Sunday, January 20, 2008

sexual morality among the chicas

I had an interesting exchange with my Intensive 2s this past Friday; they led the class in student-centered presentations and discussions, all of which used movies as points of departure. One topic that popped up, so to speak, was sex before marriage. The question was rather baldly put by one of the students to her classmates: "What's your feeling on sex before marriage? Is it OK, or should you preserve your virginity until after marriage?"

Of my six students, how many do you think advocated virginity-preservation?


The rest of the girls said that, if they truly loved their partner, then sex before marriage would be OK-- it would be a sign of commitment and a further expression of love. What all the girls agreed on was that sex without love was absolutely verboten. (Just FYI: I happen to think sex before marriage is perfectly OK.)

I told the girls that I was routinely surprised at how easily Korean women admitted they were virgins. In the West, you'd have a hard time finding college girls (and, it goes without saying, college guys) who would gladly admit to their status-- virgin or not-- in public. I failed to tell my girls that many American college campuses sport a large boulder near their main entrance, and usually have some version of the following legend: "The legend says that, if a female virgin ever graduates from our school, that boulder will rise up and float away." I first heard this legend from Dr. Steve many years ago, but have since heard similar versions of it.

Interesting side note: the English word "version" has entered the Korean lexicon, where it is pronounced something like "virgin."*

*It's actually sounds a bit more like "burgeon," but that would spoil the joke.


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