Should We Be Doing Virginity Checks?

Alternative medicine battle of the sexes Child Health gender equity Healthy Sexual Attitude Reproductive Rights society and health Virginity Check Virginity test women's health Womens Rights

I spent all of Friday making the video below after hearing rapper T.I. say he had accompanied his daughter now 18 years on each birthday to a gynecologist to check if she is still a virgin. I have heard so much ignorant comments on this subject that I had to make this 6 minute long video to dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding the hymen as well as the dangers virginity checks have on women everywhere in the world.

Illustrations of vagina showing different state of the hymen

For those who don’t have time to watch it, here are the main points:

  1. The hymen’s biological purpose is not known in certainty, but it is believed to protect the adolescent vagina from infection.
  2. Once a woman hits puberty, her hymen will naturally start to change shape, allowing painless access to the vagina. This happens regardless of whether or not she’s sexually active.
  3. Virgins with torn hymens aren’t uncommon. As are sexually active women with intact hymens. A study found that 52% of young girls who have had penetrative sex still had intact hymens. Some may ask why? Because the hymen has nothing to do with sex.
  4. The hymen doesn’t have many veins or nerve endings. The blood from first-time sex is often the result of rough sex not a torn hymen. Similarly, 2/3 of women reported not feeling pain the first time they had penetrative sex. Admittedly, I didn’t cover this topic super heavily in the video because it seemed a bit of a tangent from the main topic at hand. More information can be found in an article published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
  5. A study on American OB GYNs found that 10% of the surveyed 288 doctors had received a request to perform a virginity test. One third of those 10% ended up performing the virginity test despite there being no medical basis behind these tests.
  6. The issue of virginity testing is a systemic one.

In October, 2018, the U.N. released a statement backed by the World Health Organization saying that virginity testing constituted as violence against women and must be stopped.

Virginity tests have been likened to torture. Details on this bit are in the video, I don’t much want to type out the specifics.

And that’s the gist of it!

Click the link below to watch the 6 minute video

YouTube ended up demonetizing the video for not being “advertiser friendly”. But the good news about that is that it took at least 21 people from YouTube (as the creator, I can see how many people viewed the video before it was made public) to watch the video before determining it wasn’t “family friendly”.

So even though YouTube can’t endorse videos on serious issues like this, it appears that they at least understand its importance.

Let me know what you think! And the next time you hear someone talking about how a woman’s hymen can be used as a sexual indicator, please consider educating them. The best way to end this systemic torture of women all around the world is through education. You can send over my video, but there are also a lot of really good books and articles written on the issue.

Feature photo: “Maidenliness at its best” by NotMicroButSoft (Fallen in Love with Ghizar, GB) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This is a repost from a youtube user who blogs using the You Tube username: 87 Seconds

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A physician providing primary medical care to patients across the lifespan