virginity to, then I’d dive further into what it would mean for my family, faith, potential future husband, happiness, etc. Often you don’t get the clarity you’re looking for until you put yourself in a situation.

      I still think this is a good thing to get these questions straight in her head so it’s not a BAD idea she’s trying to figure out where her thoughts are now, but it’s not like she has a guy waiting in the wings to swoop in and sex her up so she doesn’t have to decide now. She may meet a man that either confirms she wants to wait or confirms that she doesn’t. So continue to take time and sort out what it would mean to YOU if you weren’t a virign before getting married.

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      • avatar

        Paula March 30, 2011, 1:07 pm

        I agree that it’s putting the cart before the horse, but I also think that if she decides to remain a virgin for whatever reason i’ts important to make that decision earlier rather than later because it can be hard to decide that once you’re in a situation that demands the answer in a hurry and if she’s lying there with a naked guy trying to decide because she put it off and then got swept up in a moment, it’ll be harder for her to choose to remain a virgin than if she made the decision earlier. Plus if she knew she wanted to remain a virgin she wouldn’t let herself get into a situation like that!

        Personally, I think that even in cultures where virginity is highly prized it’s a good idea to have sex before marriage with a caveat. For instance, maybe when you’re engaged or seriously considering becoming engaged, you should try it, because otherwise the danger is that you’ll get married and on your wedding night discover that you two aren’t sexually compatible or you like different things or there just isn’t a spark and that could lead to problems within the marriage. I could be wrong and if so I apologize, but wouldn’t it be more difficult to find someone to marry you in the culture if you were a divorced non-virgin than someone who lost her virginity to her fiancée and the relationship didn’t work out?

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        elisabeth March 30, 2011, 3:11 pm

        Yes! It’s difficult to keep your decision to remain a virgin even when you’ve all ready made the choice, so how much easier it must be to deceive yourself (or convince yourself, or rationalize your actions, or whatever you want to call it) when you haven’t thought about the issue seriously before!

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    RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 9:24 am

    I’ll admit I know very little about the Muslim culture, but I do know a thing or two about family religious pressures around sex.

    First of all, thank you for recognizing that entering into a marriage just so you can have sex is a bad idea.

    I understand the situation you’re in, but like Wendy said, if you can’t trust a guy then you should be in a relationship with him. It doesn’t seem like you’re actually ready for sex, so my advice would be to wait until you meet someone who you are completely comfortable with and either get married and have sex or have sex. In the end, only you know when the right time for you is. I’m a 25 year old virgin, and to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t “get rid of it” when I was younger. Maybe you’ll meet a young, single Muslim guy who shares your views and you’ll grow to fall in love and things will work out.

    Are you in college? Or is there a large Pakistani/Mulsim community around you? If marrying someone of your faith is important to you (and not just someone who agrees to raise your hypothetical future children in your religion), then that would be where I’d suggest looking for guys. I have a feeling that men your age (especially those raised in America) are going to be more liberal about things, much like you are. And do you honestly see yourself marrying a traditionalist? I definitely think sex is something that should be discussed before you agree to marry someone (even if it’s a discussion on waiting), so you could very easily find out early on if a guy is not right for you. And I see nothing wrong with asking a guy’s opinion on the Islam take on premarital sex.

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      WatersEdge March 29, 2011, 9:36 am

      “If marrying someone of your faith is important to you (and not just someone who agrees to raise your hypothetical future children in your religion)”

      hah!

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        RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 9:41 am

        That wasn’t snark. Some people just want to raise their children a certain way.

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        maynard March 29, 2011, 9:45 am

        like the letter from the other week with the Jewish/Christian potential marriage

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        RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 10:15 am

        Exactly.

        To clarify- There’s a difference between caring about how your children are raised and caring about the religion of your spouse. There are some people who want to marry someone of their faith to make raising the children easier, but there are also non-religious people who will allow their spouse to raise the children a different way. However, it’s important for the LW to figure out what she wants.

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        WatersEdge March 29, 2011, 11:01 am

        Well sure… but she does specifically say that she plans to marry a Muslim man. So I don’t think she really needs to clarify what she wants.

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        RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 11:42 am

        ” I’m expected to marry a Muslim man someday, which I have absolutely no problem with; I do want my eventual children raised under this faith.”

        She’s “expected” to marry a Muslim man, which is different than wanting to. I just think she should marry whoever she wants and if that means a man of another faith who doesn’t mind raising his children Muslim, then that’s who she should marry.

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        WatersEdge March 29, 2011, 12:41 pm

        You think that’s what she should do, even if her parents would disown her? I don’t see the point in encouraging her to create trouble for herself by intentionally seeking men outside her faith when she has no man in mind at all.

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        elisabeth March 29, 2011, 1:43 pm

        I think RE is simply pointing out that the LW does have the *freedom* to make her own choice, and should make the choice that will lend her the most happiness/peace/whatever in the future. That doesn’t preclude wanting to marry a Muslim man! I think RE is just driving home the point that the LW is her own person, and she can choose to be her own person either within or outside of her birthrite culture.

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        RoyalEagle0408 March 29, 2011, 1:57 pm

        Her parents are apparently fairly secular, implying that they wouldn’t disown her. I think she should be able to choose. You can’t make everyone happy, so I think yes, to an extent, you should choose your own happiness. I’m not saying that the option I’m presenting is what she should do, but at the same time, I don’t think that she should be forced to choose what someone else wants if it’s not what she genuinely wants.

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    MissDre March 29, 2011, 9:30 am

    I definitely did not bleed my first time so like Wendy said, that’s all just a myth. You bleed when your hymen tears. And that can happen at any age, from doing vigorous sports, or using a tampon, or masturbating or anything really.

    And you know what? Men are hypocrites! I know many Muslim men who all say they want to marry a virgin, yet they are going around having sex with white girls. I know, because I’ve dated several Muslim men, and so did my best friend (Somalian, Jordanian, Eritrean, Saudi). And they all said the same thing. Why is it ok for them to go around having sex and then expect their future wives to be perfectly pure?

    Girl, live life for YOU. But I agree with what Wendy said. Maybe wait until you’ve found someone you care about and want to share your body with. Because sleeping around for the wrong reasons could be something you would regret.

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 29, 2011, 9:54 am

      I can actually answer that question. A friend of mine fought in Iraq and learned a thing or two about the culture; I also have several conservative male Muslim friends. The issue is that the honor of the family depends on the *woman’s* purity more than the man’s. These fosters the double standard. However, I don’t think it is limited to the Islamic faith. I live in the Bible belt, and if a son has premarital sex it’s bad, but if a daughter has premarital sex then she might be disowned. I find this stupid, particularly since it affects me.

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  • avatar

    IdaTarbell March 29, 2011, 9:34 am

    Have sex when YOU are ready physically, emotionally and psychologically. That might be when you have your first boyfriend, or you might decide you and your fiance want to wait until the wedding night. Just don’t rush this. Sex complicates things, and unless you know you can pick yourself up the next day and be confident in your choice, you need to focus on forming loving relationships and creating a good life for yourself. Sex is not the be-all, end-all of loving interactions.

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    Desiree March 29, 2011, 10:02 am

    I find mixed messages in the letter about the LW’s religious environment. She refers to herself as “secular,” and then says her immediate family is like her. But she wants to marry a Muslim man who might be conservative, and her mother would disown her for premarital sex? NOT so secular (although some of this might be cultural as well as religious). I think she should tread extremely carefully. I have had several Muslim male friends in college who I thought were quite liberal; yet their discussions regarding the proper place of women sent frightened shivers down my spine. I don’t know if she is able to based on her family, but the LW needs to move out on her own and figure out her own identity. She also should not have sex until she is confident enough to brave the potential fallout and actually has a partner who makes her feel more than sexual desire. Marriage is definitely not the answer, particularly not marriage to someone far more conservative than herself. She might be able to have sex, but she will find no genuine freedom in such a union. (I should add that if she wished to live the conservative life her community seems to expect, I would completely respect that. But in light of the fact that she does not, I hope she can make her own way.)

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    Maracuya March 29, 2011, 10:22 am

    Well, she’s might be relatively secular. My Muslim friend told me this is how dating is in her community:

    Guy (or girl) hears of cute other. Family vets them. They meet and go on a chaperoned date. They email each other or talk on the phone a few times. They decide whether they want to get married. Extended family comes over, deal is sealed.

    This is, of course, for her particular community. She said it was even frowned upon that she took so long talking to her fiance as she did (6 months.) So if the LW wants to marry in a similar fashion, then it makes it very difficult to ascertain if her suitor feels the same way without risking that news getting out and affecting her marriage prospects.

    That said, I do know of another Muslim girl who doesn’t wear a headscarf, is religious, but pretty much does whatever she wants. I don’t know how this affects her marriage prospects, but I think if you date in a more Western fashion then that’s pretty moot. Move somewhere else and find more progressive Muslim men that are more similar to you. I think that’s the best suggestion. Don’t have sex just to have it. When you’re ready and feel emotionally safe is best.

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    • avatar

      Maracuya March 29, 2011, 10:23 am

      *feels the same way about sex before marriage

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        MissDre March 29, 2011, 11:31 am

        One of my girlfriends was with her boyfriend for 2 years before they got married. But they always went on chaperoned dates. She was always accompanied by an older brother. I thought that was so weird… 2 years of chaperoned dates!

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    LTC039 March 29, 2011, 11:01 am

    Do what YOU think you need to do. If you feel having sex is going to cause too many reprucussions you’re not ready to face, then don’t do it. If you think you CAN live with it, then do it. But do it when it’s right for you, don’t do it just to get it over with & DEFINITELY don’t get married just for that reason. & don’t think about future possibilities that might not happen. Life takes weird & crazy turns, you may not even marry a Muslim! Who knows? & if the person you do marry really loves you for you, trust me, he won’t care about that…
    Whatever makes you happy, please, go for it. However, I will say, it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to deal with w/e consequences will/can stem from you doing it.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray March 29, 2011, 11:08 am

    When I first read the letter, I wanted to comment: Yes, absolutely, LW, you can right away put out there, “So, I’m not a virgin. Is that okay?” Boom. That’ll certainly weed out the guys who only want a virgin.

    But then after reading Wendy’s comment about there being no physical way for a man to tell if you’re a virgin or not (agreed – I didn’t bleed – do some people still bleed the first time?), I now want to say: LW, that’s right, there’s no way to find out…. so if your family/community would shun you, lie about it. Go have sex and don’t tell anyone; if they ask, yes, just lie to their face. I’m not suggesting that Wendy was going there with this comment; she’d probably advise against lying. But I say fuck it. Literally and figuratively. Why do others need to know? Obviously, you’ll want to get tested and, if you have an STD or similar problem, then a future lover would need to know that, but that’s it. Otherwise, no one needs to know if a penis has been in your vagina. Or a vibrator. Or anything else. I don’t mean to be crass, but isn’t it as simple as that?

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      Maracuya March 29, 2011, 11:23 am

      Well, maybe. But I’d be uncomfortable not being completely truthful, and I wouldn’t like to be lied to either. And what if her husband later found out that she was lying? Wouldn’t he be hurt?

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        elisabeth March 29, 2011, 1:49 pm

        Agreed. Not everyone is so effortlessly comfortable with lying, and lying certainly isn’t her only option.

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        anna728 March 29, 2011, 11:57 pm

        She could still lie to her family about it and only tell the husband…

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      huh March 29, 2011, 1:18 pm

      I agree. Lying is rarely the way to go, but I don’t see many good options for her. I would try moving/going to school somewhere far away from members of your sect or start dating far outside of your normal social circles. Do what you want with a nice non-Muslim guy, get checked, and play the virgin when you get married. Women have been doing this forever in anti-sex societies.

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        huh March 29, 2011, 1:21 pm

        Also, you should wait to sleep with someone you care about and wait until he’s been tested for the broadest range of STDs.

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      ArtsyGirl March 29, 2011, 1:34 pm

      I did bleed the first time and let me tell you – ouch. But I am petite and didn’t play tons of sports when I was a kid, though I was a competitive horseback rider.

      Don’t forget LW there is always the plastic surgery which can reattach your hymen (umm shudder**) or you can always play the old switcherroo which women used to cut their finger after sex and rub it on their thigh to indicate they were still a virgin. (Mostly I am kidding, but they are two popular choices for women who have been sexually active but are marrying into traditional societies).

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  • avatar

    SGMcG March 29, 2011, 11:37 am

    What sexual activity entails can encompass a great many things. It goes beyond the immediate image of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Sexual activity also need not be limited to the pleasures of the body – it can be something that can stimulate your mind and/or your emotions along with your body. If you don’t wish to ignore your body’s desires, yet finding a suitable partner is not possible, self-masturbation after reading salacious material could be a good start of exploring sexual activity without bringing in a partner at this time. If you do decide to explore your sexuality further with another individual, remember that what constitutes a good sexual partner is VASTLY different than what constitutes a good life partner or spouse.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom March 29, 2011, 11:38 am

    Since it sounds like you would risk losing your family if you were to begin having sex I’d wait for now and remain a virgin. It’s my understanding that in your culture any potential husband would also be pressured to only marry a woman who was a virgin so he would risk being disowned also if he married a “wild” girl even if he personally didn’t mind. Sooner or later most secrets do come out so sooner or later someone would see you in a situation they didn’t approve of or meet a friend of yours who said the wrong thing not realizing your sex life was a secret. As long as you wish to remain a part of your community I think you need to wait. If, at some point you decide you don’t want to be a part of that community then you will be freer to choose your own actions. There was an honor killing in this region a few years back and I know it is a real issue in some communities.

    I’m also aware that some Pakistani English girls, born and raised in England, have been taken to Pakistan and forced into marriage where they don’t have the same rights to say no that they do in England. Many Pakistani families see that as the answer to keeping their daughters virgins until marriage, marry then fairly young before they can become sexually active. I don’t know if that has been happening to Pakistani Americans but please be ultra cautious about any trips to Pakistan if there is any hint at all that your family thinks you should be getting married or if they are starting to worry about you becoming sexually active. I’d also be cautious about marrying any man whose sisters ended up married in Pakistan because he might do the same to any daughters you would have with him.

    If you do visit Pakistan make sure you memorize the phone number of the American embassy and also have that phone number in your cell phone under some name that doesn’t seem suspicious. The English girls who were legally adults in Pakistan (not necessarily the same age as in England) were calling their embassy and the embassy could send a car to the home and if the girl could manage to escape the home she could jump into the car and flee. If she wasn’t legally an adult the embassy couldn’t help her because it would be kidnaping.

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    • caitie_didnt

      caitie_didn't March 29, 2011, 12:09 pm

      I don’t know how much this applies to the LW. I think if she was concerned about this or even more horrifically, “honour killing” she would probably not even be contemplating dating/ having sex before marriage and would have included it in her letter. Still, she does need to think about the long-term consequences of her actions and if she could handle the fallout from her family discovering her sexual activity. I have to agree with the other commentators- moving to a big city where there is a greater chance of meeting secular Muslim men and even considering dating outside her religion(one of my best friends is Irish Catholic and dating a secular Muslim guy and his parents and grandparents LOVE her) is the best route.

      Like other people said, having sex for the sole purpose of losing your virginity is a bad idea, as is getting married just to be able to have sex. There is NO shame in telling a potential suitor “so, I’m actually not a virgin, are you okay with that?”- that’s all it takes to weed out an unacceptable partner. And there is no shame in remaining a virgin until marriage, if that’s what you choose to do.

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    sarita_f March 29, 2011, 12:02 pm

    TOTALLY agree with Addie Pray that know one has a need or right to know unless it would affect them directly. Pragmatically, this would be easier to do if you’re, say, at school far, far away and target people that are not a part of your greater Muslim community.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie March 29, 2011, 11:07 am

    Religion of any ilk be dammed, the body needs what the body needs but consider the consequences beforehand and act accordingly. I have a male friend who became Muslim in his early 20s and was very sexually active before that. He married a Pakistani/American Muslim woman that was a virgin. She’s screwing him blind and he’s mentioned that he would rather that she wasn’t quite so wanton. I bet the Aunt made up that tale of being kicked out to scare Burqa-less away from sex before marriage.

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      anna728 March 29, 2011, 11:55 pm

      I see what you’re getting at, but in the case of Muslim Americans I think there’s an awful lot of variating on things like that- especially given that Muslims come from so many different places, or even how recently they have been in the U.S. The one case of your friend may not apply to all. After all, there are also sects of Christianity and Judaism where virginity at marriage is a very real and very important expectation.

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    Lindsay March 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

    My first thought is that if you live a fairly secular life and are laidback and open-minded, you wouldn’t want a guy who was so religious and strict that he was unwilling to marry someone who wasn’t a virgin. You probably wouldn’t be happy with him for that and probably other reasons. And I doubt that if virginity was such a big deal to him, that he’d also be interested in someone who isn’t all that religious.

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      anna728 March 30, 2011, 12:04 am

      What I was thinking too.

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    Heather Girl March 29, 2011, 11:11 am

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I would rather not hear from every commenter on whether they bled or not the first time they had sex. Sick out.

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      plasticepoxy March 29, 2011, 1:46 pm

      Doesn’t bother me, I actually think it’s interesting to know.

      My bf at the time didn’t believe that I was a virgin because he didn’t see me bleed. I did, but very, very little. Sorry if that’s gross for others. Too bad there isn’t a TMI flag we can add to posts that overshare!

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        plasticepoxy March 29, 2011, 1:52 pm

        Ha! Didn’t even finish my comment. What I was going to say was, while he didn’t believe that I was a virgin because of the absence of blood, he didn’t say anything about it until YEARS after the fact. We had a spat about it; even years later, it stung to know a loved one thought I was lying. He’s a good egg. We’re not together anymore, but virgin/not virgin didn’t have anything to do with it.

        (I guess he was expecting the mattress to be stained? He was a virgin too, so it’s not like he knew what he was getting into. We were firsts for each other for pretty much everything.)

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        SpaceySteph March 29, 2011, 11:37 pm

        Hah I find it interesting too. And I definitely ruined a mattress. My best friend had hurt herself in a Tarzan-rope/jungle gym incident in elementary school and so her first time… no blood, no pain. I envied her a little because OMG ouch!

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      • caitie_didnt

        caitie_didn't March 30, 2011, 12:56 am

        I agree, painful as f*ck!! I didn’t ruin a mattress but I bled a lot, and bled for the next 5 times or so as well. And I played a lot of sports as a kid (and still do), so that’s not a definitive rule-out either.

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        thyme March 31, 2011, 8:02 pm

        ha ha, “painful as f*ck”– pun intended?

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    ReginaRey March 29, 2011, 12:49 pm

    I’d like to second what Wendy said about a part of the letter that I’m not sure the LW understands – as far as I know, not every virgin “bleeds” after their first time. I didn’t at all. While I know many women do, I hardly think it’s a sure-fire sign that a woman is a virgin. I also know many women that bleed after intercourse, and who were NOT virgins. I think the concept of virginal bleeding is outdated quite frankly, a tool that allows males to judge, exert power, control unwitting females like the LW’s aunt. Anyone else have thoughts on this??

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    Teresa March 29, 2011, 1:02 pm

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned it, but maybe she should try masturbation. Get a vibrator. If her problem is that she’s horny, that would solve that.

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      elisabeth March 29, 2011, 1:57 pm

      I think it’s been mentioned, albeit discreetly. But yeah, there are plenty of ways to satisfy oneself without a partner if the horniness is the biggest challenge for the LW at the moment!

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        SpyGlassez March 29, 2011, 6:44 pm

        Or – ahem – with a partner, that don’t involve going all the way, though as of yet she doesn’t have a partner. But there are ways to be sexual and not have sex.

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    thyme March 29, 2011, 4:03 pm

    To me it sounds like the LW either belongs to a particular small sect of Islam, or she happens to live in a place with a tiny, conservative Muslim community (She didn’t say she has to marry a Pakistani man). If it’s the second scenario, I highly suggest that she moves somewhere with a larger Muslim community.

    There are oodles of Muslims of all mindsets in larger communities, many of whom are just as progressive as secular-ish people of other faiths. I’m sure you can find plenty of men who identify as Muslim who feel the same way about sex as you do. I know tons (several of whom are Pakistani). Just like there are Christians who make a big deal out of premarital sex and ones who don’t. Islam isn’t some crazy rare, esoteric religion that is hard to find. Move somewhere with more people in your dating pool.

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    A Muslim Khan March 29, 2011, 5:40 pm

    ASAK hun, I’m telling you as a 22-year old, very very secular Muslim Indian girl – Don’t do it unless you are fully willing to cut ties with your family and the muslim community. People in our community NEVER forget this sort of thing, and if you are, by whatever means found out, it will be really embarrassing for both you and your family.

    I’ve known girls who’ve done nothing more than had an occasional drink in a bar, and of course people found out and rumors abounded. Another Muslim friend I knew admitted to her family when the marriage question came up that she had had sex, and her own parents called off the whole thing for fear of the humiliation they’d suffer if they had to tell anyone about it.

    Yes, its sucks and is an awful double standard – I don’t like it either. But what it came down to for me was — Am I willing to accept the consequences of that behavior being found out? I am not saying that pre-marital sex is wrong, that’s completely up to you to decide for yourself — but you have to be practical and aware that people may find out before getting married is even an issue for you and after that, odds are marriage may very well be off the table as far as Muslim guys (and their mothers…) are concerned.

    Be especially careful if you are financially dependent on your parents – yes, they love you and may forgive you, but depending on their reaction should they find out you’ve had sex, you may not want to stay with them anyways.

    Inshallah you’ll figure out a way to reconcile the culture/religion with your own needs.
    Keep in mind that there are plenty of sexual options that don’t include hymens, but be careful!!

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    Kat March 29, 2011, 8:44 pm

    I think LW might have a bit more to think about then just losing her virginity here. It sounds like you’ve got a, for lack of a better term, ‘western’ outlook on sexuality, but are coming from a culture which has a very traditional outlook on it. Even though you aren’t wearing a headscarf, practicing everyday, you still seem pretty entrenched into that culture. Is it really just about losing your virginity? Do you want to marry a man who has conservative outlooks and notions of what a wife should be? I think these might be things you should look at more than having sex itself. I understand that your culture has a particular notion of whats right and whats wrong – but at a certain point, you have to trust and be guided by your own moral compass which might not find the same north as your extended family. Would you be happy married to someone who would consider shameful something that you found pleasant and harmless?

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    Marie March 29, 2011, 9:15 pm

    I’m writing this comment before reading any of the others, even Wendy’s. That’s because I think the solution to LW’s problem is simple, albeit very difficult.

    LW, what exactly are your values? You’ve got to know this first and foremost. What are the reasons you don’t want to wait to have sex? If you truly feel that is is not an immoral act to have pre-marital sex, and you want to enjoy sex prior to marriage, than any potential husband who is actually compatible with you would have to share this pretty basic value, no?

    If you actually think pre-marital sex is morally wrong, and you wouldn’t want your future husband to have engaged in it either, but you want to do it because you’re horny, then that would make you hypocritical.

    So it all comes down to, do it if you truly feel it is in line with your values and will enhance your life experience- any man who is truly compatible enough to marry you in the future would be in line with this. If he isn’t, then he isn’t for you anyway and you shouldn’t be marrying him.

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  • katie

    Katie March 29, 2011, 10:10 pm

    alright this will probably get me thumbs down, but…. if you women who are in these situations, or cultures, where certain ideals are placed on the women, and you just go along with it because of fear, or whatever, these stupid ideals will never ever go away. my father would have loved nothing more then to pick out my husband, and keep me far far away from boys until i met him on my wedding night. im not really sure how far he would have gone, because my mother divorced him and took me away before that could happen, but the reality was that I started having sex at 16, and felt absolutely terrible about from all the brainwashing i had be subjected to until i was about 18. i did what i wanted to, and now, i feel good about it. i dont have a great relationship with my father, but i will never regret my life, or my decisions just because i was afraid to do what i thought was right. i say do what you want. and you know what if you want to raise your children in the muslim faith, find a man (muslim or not!) that wont mind his children being raised muslim and teach them your interpretation of muslim, then let them hear the other ones, and maybe even look at other religions, and then let them decide for themselves. you have to give your children atleast that much- your parents never showed you that much respect, and it sounds like that is the one thing you crave.

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    anna728 March 30, 2011, 12:24 am

    If you’re able to get by with not wearing a hijab, and if you say your family is secular, I am guessing you have considerable freedom on a day-to-day basis. If so, I think that if you were to find someone you wanted to have a sexual relationship with, there’s no reason your family has to know (if you’re careful!). My mom would certainly not be mad at me for having sex, but even though I have been for five years, she doesn’t know. She might assume I have by now but she definitely doesn’t *know*. And I haven’t even gone too far out of my way to hide it- I just don’t tell her. There’s certainly a risk that if you become sexually active family could find out, but I think it’s also quite possible to avoid that. If you are not comfortable lying for ethical reasons, then that may not be the solution for you, but eh, I don’t see the harm. A lie is certainly less ethically questionable than disowning your daughter over her perfectly legitimate choice to have sex, in my opinion.

    And just like Wendy and some others have pointed out- as I was reading the letter I was thinking that you probably wouldn’t be happy in a marriage to someone who sees so differently as to think sex before marriage is wrong. It would be nice to find someone who is a member of the same defined group as yourself, but finding someone you share values with is important, too. I think that even if it makes your family happy, a marriage that doesn’t make you happy is not worth it.

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    Sweet248 March 30, 2011, 8:55 am

    Personally, if I were you, I would look into masturbation to ease some of your sexual tension. Buy a sex toy! You can go into an adult store, or discreetly order things online (they come in plain, unlabeled packages.) I’m not sure if this is a violation of your religion, but I feel like it’s a way better alternative than having sex with someone just because you’re horny. You may come to regret your decision to lose your virginity before marriage, but with masturbation you’ll remain a virgin will still satisfying yourself sexually.

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      missarissa March 30, 2011, 1:44 pm

      two words: magic bullet. happy buzzing!

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        elisabeth March 30, 2011, 2:12 pm

        Yes. Just….yes. Hurrah for a TMI thread. ^_^

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      Addie Pray March 30, 2011, 5:23 pm

      Thank God man wrote these religious texts before the invention of the Rabbit, Bullet, etc. Last I checked anyway (admittedly it has been a long ass time since I opened a Bible or anything similar despite what my user name may suggest), we’re free to use these lifesavers guilt-free! Praise the lord.

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    Jshizzle March 31, 2011, 7:51 am

    A) It shouldn’t be a case of finding out the guy is old fashioned after you marry him, if he’d throw you out for not bleeding, there will be many other issues that will cause unhappiness.

    B) It’s unrealistic to expect that you’ll bleed all over your sheets the first time.

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    A.M April 14, 2011, 12:02 pm

    Marriage is not to be treated like any other consumerist product that you “try out” first and take it back the next day if it doesn’t work. That way of thinking is common in the industrial world of capitalism, which I think is slowly destroying the planet with its ideals, or lack thereof. “copied”

    Now that part is me talking : i think its not about the culture,religion or the society you raised in ..i think it’s about your principles & the way you look/measure the life elements ..

    Most of us had these sexual needs but if we just went with our desires “in general” , that would be a lack in our stamina which turns us in such hunger animals ..

    Our bodies aren’t a commodity to let people use/try it .. it should include the humanist part that distinguishes us as we deserve .. so,why have we to cheap ourselves ?

    If you want to go with the desire & satisfy your needs, you gotta stop for a while & think about the rights towards your body & your Mr. perfect who you’ll meet someday

    I think it’s amazing to do it with the one you love who deserves you

    Problems in marriage is a part of life problems .. you can’t say i’m just gonna do that cause i need it & the environment around me didn’t solve my problem..so i’ll do solve it ! .. it doesn’t sound logical to me

    At the end,i hope if you appreciate your body and yourself before your body..& just wait .. i know it doesn’t sound like a particular solution to you but is the wiser & the better for your future,& you’ll know it latter .

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    jasmine April 15, 2011, 3:01 pm

    hey, am Muslim, and what i think is that forget about your family, maybe they’ll forgive you, but what about god? is he going to forgive you? you know that having sex before marriage is a big sin in Islam, and if we apply Islam rules now days you’d be punished in this life and after life (the judgment day) … think about god before anyone else, you know god loved us, and wants the best for humans, and if you do your best to follow what he asked us to do, he will help you and lead you to the best for sure. take care and do the right thing.

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    Jamla April 29, 2011, 10:16 am

    I tnk she already knw d ans frm her last statement,she jst need 2 lesten 2 her heart

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    MissPharaoh July 16, 2011, 1:18 pm

    First off, there’s a point that must be cleared a bit: in Islam, premarital sex is a sin,a huge one, probably second behind murder/suicide. So staying away from it is worth all the suffering you’ll go through
    Second, well,if you think about it, there really isn’t much suffering in the process.. I come from a society in which girls are virgins till around the age of 25-30 ,and we don’t really feel like we’re suffering or anything @ all, you gain restraint easily by belief.
    But anyway, you say you don’t mind it because of ethical or religious reasons so you probably went over this.. In case you still insist on that point,well.. You definitely shouldn’t get married to a guy who you can’t trust or suspect will talk bad about you to anyone.. Marriage is deeper than that, if you have any doubts about how devoted & loving your future husband is, don’t do it

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    Nazia November 23, 2011, 12:24 pm

    Hey..its okay. Just go ahead and enjoy. I too am a Muslim and have had sex before marriage

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      Meenio November 27, 2011, 3:29 pm

      Shame on you, you are saying that she should not care about her religion and just complete her wish with some terrible guy sorry you are giving her wrong advice..we should always follow our religion first..

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    muslim shia guy December 3, 2011, 7:42 pm

    LW, if u say you are Muslim (guessing you’re shia) then you got it all wrong because sex before marriage is a huge sin, especially if you plan to do it to satisfy physical cravings. I am Muslum, from your sect, I consider myself an educated person but I would never want to marry a girl who is not virgin. And beleive me, no single muslim man would accept that, unless religion is 100% behing his concerns. Sexual anstinence is a red line, a lot more important than Hijab and prayer. If yoi plan to marry a muslim, find a good match and get married, then ull have all the sex you want in a secure and safe home.

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    Sigh January 6, 2012, 1:28 am

    Hey, I’m a Muslim (Sunni).

    Muslim shia guy, sexual abstinence is NOT more important than prayer!!! Salah is WAY more important. And hijab is not just a piece of cloth, it is the concept of modesty itself. In any case, they are all obligatory/necessary.

    Anyways, I stumbled on this site because I was feeling so guilty about what I’ve done (no, not sexual intercourse). While I was looking for some comfort for myself through Islamic advice, I would like to give some to you.

    If you’re still considering doing what you’re doing, I say (and, most importantly, Islam says) don’t. Instead do what the Prophet Muhammad said if you’re feeling you’re going to fall to your desires; fast (sincerely, with the intention of coming closer to God).

    Secondly, your hormones are not more important than Allah. Nothing is, and I’m sure you know that. Nor are they more important than your parents. I know a lot of non-Muslims will scoff at us denying ‘love’ for our parents, but you only get the one set of parents you’re blessed with. It’s really not worth the heartache they’d go through or the subsequent heartache you’d have for causing them pain. That’s why when some Muslim guys say that they’ll marry whoever they want, even without the approval of their parents (since they don’t need it), I get upset. Yeah, many times the parents are being illogical, many times they even have good reasons. But for the most part, unless they say they don’t want their son to marry that girl because she’s too religious or something, keep your parents in mind in your decisions (after Allah).

    As other Muslims here have said, sex outside of marriage is a very big sin. So that should be your reason not to engage in such activities.

    That being said, if this is already too late, it’s ok. Just repent sincerely (which includes being regretful over committing the sin and a sincere intention to stop doing it) and hide your sin from the world. Just keep it between you and God, because Allah says if you hide your sins in this world (as long as the sins didn’t directly hurt anyone, like theft or murder and the like), He’ll hide yours on the Day of Judgement when normally all of our deeds would be revealed to everyone. So if a Muslim man is practicing and is aware of this concept in Islam, then he wouldn’t ask you about your past sins, including sexual encounters (unless you have an STD or a baby or something). I know a lot of (practicing!) people are not used to this concept, but make sure you lay these conditions out. You won’t ask about his past sins and he can’t ask about yours.

    I know the Pakistani culture is somewhat different than Islam (unfortunately) and if a “cultural/traditional” Pakistani who is not properly following Islam gets wind of any past sins, especially if it involves sex and the subject in question is a female, some people might act completely contrary to Islam and even might go as far as honor killings. But as someone else mentioned, you’d have told us that your family is cultural in that sense.

    And yes, i do know what it’s like. I’m 23 and I was born and raised in the U.S. too. I know it gets really difficult sometimes to control your desires (I know it all too well, even though I haven’t gotten to the stage of actually having sex), but it is definitely doable and something that is worth it. And now I shall part and follow my own advice. May Allah guide us and keep us steadfast, Ameen.

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    Muslimah January 10, 2012, 12:20 am

    Asalamualaikum,
    I am not too late to give you my advice DON’T do it. From the way you expressed yourself I can tell you don’t care much about islam and being a good muslim becoz your worried about ruining your future and not about how sinful you will be after doing that. Aren’t you worried abiut what is going to happen after you die then what? I am dating a muslim guy right altho we are not sexually active but it bothers me everytime I even see him coz I know that we should keep our inner desiers only for our husbands. I always pray to god to bring us together and change our haram relationshi to halal. Having before marriage is the biggest sin…save that for husband. If you really want advice… ask a muslim girl

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    loly January 22, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Try masturbating

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    summer February 6, 2012, 10:12 pm

    Muslim to Muslim if you are sincere about your faith your worry should be how u would be displeasing Allah ta alaa .. if you can not wait then as a Muslim marrying because of sexual.desire is not silly. You will be taking an even greater risk by sleeping with a man with out any obligation on his part … At worst if your not for marriage I rather u find out how to self please then break your chastity

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    Fira February 7, 2012, 12:12 am

    Listen… I’m a Muslim girl. Born and raised in the U.S. I’m not asexual. At least that’s what I’ve been convincing myself since I’m 24 and not even interested in marriage. However I have had desires and could relate to how you feel. I can tell you that I had a Muslim friend at the age of 19 who had sex with some Muslim boy she met. She regretted it so much that she lives every day in guilt (and it’s been five years). I had another friend who apparently got pregnant the first time she did it because the condom broke. She wasn’t Muslim but her parents were conservative Christians. At the age of 22, she actually ran away from home in fear of their reprisal. I don’t even know what happened to her.

    Sex is not a light topic. You become bound to the person you share it with. I will be turning 25 soon and I have to say that I am glad that I am a virgin. It is a bliss and I feel like I never lost myself. Many of my friends have cried after they had sex, saying that they “lost a piece” of their selves to the person they did it with. This was in response to the friends who did it on prom night. Anyways, there are many repercussions for those who commit this act before marriage.

    From an Islamic perspective, I would at least be worried about where it places me in God’s view. I believe that fasting is a great choice to help you with your desires. It’s only temporary that we suffer this overwhelming need to “mate”. At least it was for my best friend and I. I took a female class on health and though I do not encourage this since apparently there is something Islamically wrong with the act, if you feel that you are going to do something stupid (like having sex with some random ‘Joe’), then maybe you can relieve some of the pressure you are feeling using your fingers. It sounds awkward saying this, but if we put it in perspective, then I’m sure it’s better than having sex before marriage.

    Not saying to go off and buy toys though.

    …that’d just be weird- no offense to anyone who does that.

    Okay, best of luck hon!! ^-^

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    Italian boy April 21, 2014, 9:08 pm

    Ok , so I am going through your situation too.I am 24 and I am a Pakistani boy living in Italy from last three years.I have no interaction with any Pakistani girls here because there is none here and with this virginity thing handling over my head, I am left in no man’s land.

    Life is really awkward and sometimes i feel that i ll die virgin lol.
    I just can’t do inter course due to things stuffed in my head from childhood even when when its so easy.And these fears are so strong that I can leave blondes naked on bed lol (Literally saying) 😛

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