Women and Men Faced with Virginity

French postcard from 1907, entitled Souvenir de Nanterre, couronnement de la rosière 1907 [Memento from Nanterre, Crowning of the Rosière for 1907], shows the social value ascribed to female virginity.
This lithography by Jean-Jacques Grandville from 1830, entitled Voyage pour l’éternité [Journey for Eternity], emphasizes anxiety surrounding the risk of syphilis, while bearing witness to the role of prostitutes in the sexual education of young men, who were often taken to a brothel by their father. Source : Wikimedia Commons https://goo.gl/4TyXjr

The social and symbolic meaning ascribed to virginity has been profoundly reconfigured between the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, with a decline in the importance of female virginity upon marriage, along with the de-Christianization of its conception, among others. While it partly lost its social meaning, the loss of virginity remains an important and intimate personal moment for both men and women, one that actively contributes to the social construction of gender identities.