Our idea of “the hymen” is embedded in our mind as an obstruction that eventually ruptures when you have intercourse. Not only is that inaccurate, but it is also ignorant of how the woman’s anatomy works. We have all grown with the idea of “hymen as the proof of virginity” but guess what; it’s not even close to how it works. If you have been believing the same misconception that virgins bleed, you have landed on the right page. Let’s bust some common myths about the hymen, shall we?
Health Shots spoke to Dr Mridula Raghav, consultant obstetrician, gynecologist, and infertility specialist, to understand how the hymen works.
How does the hymen work?
Explaining how the hymen workds, the expert explains that it forms in the female body during the fetal stage. “The hymen is basically like a covering that surrounds the vaginal opening. The vagina is initially a solid tube-like structure which when goes in development becomes a hollow tube with a hymen as remaining tissue around the opening,” explains Dr Raghav.
Hymen does not define a woman’s integrity!
While the hymen has long been associated with virginity, the expert refutes the idea of reducing a woman’s right to sexuality to a bare minimum. She avers that there are many possibilities of the hymen.
“It can be like how it was at birth, a ring-like continuous tissue around the vaginal opening, a completely closed hymen called the imperforate hymen. It is a medical condition, which presents itself with no periods and cyclical pain in the abdomen and a torn hymen.The presence of a hymen doesn’t aid any help in a female body, it has no role or function,” avers Dr Raghav.
The world has been too judgemental about deciding the virginity of a woman by the integrity of the hymen. It’s a big myth that virgin women have an intact hymen.
Further busting the belief, she adds that hymen can get torn while doing day-to-day activities like running, jumping, dancing, exercising, and yes, sexual intercourse. While there is a possibility of slight bleeding during your first intercourse, not every woman experiences this. Hence the integrity of the hymen shouldn’t be defining the virginity of a woman.
Virginity tests are bizarre!
Did you know that the judiciary of India recently ruled out the use of two finger test or the hymen test? Dr Raghav asserts that it is test used by medical professionals to evaluate the possibility of intercourse in rape case victims, which was a landmark decision. As many as 20 countries have been said to be practicing virginity tests where a woman’s hymen is examined for its intactness.
She adds that even little girls are subjected to a procedure called hymenoplasty to force repair their hymen and make them eligible to get married in many places in the country.
“In today’s world, women don’t deserve to be decided about their virginity by anything, sexual intimacy is a choice, and the integrity of the hymen which is technically not even a reality stands no place. To believe or not the presence or absence of a hymen has no relation with a woman’s virginity take it from me, a practicing gynecologist,” she concludes.