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The Hymen: A Membrane Widely Misunderstood And How It Is Affecting The Women In Our Society

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A few days ago, I ended up discussing the taboo topic of virginity test on the first night of marriage. Often in Pakistani culture, it is believed that breaking of the hymen and consequently bleeding after first sexual intercourse means that girl has protected her dignity for her husband. Women from the groom’s family gather outside the newly married couple’s room. They are made to have intercourse on a white cloth which is then shown off to relatives as a pride and evidence for a virgin daughter-in-law.

In some tradition, a girl has to undergo the procedure to virginity testing before marriage which is not only a medically unsafe procedure but also an act of humiliation. In the western society where premarital sex is a norm, it may not be a surprising fact that Muslim women in Europe have been requesting hymen reconstructive surgery. Such pressure of keeping one’s virginity may also compel the young girls to have oral or anal sex which has a higher risk of being HIV infected if the partner is HIV positive.

Source: Human Rights Watch

So, what is this hymen? A hymen is a bloodless membrane which is ruptured during a sexual intercourse. However, it is not necessary to bleed during this process as it can stretch despite penal insertion. It could also, very well be that bleeding may not be detectable as the blood may end up mixing with the ejaculated semen and faineant the color. Hymen could be ruptured during other physical activities such as cycling or gymnastics and it is also possible to fall pregnant with an intact hymen.

Intact hymen or bleeding after an intercourse is not a proof of virginity and it is a human rights violation. It is not necessary to bleed on the wedding night either. Would we please stand up against such practices and teach our sons and daughters some basic biology to eliminate such myths?


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