“As you may know, in some cultures it is almost expected for the bride to ‘bleed’ on the wedding night. And a woman’s chastity is strongly linked to the family name’s honour. Some women may through either intercourse outside of marriage or active sports,etc may have broken their hymen. This may lead to problems or accusations or in some extreme cases, harm if the worst is assumed. Now there is a product, which does not involve expensive hymen reconstruction surgery. It is safe and simple to use.” – Amazon.co.uk product description
Thanks to last week’s TMI Tuesday, I was made aware of a product that goes by the name of ‘artificial hymen’. Now if you’re not aware, the hymen is a thin piece of tissue that covers the entrance of the cervix at the end of the vagina, which is typically broken the first time a woman has sex. It is possible to break this thin tissue through exertion during sports such as horse riding or other vigorous activities, but it’s still mostly seen as something that happens when you lose your virginity.
Apparently some cultures and groups of people think that this is such a sacred rite of passage that should a women have a broken hymen before marriage she is seen as inferior to the rest of female society. She may find it difficult, or impossible to find a suitor for marriage. Marriage, of course, being the be all and end all for women, even in 2014. In case you didn’t know, I don’t care much for marriage being the ultimate symbol of a successful relationship. A signed piece of paper does not a happy or lasting relationship make.
Should a woman hide the fact of her broken hymen and not tell any suitor or man she is engaged to of her inferior status she risks bringing even more trouble down on herself. It could be tempting to risk him only discovering this fact for himself on the wedding night, when the marriage is conjugated, and the typical bleed from the hymen breaking is suspiciously absent. I probably don’t even want to know what happens when a woman is found out to have a broken hymen before marriage.
Not only does the pre-marriage breaking of a hymen bring shame to the woman herself, it also bears the emotional guilt and blackmail of shame to her entire family. Just in case she didn’t care enough about herself to stop this manipulation of her natural freedom and desires.
So how many things have I found offensive so far?
- A woman must retain her chastity until her wedding night, knowing nothing about men, sex or possibly even herself and her own sexuality
- A woman’s sexuality belongs not to herself, but the society and culture around her, until marriage, and then it belongs to her husband, as some kind of ‘property’
- That sexual intercourse must remain an activity that takes place during marriage only
- That a woman will be slated and shamed if she should have sex before marriage or even be presumed to have had sex before marriage
- That not only will the woman be shamed but she will be emotionally blackmailed by the threat of shame to her family
- That the above only seems to apply to women, not to men’s sexual behaviour or activity before or even during marriage
- The ignorance of assuming a hymen’s intactness is total and undeniable proof of chastity
- Back to the first point, that the pre-marriage chastity of a woman even matters
I have no idea why a woman would want to fake her virginity. Not for herself, not for any man, not for her family, not for society or culture. The only reason why she may be forced to is through fear, manipulation and other control mechanisms. A major control mechanism in modern society, stretching back through the ages, is religion. The thought that our eternal soul and future hinges on our behaviour in the here and now, that we should obey a set of rules as laid out in whichever man-made, bound together bunch of documents that best serves the needs of those ruling in society at any one time.
The debate that religion is the opiate of the masses, and that there are those who require religion as a shield against the encroaching blackness that is death without afterlife, is one for another time.
I am not here to spark any arguments against any one religion or culture, it is the simple facts of making people feel like they have to fake anything in sex or a relationship that makes me mad. Whatever your beliefs, whatever your background, whatever your gender and sexuality and culture, how is faking or lying about your sexual history a great start (or middle) to any relationship? And why does that relationship necessarily have to be a legal or religious signed ceremony that we’ve taken to calling marriage?
There’s those who would play devil’s advocate and state that some cultures seek to deceive and fake such aspects of themselves as appearance. Fake tan, breast augmentation, cosmetic surgery and even the cheeky cleavage enhancing bras. I would counter that these superficial boosts to one’s appearance is a personal choice and those involved generally don’t go to such levels of deceit trying to hide them from marriage partners – or sex partners, friends, family or even other members of the public. Also, if it ‘gets out’ that the person, male or female, has cheekily boosted their appearance in some way, they will not be made a pariah in society nor will they be shamed, lose their chance of future relationships and their family will not be publicly humiliated and shamed either.
So now there is a market for fake hymens. A small strip within a foil wrapper designed to release a small amount of red liquid which looks like blood, so that a man (most likely a husband on a wedding night) will believe his partner/wife to be a virgin and that he has broken her ‘proof of virginity’, her hymen.
It makes me incredibly sad that such practices and deception and manipulation are going on even now, in 2014. This is unfortunately just one of many such injustices, as I see it. The whole sham-hymen debacle is sexist, unethical, impinging on our natural human desires and ultimately about the control of people who deserve to be free, unashamed and honest.
– Cara Sutra