No woman from a conservative Indian family likes to talk about it, but the V-card plays a pretty important role in their getting married to the man of their parents' dreams.
Men, on the other hand are taught to expect their wives to be virgins before marriage, irrespective their own sexcapades.
This short film by Purani Dili Talkies addresses this conundrum in a lucid and homely manner -- through a normal discussion between a husband and wife who are just sitting across from each other on the dinner table.
From the wife reminding the husband to bring pears when he steps out of the house next time, the discussion moves on to his brother Chota's hunt for a wife, in the old-fashioned arranged-marriage manner. That's when the issue of virginity pops up, because despite the numerous girlfriends he "takes out on his bikes", he still wants a wife who's a virgin.
The husband, looking calmly into his phone matter-of-factedly tells her that his family was breaking the proposal because the girl wasn't a virgin. And he knew that for a fact, because his brother had asked her that question himself.
"I still get men who complain to me saying that the wife did not bleed on the first night and hence, they suspect that she's not a virgin. The truth is that the presence of the hymen which ruptures (resulting in the bleeding) is not a sure shot sign of virginity. Some women are born without it, there there are those for whom it is so elastic that it never ruptures; while for some it is so fragile that a slightly intense activity may have ruptured it without them even realising it. It is just not possible to figure out whether a girl is a virgin or not by just examining her except if she's been through a pregnancy or if she simply admits it," sexologist Dr Rajan Bhonsle said.
"But how does that matter," says the outraged wife in the video. "Chotu's courting god know how many women and you're worrying about that girl's virginity? The fact that she answered his question honestly, shows that she has a good character, in fact," the wife adds.
But the good news is that virginity for women, especially in big cities, has ceased to become a tabooed subject, with men and women expressing their emotions, desires and love in a more open and mature fashion.
Actress Sophie Choudry told The Times of India, "Most people in metropolitan cities do not expect their partners to be virgins anymore because India has gone through a dramatic change in the past 10 years. India is no longer the closed society it was. The modern young Indian woman is working, independent and makes her own choices in life. It's a change the Indian man has adapted to."
"Nonetheless, we cannot ignore that there is tremendous pressure on girls from smaller cities and more conservative families that virginity does still play a major factor when it comes to their marriage," Choudry added.
In the video, to explain the matter to her husband in a language he can understand, the wife says saucily, "We've had a good marriage for so many years now? Did you know for a fact that I was a virgin?"