Virgin Or Not A Virgin - That Is The Question

By Paige Stewart

“Women are still mistrusted, shamed, harmed and in the worst cases, subjected to honour killings if they do not bleed on their wedding night.” 

Did you know that in our society, in 2018, there are still things like “virginity quick fixes” for women to ensure that they bleed on their wedding night? 

Women around the world are forced to undergo degrading examinations simply to get a job, get married, or even save their reputations. And just to be clear, this isn’t only in the Middle East or relatively oppressed areas. A friend of mine was shamed by her boyfriend for not bleeding when they had sex for the first time. “You’re obviously not a virgin. I can’t understand why you would lie to me”. She pleaded with him to believe her but he was steadfast in his beliefs. If only we all knew the truth. 

The hymen, an obscure skin fold on the inside of every woman’s vagina, probably known best as the proof of a woman’s virginity, as discovered by medical communities over one hundred years ago and made public by Nina Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl last year, is just that, an obscure skin fold on the inside of every woman’s vagina. It does not seal or cover the vaginal opening, it is a rim of tissue with a large central hole. Similar in looks and capability to that of a scrunchie. The hymen varies in shape and size from woman to woman, but to put it simply: it is NOT a seal that can be broken.

Instead, if not properly lubricated or stretched, it can tear and that is what causes bleeding in some women when they have sex for the first time. In 1906, a female Norwegian doctor examined a middle aged sex worker and found that her genitalia was reminiscent of a teenage virgin. 

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The insanity of virgin testing is clearly illustrated in another study conducted on 36 pregnant teenagers when doctors found clear signs of penetration in only 2 out of the 36 young ladies. It is impossible to tell if a girl is a virgin or not by examining her vagina. You may be wondering why nobody has made this knowledge public, the answer is simple: the society we are living in thrives on the sexual oppression of women. It needs to change, if not for the women already suffering, than for the young girls being brought up to think that their value is measured by the status of their hymens or for the boys who are being brought up to believe that a girl who’s had sex isn’t worth marrying. 

Ellen Støkken Dahl said, “as medical professionals, this is our contribution. We want every girl, parent, and coming husband to know what the hymen is and how it works. We want them to know that the hymen can’t be used as a proof of virginity. And that way, we can remove one of the most powerful tools used to control young women today. After telling you this, you may wonder what the alternative is. For if we can’t use the hymen as a proof of virginity for women then what should we use? We opt for using nothing. If you really want to know if a woman is a virgin or not, ask her.”