Sexual abstinence has proven itself to be a popular topic for recent media debates. Whether in relation to high levels of teenage pregnancy, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the phenomenon of ‘True Love Waits’ or Britney Spears, huge significance is still attached to virginity, in different ways and to serve different ends. Indeed, virginity is not just a state of being, it is a cultural signifier of great power and complexity. The study of varying attitudes towards it in different places and at different times can inform our perceptions not just of the beliefs and practices associated with sexual intercourse and abstinence, but of on a whole range of socio-cultural issues and anxieties as well. The value of studying virginity is underlined by the two volumes under consideration, which take quite different approaches to their subject matter.