Double Standard for Traditional Value of Virginity and Premarital Sexuality in Turkey: A University Students Case

Essizoglu A., Yasan A., Yildirim E. A., Gurgen F., Ozkan M.

WOMEN & HEALTH, vol.51, no.2, pp.136-150, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 51 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03630242.2011.553157
  • Journal Name: WOMEN & HEALTH
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.136-150
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


This study investigates the prevalence of myths regarding virginity and the hymen and their associations with sexuality prior to marriage. This study was conducted with 534 single, heterosexual male and female students from various faculties of Dicle University in Turkey. The findings demonstrated that the rates of masturbation (11.1%) and premarital sexual intercourse (4.3%) were much lower in women than in men (87.7% and 44.2% respectively) who were traditionally expected to maintain their virginity until marriage. A higher degree of commitment to religious faith was associated with a lower rate of masturbation and sexual contact experience. Also, the myth that the hymen symbolized virginity was slightly more prevalent among male students (74.2% vs. 72.1%). Female virginity was significantly more important among male students (76.7%) than females (11.1%), and male students more frequently (30.1% vs. 11.1%) stated that othe blood-stained bed sheeto should be displayed to the family on the day of marriage. Although some myths about virginity were frequently reported by females, less significance was attributed to virginity by females than by males. In conclusion, the traditional social structure that incites sexual double standards still prevails over the sexual attitudes and behaviors of university students in Turkey.