Get to know your body through a better understanding of your anatomy and find the answers to some of your most common questions.
If you find yourself wondering if you’re a virgin or not, we’re here to tell you that only you can determine that for yourself. You are the one who defines what sex means to you, what your first time entails, and whether or not the term virginity works for you at all.
Spoiler alert: Virginity is a social construct and not a medical term. So let’s break it down and debunk it together.
The link between hymens and virginity is one of the oldest myths, even though medical institutions and doctors around the world have repeatedly refuted the accuracy of virginity tests.
You can trace almost every restriction put on women in our part of the world to the concept of virginity.
It's a word used to refer to a woman who's had no sexual relations, and it is mistakenly characterized as an intact hymen.
We repeat: Virginity is NOT a medical or scientific term, and your hymen is not an indication of your sexual activity.
The hymen is a remnant, elastic tissue inside the opening of the vagina that’s left over from how the vagina forms during embryonic development. The hymen doesn't serve any known or vital function for the body. The most common myth about it is that it remains “intact” until it’s broken during vaginal penetration. This, however, is inaccurate. Hymens don't just break; rather, they stretch due to their elasticity. Some women's hymens stretch due to physical activity, others don't tear at all during sex, and in very rare cases some women are born without one.
Hymens can tear during sex or they might rip a bit to make room for the penis, but they can also be elastic enough to handle vaginal intercourse without sustaining any damage. So, in many cases, while sex may alter the appearance of the hymen, it won’t make it disappear. You can read more about the hymen here, "8 Facts You Need to Know about the Hymen".
There's a long-standing tradition wherein women and girls are subjected, or even forced, to undergo virginity testing to assess their virtue, honor, or social value.
There is no such thing as an accurate "virginity test."
The World Health Organization even declared it illegal to perform virginity tests due to the fact that medical examinations cannot accurately reveal a woman's sexual activity.
The absurdity of virginity testing was illustrated in a study conducted on 36 pregnant teenagers. When doctors examined their hymens, they could find clear signs of penetration in only 2 out of 36 girls. If that’s not enough proof that hymens are no indication of virginity, then we have nothing else to say.
Source: Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl, “The Virginity Fraud,” Ted Talks, 2018
Furthermore, linking virginity to the hymen means defining sex as purely penis-in-vagina intercourse. However, just like sex means different things to different people, so does virginity.
It is something that only you can define for yourself based on your preferences and choice of sexual activity with your partner. For some, the first time they have sex doesn't necessarily include vaginal penetration but rather other forms of sexual activity, such as oral sex or non-penile vaginal penetration.
Although the concept of virginity holds significant cultural and social importance in Arab communities, it is crucial that we challenge the traditional narratives surrounding virginity to create a better world for women.