What does it say about our collective perceptions of dating and marriage that being a virgin is interesting enough to anchor an entire TV show?

Well, folks — Hulu’s upcoming dating show Virgin Island will feature “stunningly attractive and confident” virgins looking to find a fellow attractive virgin with which to dispose of said virginity.

Submit your application here!

In all seriousness, the premise of the show is icky.

At bare minimum, it commodifies and trivializes something God intended to be holy — choosing to forego casual sex in favor of sex within the bonds of marriages.

But showrunners aren’t interested in filming a group of “stunningly attractive and confident” virgins conversing about the benefits of being abstinent. They want to bring together a bunch of virgins interested in losing their virginity!

See? Icky! And really nothing new

The creators of Virgin Island seemed to have decided that virginity is more interesting than the contrived debauchery of predecessors like The Bachelor. But the show seems to be set up around the idea that innocence is fun to corrupt.

I dislike the air of gleeful manipulation inherent in this concept, and the underlying assumption that choosing sexual abstinence makes you a bumpkin, a target or a member of a cult — something one needs to “get over.”

The indulgence of this stereotype is particularly ironic given that data shows sexual experience does not correlate to better relationships or even sex lives. In fact, a recent study out of BYU, called The Myth of Sexual Experience, found sexually inexperienced people go on to have the strongest marriages and the most fulfilling sex.

“This study adds to the growing list of nationally representative studies that suggest the logic of [gaining sexual experience before marriage] does not hold up to scientific scrutiny,” the study concludes. “In no study to date has having sex partners before marriage been found to be associated with better results for future marriage outcomes.”

The paper further notes that the sensory attachments that occur during sex can make it hard to choose good partners:

Sexual restraint benefits couples because it facilitates intentional partner selection. You have a better chance of making good decisions in dating when you have not become sexually involved with your dating partner.

In short, intentional abstinence might well be the mark of a self-disciplined person who understands the biblical and practical significance of stable relationships and families — not that of a dimwit or a prude.

I don’t know what crop of virgins Virgin Island is hoping to get, but the irreverent cliches are getting old.

Even the promise of tropical vacation isn’t enough to get me to apply for these shenanigans.