Virginity is, by its definition, << the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. >> Socially, however, virginity is perceived differently, according to many beliefs and understandings that prove to be false.
When we talk about virginity, we also talk about hymen.
The hymen is the name of a membrane, which is a kind of lid, that would cover the entrance of the vagina and that would tear during sexual intercourse. It is important to know that hymen does not exist in reality. What actually exists is a fold of the membrane around the edges of the vaginal entrance, called the vaginal crown. The vaginal crown has a different aspect for different women and has no particular function.
Also, some women are born without hymen. Others tear their own without even knowing it: bike, horseback riding, gymnastics, tampon !
It should also be noted that bleeding during the “first time”, interpreted as proof of virginity, is actually an irritation of the highly irrigated vaginal tissues, which are not accustomed to this kind of “movement”.
Bleeding during a first penetration or simply during sexual intercourse can be explained by excessive movements or low lubrication. The first sexual intercourse, contrary to popular belief, is not supposed to be painful !
Virginity does not exist. It is a concept, a social construct. Also, virginity and the hymen in itself are both a patriarchal myth, guaranteeing the recognition of fatherhood. It is, however, in this sense that virginity was erected. Today, although mentalities have evolved, many beliefs persist.
I hope that after reading this article, you will be a little more advanced, a little more informed.
Let’s make some history, shall we ?
It was the Greeks who invented medical science by observing the human body. They discovered the presence of hymen in the girl’s body.
These doctors are Hippocrates recognized as the father of médicine ; Herophile, inventor of anatomy ; Soranos, who considered midwives as full caregivers ; Galien who multiplied dissections.
They all start from a postulate : the woman’s body is inferior to the man’s, it is dedicated to childbirth at the service of the male line and of the city. Feminine inferiority is based on Aristotle’s philosophy.
The medicine, which with Soranos speaks of hymen, advocates a prenuptial examination whose objective is to know the health of the bride-to-be. The Greeks invented the fetishism of virginity.
Monotheistic religions will not change anything and each will attribute its symbolic value.
The influence of religion
With the advent of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), virginity is transfigured and values several functions.
In the Jewish religion, virginity authenticates the sonship and purity of the progeny. In the family and social space, domination is strongly affirmed. The woman was created only for the man, for his happiness, his service and to assure him a progeny.
In Christianity, virginity is sublimed, it has an eminent value, morally and spiritually. It is as precious for men as it is for women. Christianity offers women continence, which will raise their soul to God. They will seize this opportunity to refuse marriage, reproductive function and dispose of their bodies. Widows are the first to take advantage of it and not accept to submit to a second marital yoke. Especially for those who proclaim themselves “the wives of Christ”.
In Islam, virginity is an essential component in relations between the two sexes, it symbolizes male domination in love relationships. Virginity has a symbolic value that resists contemporary desecration. Ancient Islamic texts justify male primacy. The religious order and the social order establish a hierarchy between human beings and man is at the top. Female virginity is an essential component of the difference between man and woman. It confirms and assures its domination.
Hymenoplasty or another proof of patriarchal domination
Hymenoplasty is a medical operation performed by a gynecologist or a plastic surgeon: it allows the definitive reconstitution of the torn hymen.
One of the techniques is to use the hymenal sequelae by inciting and suturing them side by side. The operation takes place under local anaesthesia sometimes accompanied by sedation. In theory, no trace is visible as a result of this procedure.
The purpose of this surgery is to give the woman a physical “virginity”. The operation can cost 200 to 3,500 euros… It is often requested by young women or their families, before marriage, in order to ensure their “virginity”.
Virginity is a myth and denial of LGBT+ relationships
Virginity is therefore a myth, a social and patriarchal construction, aimed at the domination and control of women’s bodies and sexuality.
In addition to all this, virginity comes to deny and devalue any other form of sexual intercourse. If you want to rely on its first definition, you are no longer a virgin when there is penetration of a penis in a vagina.
So what about women who masturbate with sex toys/fingers?
What about anal sex without vaginal penetration?
What about lesbian women? Do they remain “virgins” all their lives?
We have to deconstruct this concept. Virginity does not exist, it is proof of nothing at all. A person is a virgin when they have never had sexual intercourse or sexual experience, PERIOD.
When there is sexual play, foreplay (fingers, sex toys), anal intercourse, oral intercourse… can we really talk about virginity?
What about the pain ?
And then this myth of pain in the first penetration …
It is quite common for you to feel pain during a very first penetration. The muscles of the vagina are elastic, this explains in particular the fact that the women practicing masturbation (fingers, sextoys) feel practically no pain during the first penetration.
Furthermore, a woman who has not had sex for a long time will feel pain when she has one, because the muscles of her vagina will have remained inactive.
Extreme pain during its “first time” is not NORMAL. If you are relaxed. e, that your partner is gentle and attentive, that you are well lubricated, there will be no pain. Also, very few women bleed during their first sexual intercourse.
If you have any pain with each report, please feel free to talk to a professional.
Let’s not forget that in any sexual activity or intercourse, whether it’s penetration or not, you have to make sure that your partner’s CONSENT, that you CLEARLY COMMUNICATE what you love and what you don’t like, that you PROTECT yourself.
I also recommend you to follow my page on Instagram, @mypunaniandme. We are going to talk about women’s sexual liberation, sextoys, hygiene and everything related to women’s sexuality.
Written by Laura Hamka