Artificial Virginity

The shit first hit the fan when Radio Netherlands aired an Arabic ad for Chinese online sex toy company Gigimo’s new product, the Artificial Hymen.

The product, made of non-toxic and water-soluble albumins, inserts into the vagina and apparently increases tightness. At intercourse, a small sac of fake blood bursts, for visible proof of virginity. The shit first hit the fan when Radio Netherlands aired an Arabic ad for Chinese online sex toy company Gigimo’s new product, the Artificial Hymen.

The Egyptian government not only wants to ban the product, but also to exile anyone who spends the $30 USD for the purposes of bleeding on on their wedding night. And, while I’m disgusted that the state of a woman’s hymen is anybody’s business but her own, this little invention could save lives both figuratively and literally – as long as no one finds out.

After hearing about the product, leading Egyptian religious scholar Abdel Moati Bayoumi said, "This product encourages illicit sexual relations. Islamic culture forbids these relations except within the confines of marriage," and encouraged the government to punish anyone caught with the product.

Muslim feminist Marwa Rakha praises the product, saying, "It sticks it in the face of every male hypocrite," claiming that men having premarital sex is ignored.

It all seems to come down to the blood. Some women don’t bleed at all when they lose their virginity, as the hymen can be broken during sports like horseback riding, putting in a tampon, or, as the Gigimo website so inexplicably suggests, “Childhood accident (Hard object).” Not all hymens are created equal, some being extremely delicate and others thick (And, unfortunately, the thicker the hymen the more painful breaking it is). But, if the blood isn't present then the woman in question wasn't a virgin, dictates common belief. Rather, if blood is present than you can be sure that your new bride's a virgin - unless she's faked it.

Faking virginity isn’t new, especially when it’s considered so valuable in some faiths. Hell, not so much valuable as intrinsic to quality of life. In France, the government is appealing the decision to let a man annul his marriage because his new wife did not bleed on their wedding night (He even raced down immediately after the deed to loudly announce this in the midst of the wedding reception that was still going on, because he’s classy like that).

The new bride wants the case dropped because of the shame the attention has brought her, but it could be much, much worse; honour killings are still common in some countries, Egypt being one of them. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that many people are murdered by family for dishonouring them in some way. Usually this is linked to sexuality, whether it's being gay or having premarital sex.

Virginity isn't just about purity - its fetishism is about losing that purity. There's a subset of porn known as defloration porn. They feature young-looking women who can't be more than 18 or 19 but usually look about 16 or so, grimacing and groaning with the grand denouement - or climax, for many - of trickles of blood between her legs. It's the blood that proves her purity and her step into womanhood. But again, it isn't about purity - it's about marking your territory, being a woman's first.

There are half a dozen ways I can think of to fake your virginity. You can tighten the PC muscles at intercourse and cry out, and shortly thereafter make a small cut with a razor to produce blood. Or, use a vial of blood. Another option is bribing a doctor to certify that your hymen is intact.

Yet more women have had their hymens surgically restored by plastic surgeons, in a procedure called Hymenorrhaphy. It’s not just those who want to hide the fact that they’ve had sex before – there are those who want to reclaim their virginity, such as victims of sexual assault (France reimburses a portion of the surgery cost if this is the case), or even to spice up a relationship (though definitely not a relationship of mine). The surgery’s growing in popularity all over the world, including Egypt, where it’s illegal. The price is also exorbitant, at about $5000, and is way out of the reach of the majority of women.

Which makes the Artificial Hymen so obvious. Now,  for $30, anyone can bleed on their wedding night.


Exploring the canals and protrusions of
sexual culture, Megan has been sharing
her experiences and offering advice to the
Capilano Courier for two years.

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