December 11, 2009
Hymen renamed ‘vaginal corona’ by Swedish health group
There’s no such thing as ‘breaking your hymen’ through first-time sex, using a tampon or horse-riding, according to a new myth-busting booklet about hymens produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education.
One of the key messages of the booklet ‘Vaginal corona: myths surrounding virginity – your questions answered’ is that the hymen is not a brittle membrane across the vaginal opening which can be broken – and so it makes no sense to use it as proof of loss of virginity.
The hymen is a set of elastic folds of mucous tissue, located 1-2 cm inside the vaginal opening.
The first time the hymen is stretched – whether by a tampon, through penetrative sex or masturbation – there might be some pain, and minor ruptures in the mucous folds may lead to a little bleeding. However, fewer than half of women experience pain or bleeding the first time they have penetrative sex. Some women experience pain and/or bleeding even if they have had penetrative sex many times before.
As well as debunking myths about the hymen, the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education want to rename it ‘vaginal corona’ as the word ‘hymen’ comes from the Greek word for ‘membrane’, which is an inaccurate description.
“When we introduced a new term for the hymen in Swedish, ‘slidkrans’, many people commented that it was good to finally have a word that accurately described this body part,” said Åsa Regnér, secretary general for the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education.
“The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman’s body throughout her life,” added Regnér. “It doesn’t disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don’t bleed the first time.
“The myths surrounding the hymen were created to control women’s freedom and sexuality. The only way to counteract this is by disseminating knowledge.”
The booklet ‘Vaginal corona: myths surrounding virginity – your questions answered’ is available to download in English, Arabic and Sorani from the website RFSU. Alternatively, click here to download the English version of ‘Vaginal corona: myths surrounding virginity – your questions answered’ (link opens as .pdf file)
[via The F Word]
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