- What is virginity all about?
There is no single way to define virginity. There are many different views on who is considered a virgin. To start with, when we talk about virgins, we mostly mean women. Virginity in men isn't very important in many societies. Most of the time, people believe that women who have never had vaginal sex are virgins. To others, even having had genital contact, or oral or anal sex, means that they are no longer virgins.
The ancient Romans and Greeks believed that virgins were independent of men, which was a good thing to them. Only later did this change to a woman being 'unspoiled' and upholding a family's honour if she got married a virgin. Also, because birth control methods were either unavailable or working badly, staying a virgin meant avoiding to get pregnant outside of marriage.
- The hymen
The hymen is the holy grail of virginity. It's a very fragile piece of skin at the entrance of the vagina. It's part of the vulva and outside the vagina, not deep within. The hymen is very elastic, so sometimes vaginal sex or even giving birth won't make it tear. And in some women, it tears without sex, for example during a fall or by stretching.
It doesn't take force to break the hymen. In fact, being gentle when having sex for the first time can make the experience more pleasant and avoids pain.
It also is a common misconception that a woman bleeds when the hymen is torn. This isn't always the case. So if there isn't any blood when a woman has sex for the first time, it's doesn't mean that she isn't a virgin.
Lastly, even very experienced doctors aren't able to tell for certain whether or not a woman is a virgin, so virginity testing is not at all reliable. There's only one way to find out if a woman is a virgin: asking her and believing her answer.
A short, snappy video about virginity and the hymen:
This big word means restoring the hymen in women who no longer have an intact hymen. In a surgery, the edges of the hymen are pulled back together, so that it looks like the woman hasn't had vaginal sex or her hymen torn in any other way. It takes about 30 minutes and is done with local anesthesia only, which makes it a pretty safe procedure. Usually, you won't be able to see any scars around the hymen. The procedure isn't cheap though, depending on where you are.
- Womb fury
A few hundred years ago, doctors thought that having a hymen would give women diseases, such as so-called 'womb-fury'. They thought women would get hysteric if they had a hymen. They also thought that if untreated, these diseases could kill you. The cure for womb fury was marriage and hence sex, because sex would tear the hymen and the woman would be healed.
- Virginity – a risk to women?
Many people who believe in virginity to be a virtue say that virginity protects women and girls. But unfortunately, putting such a high value on virginity puts girls and women at risk of violence, abuse and assault by those who think a woman’s worth is connected to her sexual behavior. In many conservative parts of the world, for example, raping a girl to lower her dowry or to punish her family is rather common.
Also, in order to 'protect' women and girls from having sex, methods like female genital cutting are used, putting them at high risk of life-long health issues and even death.
For an updated version of this article click here - Virginity - Top Facts
How important do you think virginity is for a woman? And for a man? Leave a comment below or on Facebook.