Virginity for Sale
Posted by shadmia on June 12, 2008
In many societies, and especially among Muslims, women are supposed to be virgins until the day they get married. This issue has come to the forefront in a case in France where a groom, on his wedding night, found out that his bride was not a virgin.
Upon discovering the truth he left the bedroom and reported to the wedding guests, who were still partying, that his bride had lied to him about being a virgin. That very night the bride was delivered to her parents’ doorstep and the next morning he consulted a lawyer about having the marriage annulled. The court granted him the annulment. This has prompted a furious debate in France, with the government requesting that the case be appealed against the wishes of the couple. For complete details click here.
If the unfortunate bride had only known that a simple 30-minute procedure called a hymenoplasty was available for about $2,900, she may well have saved her marriage and her honor. The procedure has become popular with an increasing number of Muslim women in Europe.
For a 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent from Montpellier, this procedure represented the key to a new life: the illusion of virginity.
“In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt,” said the student, perched on a hospital bed as she awaited surgery. “Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”
Hymenoplasty is the restoration of the hymen, the thin vaginal membrane that normally breaks during the first act of intercourse. Gynecologists report that in the past few years, more Muslim women are asking for certificates of virginity. That in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night.
“If you’re a Muslim woman growing up in more open societies in Europe, you can easily end up having sex before marriage,” said Dr. Hicham Mouallem, who is based in London and performs the operation. “So if you’re looking to marry a Muslim and don’t want to have problems, you’ll try to recapture your virginity.”
Even though the hymen can be ruptured by non-sexual means, an intact hymen is an indicator of virginity in many cultures.
The popularity of hymenoplasty is fueled by the reality of living in a secular society where sex before marriage is not uncommon and the traditional, cultural values that expect a bride to be a virgin. It is a way for young women who have hopes of being married to satisfy their partners and their families expectations. Those who perform the procedure say they are empowering patients by giving them a viable future and preventing them from being abused — or even killed — by their fathers or brothers.
In the case of the 23-year-old French student from Montpellier, she insists that she is still a virgin and discovered her hymen was torn only when she tried to obtain a certificate of virginity to present to her boyfriend and his family. She believes it may have been torn in an accident on a horse when she was 10 years old which caused some bleeding. However, the trauma from realizing that she could not prove her virginity was so intense, she said, that she quietly borrowed money to pay for the procedure.
“Who am I to judge?” asked Dr. Marc Abecassis, who restored the Montpellier student’s hymen. “I have colleagues in the United States whose patients do this as a Valentine’s present to their husbands. What I do is different. This is not for amusement. My patients don’t have a choice if they want to find serenity — and husbands.”
For those who would rather not go through the embarrassment or expense of seeing a plastic surgeon, there is an alternative. There is the “Jade Lady Membrane Man-Made Hymen” manufactured by Wan Li Hong Corporation in China. The contraption, as described on the Portland Mercury website, is:
“Basically a plug filled with powdered glue that seals the vagina in as little as 20 minutes prior to penile insertion. When the powders mix with female secretions, they not only create a puncture barrier, but also discharge a blood-like fluid to convince the most ‘jaded’ male vaginal conqueror.” Since penetration will be painless, users are encouraged to increase the product’s efficacy by “accompanying its rupture with the moans and groans that typically accompany the rupture of a real hymen.”