A photograph in a recent People magazine showed a man and a woman on a double bed. They are fully clothed, not touching, keeping a safe distance between them. They look entirely respectable, but also a little odd. What do you think is going on here?
The man and woman in the picture are engaged to be married, but the two have decided to put aside all intimacy for the remainder of their engagement period -- a span of six months. They are but one among many couples who, according to news accounts, are experimenting with a period of premarital celibacy.
The practice is known as "revirginization," and its aim is "secondary virginity."
Revirginization. It sounds appealing, but is it really possible?
Cullen Murphy of The Atlantic Monthly sees this trend as a powerful reassertion of American optimism. We want to believe "that what's done is not always done, that the broken can be fixed, the ravaged restored ... that you can have another swing, can wipe the slate clean, can go back to square...
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