"But honey, the sheets are so white."
Emily Yoffe, who writes as the advice columnist Dear Prudence, responds to a woman who asks whether she should deceive her future husband into believing she's not a virgin:
Q. Virginity: This December I am marrying a wonderful man who is from a different culture. He comes from a conservative background where young people are expected to stay virgins until their marriage. He also has this view on sex and has remained a virgin as well. Whenever we discussed sex, he said it was very difficult growing up in America and staying a virgin, but he has, because he sees sex as a special thing he wants to reserve only for his wife. The only thing is, this won't be my first time. I've had two partners previously, both in a serious relationship. I never explicitly said I wasn't a virgin but led him to believe I was. I asked him hypothetically one day (before we started dating) how would he feel if his future wife had sex before meeting him. He said that this would be a deal breaker for him. In my mind it's not a big deal having partners before marriage, but it clearly is for him. Do I say anything at this point?NOTE: The photo of the couple in bed is actually a photo of an optical illusion bedsheet that has an image of a couple printed on it. (Well, the heads are of real people.) The sheets were created by the designers at "Bless." Click on the bed pic to enlarge it.
A: Let's say your fiance was from a culture in which it was acceptable for men to have more than one wife, and before you started dating he asked you how you felt about polygamy. You replied that it would be a deal breaker. So you two started going out, fell in love, and got married. And as you embarked on the honeymoon he broke the news that Wife No. 1 would be accompanying you because to him polygamy was just a normal thing.
Before you even went out with this man, he laid out his bottom line on getting laid. You chose to ignore his fundamental beliefs because to you it doesn't make sense to be a virgin until marriage. I'm on your side in this debate. Frankly, since you're sexually experienced, I can't imagine why you'd want to marry someone before having a test run. Nonetheless, as silly as you may find your husband's convictions, they are his, he made them explicit, and you are starting your marriage based on a lie. When there is a lack of bloody sheets on your honeymoon, are you going to trot out the old canard that your hymen got ripped while horseback riding? When you start to blurt out, "I like it better if you—I mean, I have no idea what I like," won't he perhaps be suspicious? Before this goes any further, you must tell him the truth. That he loves you and wants to marry you might mean he is willing to examine his beliefs in light of the fact that you aren't a virgin. The Virgin Suicides is supposed to be an excellent novel; you don't also want it to be the theme of your new marriage.
- He'd Like a Virgin, Slate>>