Debunking the Myth of Virginity

Have you hesitated in using a tampon or menstrual cup, believing that it will tamper with your virginity? Or have you ever had to undergo something as horrible as a virginity test? In both cases, what we like to say is that virginity is not something that is determined by the condition of your hymen. Virginity is just a state where you have never had sex before.

There is this wrong belief that the hymen is like a layer of skin that covers the entire entrance to the vagina. However, that is not the truth. Hymens come in all shapes and sizes, usually with one or many holes in them. It is an elastic membrane that is like a scrunchie or a rubber band that exists on the outside rim of the vaginal hole. It could be in a doughnut shape, or a half-moon shape or have flaps, no flaps, anything.

The type of hymen with ‘no holes’ is very rare and if it is there, it would stop the girl or woman from menstruating. And since it is a delicate layer of skin, the chances are that it broke in childhood itself during running, cycling, or even dancing.

The other myth about virginity is that the hymen will ‘break’ and bleed at the first vaginal intercourse, and will disappear. This is the biggest lie that has been propagated for centuries. We have already established that hymen is not like a membrane covering the entire opening of the vagina. Also, it is elastic. So, the chance of it breaking to produce blood is very less. Even if it tears during sex, it may not produce blood since the hymen does not have many blood vessels. Some women’s hymens may stay intact and retain their original shape even after years of intercourse.

But still, many girls are subjected to humiliation, violence and even honor killing if they don’t bleed on their first night. Women are subjected to virginity tests that examine the state of the hymen to determine whether they are virgins or not. These horrific and barbaric tests actually have no scientific ground. Since hymens come in all shapes and sizes, it is actually almost impossible to determine if a woman has had sexual intercourse by looking at the state of the hymen.

Making someone undergo a virginity test is not just inhuman, but illegal too. It is a clear violation of Article 21 of the Indian Penal Code – The Protection of Life and Personal Liberty. But the sad truth is that these tests are still going on and even being done by medical professionals.

Virginity is not determined by the state of your hymen. Whatever shape your hymen has, or if it has small tears or not, it has nothing to do with your virginity. So, the truth is that like there are no physical signs to know if a man is a virgin or not, there is no way to know if a woman is a virgin or not.

Women’s sexuality has been suppressed for centuries in the name of this fake myth over hymen and virginity. We are living in a world where a woman’s ‘purity’ would determine the honor of a family, religion, and country. But there is no need to associate the word ‘purity’ with a woman. And a woman’s body need not have any purity that a man’s body does not have. It is high time that we liberate women from the state of their hymen and not ask them for their purity.

Article written by

-Poorna Krishnan

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