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Ready for more fun?
It’s part 2 of the quiz to see how savvy you are with patriarchal myths re sex and sexuality. In my previous blog we tackled the first myth, that the egg cell passively accepts whichever sperm reaches it first.
Ready for the next one? Here you go:
True or false: The hymen is broken when a girl loses her virginity.
Yep. We’ve been taught that the hymen is some kind of freshness seal on the vaginal canal. Biologically, there’s no reason why such a thing should exist.
While there is some variation, the hymen does not seal off the vaginal canal, because that would prevent menstruation. (There are rare cases of girls who experience menstrual cramps without bleeding, and that medical condition, called an imperforate hymen, is treated with surgery.)
Located at the opening of the vagina, the hymen is an elastic layer of skin. It is usually donut shaped and prominent at the edge of the vaginal canal in newborns. It reduces over time. Meaning, the younger a girl is, the more tissue she has there. The older she is, the less tissue remains. By adolescence, most girls’ hymens are wide enough to allow for tampons and sex. (curious? Pictures here. Notice only #1 is normal.)
“Breaking” of the hymen is simply a misnomer. For most women, there’s nothing to break. The hymen expands and contracts. The hymen is not a predictor of virginity.
Blood and pain is probably because of lack of lubrication and sexual skill, leading to abrasion of the delicate skin. For many women, their readiness did not determine the moment when they were penetrated, or with what force – leading to blood and pain.
Where does patriarchy come in? The idea of a freshness seal is appealing – we sure like them on our food containers. In a culture sensitive to cuckolding, it’s nice to think there’s a way to guarantee your mate has never mated before.
Also, if everyone expects blood and pain, it absolves the man from any wrong doing. He can have a young bride, rough sex, or skip the foreplay. He doesn’t have to be considerate of her needs.
Because they expect blood and pain, girls and women may not require their partners to be gentle, to use extra lubrication, or to engage in adequate foreplay. If she’s learning to buck up and take it the first time, it sets an unhealthy foundation for this relationship and beyond.
That’s what we need to change.
How does it feel to read this? What changes inside you? Please comment below!
Look for myth #3 in your inbox soon!
In support of you,
P.S. Happy fall! School has started for many, and parent groups everywhere are planning their events for the year. I’ve got a bunch of presentations lined up already, and if you’d like me to present for your community, I’d be delighted! Click here.