With regards to Buss et. al. , I believe the virginity issue falls under the umbrella of men desiring youth, fertility, and certainty of paternity. But this whole thing isn't about virginity per se. It is about sexual history, and how that may impact a future relationship.DownbutNotOut - we share some similar views. i agree with you that there are distinct "on average" gender differences in how we approach mating. I think there is plenty of data to support that (and DownbytheRiver - to be clear - because these differences appear "in the big," it's wrong to assume that every guy or gal will display a particular trait just because that trait shows up "on average.")
Seems to me though that your asymmetrical approach to virginity assumes that it's a gender difference that lower sexual experience matters to men (on average). i.e. that men prefer virgins. If' I read the studies by Buss et al correctly (and maybe I did not!), that's not something men really care much about. No evidence. Now...infidelity? Whew the evidence is just overwhelming that men care fanatically about if their mate has has sex with another rman. In most countries, in most cultures. That is huge. Virginity? Not so much.
I do think it is not irrational for a guy to be concerned with a woman with a really high body count - based on the the clear linkage to higher risk of infidelity. But as LisaD. pointed out, that's still a generalization. It may not apply to your particular potential gal. But you'd have some basis for that asymmetrical view. If your count were high too, I'd still have a vague feeling of hypocrisy, but less.
I was asked to draw a clear line. I did so at 5 previous sexual partners. Why 5? While virginity would be ideal, it relates to the studies Conan quoted above. Probability of successful marriage dwindles rapidly past 5.
I understand that everyone is different. But in every day life we don't have the luxury of decision making on each and every individual thing. If you've read Blink (Malcom Gladwell) we make our decisions far quicker than we can gather data and analyze it. We use generalities every day as a convenient heuristic to guide our choices in a myriad of situations. Body count can be such a convenient heuristic for male mate selection strategy.