Not sure if this is supposed to be here, but… here it goes. In the Catholic religion, what constitutes being a virgin? I’m asking because if you lose your hymen through any other way(bike riding, horse back riding, etc.) then through sexual intercourse, are you still considered a virgin?

Ummmm…I’ll take a wild stab at it…never having had sex? :shrug:

Traditionally, only the physical evidence was taken into account when considering a woman’s virginity. I emphasize woman because the term virgin has only come into use for men fairly recently. I would highly suggest taking a look at New Advent for an article that evaluates the contemporary Catholic views of virginity:

If a lady lost her hymen without sexual activity, she’d still be a virgin, but henceforth unable to prove it.

Virginity is sexual innocence. No more, no less.


Umm, Rev. 14:4? “These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.”

It depends on what you are discussing. For a woman to be eligible to be a consecrated virgin, they cannot have ever committed sexual sin (from masturbation to sexual scandal to full-out sex to “partial” sex, etc.). For a woman to be considered a virgin for any other purpose, it usually implies no consensual physical sexual activity with any other person.

In either case, bike riding or horseback riding would obviously not cause a woman to lose her virginity, regardless of whether or not her hymen broke. Also, in either case, rape does not remove a woman’s virginity, as she does not consent to the sin of the assailant and thus commits no sin herself. Her virginity remains intact even after being raped.

Thank you all for your wonderful answers.

God Bless.

I don’t recall that being a preventer in the “Prænotanda to the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity”


You know, it makes me wonder why virginity is so important.

why is it anybody else’s business? Something like virginity is so easily lost (see previous posts).

One thing I did run across was that virginity was important in the early church, because it was seen as a substitute for martyrdom, essentially equivalent to it, in terms of holiness (more or less, as I understand it).

That makes sense.

Is this really something defined by a religion, or by a culture? Whereas in the contemporary west people of all religions might be taken to mean “sexual innocence” or “never had sexual intercourse” there are probably other places in the world where people of all religions would still define it in physical terms of the hymen (and unfortunately use this to shame women for whom it gets perforated by any number of non-sexual activities).

I’d have thought it a matter that is reasonably resolved by consulting the dictionary. relevant to your community.

Well, in a more down-to-nature culture, female virginity at marriage ensures that the groom will not be stuck with raising someone else’s kid, or a wife who suffers from (in those circumstances incurable) sexual infections.

It is a one-sided bias, because male virginity, which would benefit the woman in the sexual-health issue, is untestable.

In more modern times, female virginity is prized because she will have no-one else to compare the husband unfavorably to.

However, the modern expectation of sowing male oats and finally marrying a female virgin is totally unrealistic, and is slowly being dropped.


Interesting…I remember being told that any intentional violation of chastity automatically precludes one from being a CV. Perhaps I am wrong @ masturbation. It is hard to find data online if it precludes or not.

It would seem hard to enforce a criterion that could not be established objectively.
Sounds like a modernisation?

If we are going to go so subjective one should also self-accuse concupiscence of the eyes? That would probably limit the catchment pool significantly though.

While a consecrated virgin usually submits references, there are still certain things to which she must vow. Unless you’re suggesting we can ever truly know if someone has never had sex without taking them at their word, there can certainly be criterion that cannot be objectively (dis)proven. Concupiscence is not sinful; masturbation is. That’s a ridiculous comparison, and I don’t honestly understand the point you were trying to make.

A person themself* might not know truly know if they have masturbated or not, especially if they are suffering from scrupulosity.

*The word themself isn’t in many modern dictionaries however it predates Shakespeare so just deal with it.

“Guilty of concupiscence of the eyes” is implied.
Didn’t think it needed to be spelt out.

You can’t be guilty of concupiscence. Concupiscence isn’t sinful, so it’s impossible to be “guilty of concupiscence.” Do you mean adultery? Lust?

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