ibnlive » India

Nov 29, 2006 at 02:56pm IST

Do Indian men want virgin brides?

New Delhi: The attitudes of the young are changing towards pre-marital sex and virginity.

"My personal opinion would be it's alright if two adults consent to pre-marital sex, it's great," says hotel entrepreneur Anubhav Kohli.

Adds actor Malaika Arora Khan, "I think it's a personal choice, and in today's day and age it's not unheard of, but as long as it's safe sex it's okay."

However, for many, traditional values still hold sway for most part.

The dogmatic viewpoint is still inherent in the Indian society and thus one can find matrimonial ads with requests for girls who have traditional values and principles.

Those who are a more modern are a bit polite in the ads and term these as 'Indian values'.

Vice-President jeevansathi.com, Vivek Khare says that there has been a change in the way matrimonial ads are being worded on their website.

"Earlier, the word convent-educated was used widely in matrimonial advertisements. That has now been replaced with professional, career-oriented, balance between modern and traditional outlooks. "

However, one must keep in mind the fact that it is - in most cases - the parents who are often placing these ads.

So how many young men today actually want to end up with a virgin bride?

Says jewellery designer, Prarthna Dave, "When i was in my 20s, I met boys who were like that, who would party with all the hep young girls, but when they wanted to get married they would find a seedhi-saadhi (simple) girl from the back of beyond or whatever their mother chose. I am 31 now, and I think the attitude of the men has changed a lot. I don't think they are sitting, waiting for decent virgin brides anymore."

Pre-marital sex is an issue each couple has to individually work out, and perhaps it is the freedom and power to choose that is empowering.

The statistics tell an interesting story.

The India Today-AC Nielsen Org Marg survey, 2006 conducted on over 2,500 men between the ages of 16 and 25 across 11 cities in the country, found that 46 per cent of the men themselves had had sex before marriage.

Sixty-three per cent said they want the women they marry to be virgins.

The Kamasutra Annual Sex Survey, 2004 - conducted on a predominantly older respondent base found that of 13,437 men and women (between 18 to 60 years of age) found that of the 7,525 married respondents, 63 per cent did not have sex before marriage, while 37 per cent did have pre-marital sex.

Of the 5,912 unmarried respondents 53 per cent have not had sex, while 47 per cent have.

What is interesting is that 90 per cent of these respondents are men and so the oft-quoted gender-based double standard may not actually ring true.

Says Psychologist, Arpita Anand, "This is called a paradox. On the one hand you are talking about Indian society progressing and becoming more open to sexual attitudes, but on the other hand, the deeply embedded values are not changing quite just yet."

The pure virgin bride is certainly considered a hallowed Indian tradition and many are unwilling to question it. But at the same time, young people in urban Indian seem to be struggling to reconcile these traditional values with a more liberated sexual attitude.

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