Hymens: The New Old Chastity Belts?

Illustration for article titled Hymens: The New Old Chastity Belts?

This post from Feministing last week notes that there's an abstinence logo out there comparing one's virginity (and, by extension, one's hymen) to a diamond. You may be saying to yourself, hymens are easy to break, and hence not at all diamond-like! Well, please, let me be perhaps the first to inform you of how very, very wrong you are, after the jump.


When I first started getting my period, being rather unfamiliar with my body, I went the pad route until my bff had a pool party and I simply had to use a tampon for the first time. Things seemed to be going relatively well, until I tried to pull it out. That part went much, much less well, and resulted in very uncomfortable car ride home (and then to the ER) with a tampon stuck half in and half out of my vadge. The doctor looked intently at my 15-year-old genitals, said, "Oh, isn't this interesting," moved something and slid it out. It had been caught on my hymen- which, unlike most hymens, had developed into a thick strand of tissue bisecting my vaginal opening (sorta like the accompanying picture!). My first gyno visit later, the doctor informed my mother and I that the best thing to do would be to have it surgically removed under general anesthesia, or wait until I had sex when it would "probably" break. My mother and I did not see eye-to-eye about my best option.

Two years of tampon use (and a growing familiarity with how to pull my hymen aside to extract it), 6 months of consistent sex-having and lots of stretching later, it finally broke. I bled like a stuck pig all over myself and my boyfriend, told my mother I broke the damn thing trying to use a super tampon from a friend and never looked back. Presumably because of all the stretching/practice, it didn't even hurt (or, it did but I was too busy having sex to notice).

My sister, on the other hand, was less lucky (and, yes, it apparently runs in the family). She had to have hers surgically removed under local anesthesia and a shitload of Valium at the age of 21 because no doctor could get a speculum in there, no boy could get a finger (or anything else) in there, and no tampon of any size could get in, let alone out, of there. It basically prevented her from having sex until she could get the surgery done to remove it (not an easy thing to convince a university health plan to cover, by the way). So, in my family, hymens were damn near the same thing as a chastity belt and, sometimes, as hard to break as a diamond, unless you got the angle and the, um, tool right. Maybe these abstinence kids do know something about their bodies after all?

Diamond Hymens: The New Bling [Feministing]



I am feeling a little squeamish with all this talk about blood and stuff. I think I was born hymen-less, b/c nothing like this ever happened, and I probably would've thrown up if it did.