So I’m sitting here watching Conan The Destroyer, which includes the age-old premise that a virgin will be sacrificed. Personally, I think that’s a waste of a perfectly good virgin, but what struck me is the silliness of this. There’s no way to know for sure that someone is a virgin unless they’re very closely watched. And if you’re sacrificing to a god who demands one and you sacrifice a non-virgin by mistake, aren’t you asking for trouble? I’d like to see a story where something terrible happens to the god (and then those sacrificing) when that mistake is made.
For guys, it’s physically impossible to tell they’re a virgin, which is probably why girls are the usual victims. The other reasons are likely misogyny and the fact that fantasy readers were mostly male for a long time, meaning the male hero like Conan can rescue the virgin and stop her from being one as his reward. Readers can live vicariously.
For girls, the hymen being intact offers proof of virginity, but it’s entirely possible she’s had other kinds of sex besides vaginal. That raises the debate of just how much of a virgin a girl has to be to get sacrificed. If she’s performed fellatio, is she still a virgin? Given a hand job? Open-mouth kissed? Would the god agree she’s s virgin? How chaste is chaste enough? And how would you ever know what’s she’s done and hasn’t done? And how many times? With how many guys? Or girls?
How would the god know? Is that god omnipotent?
If I was a girl chosen to be sacrificed, I’d loudly claim I’d performed fellatio on half the village. Which is better, being called a slut or being dead?
A girl can still be a virgin even if her hymen is broken, as that can break during strenuous physical activity, for example. Granted, in “olden times”, girls weren’t doing sports like they are today, reducing this as an issue, but that raises a different point – just because a girl’s hymen is broken doesn’t mean she’s not a virgin and unavailable for sacrifice.
During these virgin sacrifice stories, there’s never a scene where a doctor examines a girl and determines her hymen is intact. That she’s a virgin is always assumed to be true, maybe because there’s no way to tell for sure. And because it’s considered “icky” to show an exam, as if that’s somehow worse than the girl being killed? I suspect this is one of those “not worth being realistic” things.
If there are no definitive changes to the body, why does being a virgin matter? Are we saying there’s a change to something else about a person? What? Their soul? Their mind? We’re after innocence or purity? I had a dirty mind long before I lost my virginity, so what does that prove? If we’re saying their soul is “better”, well, there are plenty of other ways (besides sexual congress) to not be that innocent anymore. Murder, theft, deceit, a vice, the list goes on and on.
The whole virgin sacrifice thing is kind of stupid. But then you didn’t need a blog to tell you that, did you? Sorry for wasting your time.
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So I’m sitting here watching Conan The Destroyer, which includes the age-old premise that a virgin will be sacrificed. Personally, I think that’s a waste of a perfectly good virgin, but what struck me is the silliness of this. There’s no way to know for sure that someone is a virgin unless they’re very closely watched. […]