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101 Responses

  1. miga
    miga June 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    If you want to show how tender and caring and respectful he is–even for a privateer who kidnapped her for ransom and revenge on her father for taking everything that was precious to him and leaving him with nothing but this scar and a heart full of bitterness, but who now has fallen in love with her despite his efforts to stay distant and cold–have him start with lots and lots of oral sex and a goodly amount of lubrication. It’s not hearts and flowers, really, but your Innocent Maiden will thank you for it.

    Oh god, I think I’ve read that one. He also “cures” her of her attempted rape PTSD by basically raping her himself. Classy novel, that one.

  2. yes
    yes June 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm |

    “Or he gets to a certain point insider her and then has to stop and ask her if she’s okay and strokes her hair off her forehead until she assures him she really does want to do this, and then he busts through her maidenhead like the Kool-Aid Man, and she’s ouchy for a bit and then ends up coming rainbows by the time he’s finished.”

    *hands you a tiny trophy of a tipped over office chair*

  3. ColoradoSal
    ColoradoSal June 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

    *dies laughing*

    Thank you for this. As someone who edits and proofreads erotica for a US publisher, I can’t tell you how many things I’ve seen that have made me want to smack my head against a wall.

    The stupidity goes well beyond the hymen issue, sadly. I think one of the craziest things I ever commented to an author about was the use of honey for lube. I couldn’t even finish my cup of tea that morning.

  4. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm |

    Yes!

    And where are any books that have my experience?

    You know, the one where it hurts like hell and you would really like to stop but can’t manage anything but squeaks, and then you become hyper focused on the fact that your hands seem to have frozen into claws and ohmygod you can’t move your fingers then it’s over and you’re left with the what the FUCK was THAT about feeling.

    And then you’re later informed by your best friend (who knew what was going on and what you were doing but remained silent even though her knowledge MIGHT have had you pick a different first time partner) that she’s viewed the appendage of your first time and it’s abnormally large.

    My first time was one of many lessons in how throwing caution to the wind and trying something to see what the big deal is will bite you square in the ass.

    You’d think I’d have learned by now.

  5. Tigerlilies
    Tigerlilies June 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm |

    I first read about this when Sarah Woolley wrote about it at xojane.com and find it fascinating that it’s a myth going strong and that hymens are a permanent thingie

    http://www.xojane.com/sex/broken-hymens

  6. EG
    EG June 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    I never had one, as far as I can tell. Alas, I am an incomplete woman.

  7. shfree
    shfree June 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    EG I don’t think I had one either, and when I did first have sex, I worried that my then boyfriend might have thought I was lying when I said I was a virgin because I didn’t bleed after sex.

  8. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |

    I never had one, as far as I can tell. Alas, I am an incomplete woman.

    Horse riding, riding bikes, running can all do the “deflowering ” job when you’re a kid. Basically, being a kid can do it. And you’ll never know it.

  9. William
    William June 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    The school I work for appears to block Scarletteen…

  10. anna
    anna June 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |

    “While many see PIV sex as the exclusive puncher of one’s v-card, virginity is purely a societal construct and thus lacks any real, objective signifier.”

    Thank you so much for this.

    I am SO fucking (pun intended) sick of the idea that sex equals a penis ramming into a vagina until the penis has an orgasm, with foreplay, clitoris stimulation and female orgasm just optional little extras. And the idea that her first time SHOULD be bloody and painful – ugh.

    For the record, as Scarleteen points out, some women do have a “resilient” hymen: a hymen that has a tough time wearing away or, more rarely, not even having those openings needed for menses and vaginal fluids to be released. Women with a resilient hymen who try and have vaginal sex will often find that it’s painful, or that vaginal sex just “won’t work.” Those women may need to have a simple outpatient surgical procedure, called a hymenectomy — to remove that hymenal tissue.

  11. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    1) If you had asked my school’s Sex Ed teacher “What’s a vulva?” she would have pointed to her car.

    Tigerlilies- you owe me a coke. This is your link made me spit/snort out my drink and wheeze for a few good minutes.

    2) Until an alarmingly late age, I did not know about erections and I assumed that coitus occurred after the man had succeeded in stuffing his limp member away, like a magician vanishing a string of hankies into his fist.

    *more wheezing*

    Lose Your Virginity to a Boy with a Really Small Willy. No matter how aroused, few women want a challenge the first time. An alarming visual can make the hardiest of us tense up. So, if his manhood looks like a baby mouse weeping, you’ve found your man

    Once again, information that would have been handy to have a very long time ago.

  12. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    some women do have a “resilient” hymen:

    Mine certainly tried her little heart out.

  13. Grace
    Grace June 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |

    ….pheenobarbidoll?

    That is EXACTLY the experience I had. EXACTLY.

    @William: That’s…not unexpected? But also really depressing. I wish I’d known about Scarleteen when I was a teen.

  14. Megan
    Megan June 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    then he busts through her maidenhead like the Kool-Aid Man, and she’s ouchy for a bit and then ends up coming rainbows by the time he’s finished.

    You have given me two very important gifts here: something to laugh at during bad sex scenes, and something to laugh at during Kool-Aid commercials.

  15. librarygoose
    librarygoose June 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    Basically, being a kid can do it. And you’ll never know it.

    I knew it. I fell on some monkey bars and man did I feel it, I had to hobble my way to the nurse.

  16. Seraph
    Seraph June 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm |

    I think one of the craziest things I ever commented to an author about was the use of honey for lube.

    Okay, I don’t even have a vagina and that’s making me itch. Yeast-a-riffic.

    But even if you don’t consider that, how hard is it to make the connection “honey=sticky, not slippery”?

  17. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

    I knew it. I fell on some monkey bars and man did I feel it, I had to hobble my way to the nurse.

    This really makes me feel better about breaking my wrist during an attempt at a penny drop off those damn monkey bars.

    I only had to go to the nurse screaming I broke my wrist!!

  18. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

    ….pheenobarbidoll?

    That is EXACTLY the experience I had. EXACTLY.

    Did you get the weird frozen claw hand thing??

    To this day I have no damn idea what that was about.

    I can see it like it just happened. Staring at my claw hands over his shoulder and the dawning horror of not being able to unclaw them.

  19. librarygoose
    librarygoose June 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    @ Pheeno,

    It was one of the times being the youngest was a good thing, I knew why I was bleeding and that I was not dying of internal trauma.

  20. AnguaVonUberwald
    AnguaVonUberwald June 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm |

    While many see PIV sex as the exclusive puncher of one’s v-card, virginity is purely a societal construct and thus lacks any real, objective signifier.

    Not just PIV though- I remember that there was this conflation of the hymen as virginity, at least when I was in high school- you could lose your virginity with a tampon, blah blah blah.
    I broke my hymen with a vibrator, on advice from an older, wiser friend who I was lucky to have- I was stressed out because I wanted to have sex with this boy but what if it hurt and I was nervous and what do I do? When she advised me, another girl said, “But do you really want to lose your virginity to a vibrator?” Older, wiser girl looked at her, called her a dumbfuck, and took me to purchase a vibrator.
    I should look her up and thank her.

  21. Lauren M
    Lauren M June 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

    Too much funny for looking like a non crazy on the bus! Romance novelists wouldn’t dare have anyone find out about virginity losing experiences like mine, either. I tried so hard to convince my first few boyfriends to just do it, to no avail. I tried all the lines the guy is supposedly going to try on the girl but their purity remained intact. Popular media told me they would be more than happy to deflower me. Please tell me I am not the only tramp out there who dumped her first boyfriend because she couldn’t get laid!

  22. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Please tell me I am not the only tramp out there who dumped her first boyfriend because she couldn’t get laid!

    Well, I used the guy I lost my virginity to so technically no, you’re not alone. He was convenient and willing. Had he not have been, I would have left the bedroom and found myself a more suitable experiment.

  23. AnguaVonUberwald
    AnguaVonUberwald June 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm |

    Lauren- you’re not. I dumped the first guy I dated with because I really really wanted to and he “just wanted to make sure that I was ready.” It was… frustrating.

  24. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date June 29, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    the breaching of the tollbooth halfway down Ladycavern Turnpike

    I wish I could write like that.

  25. ellestar
    ellestar June 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm |

    This was fantastic. As a fanfic writer/reader, I see a lot of the issues that romance novels have replicated in fanfiction. Most of the time, they’re good for a laugh at the anatomy!fail.

    I will say, though, that reading bad porny fanfic did lead me to believe my first go at PIV would be painful and bloody. I was prepared for that. However, I was not prepared for absolutely nothing happening. No pain. No blood. Apparently, no broken hymen. In fact, my exact though at the moment of penetration was, “That’s all?! How… disappointing.” I was prepared for a life-altering moment. What I got was, “meh.”

    What I would love to see is some realistic losing virginity scenes where one partner leans on the other’s hair and then someone get’s a cramp. This could be followed by losing an erection, the tediousness of trying again, followed by laughter (happy, not teasing), and no orgasms by either partner. “First times” are always so serious and orgasmic and I miss the actual fun and grossness involved in two people learning to have sex with one another.

  26. Grace
    Grace June 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm |

    @pheenobarbidoll–The claw hands, the pain, the friend, the obnoxiously large appendage…yep.

    On the bright side of the original topic, if anyone’s interested in YA with accurate, non-horrifying sexy bits, Tamora Pierce, Kristin Cashore, Cory Doctorow, and Kody Keplinger are all great for that.

    What I would love to see is some realistic losing virginity scenes where one partner leans on the other’s hair and then someone get’s a cramp. This could be followed by losing an erection, the tediousness of trying again, followed by laughter (happy, not teasing), and no orgasms by either partner. “First times” are always so serious and orgasmic and I miss the actual fun and grossness involved in two people learning to have sex with one another.

    YES.

  27. MinervaB
    MinervaB June 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    I’m really, really glad I had sex before my mom got around to having the serious “sex talk” with me, which she waited until college to do. I finally had a serious boyfriend and I was no longer under her roof, so she wanted to scare me out of even considering having sex. She told me she bled so much her first time that she ruined the guy’s mattress and mine would likely be the same. Nope! No blood at all. It was really hard not to laugh. I’d already bought sex toys and used them, which made my first time with a rather large man go much smoother than it could have – I felt a bit stretched, but no blood or pain or any of that.

  28. Tomek Kulesza
    Tomek Kulesza June 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm |

    Is the hymen even getting damaged/broken/whatever (barring the occasional imperforate one) at all? Scarleteen interview/corona links give an impression that it basically doesn’t happen.

  29. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb June 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    Ah, glad to know I’m not the only woman out there who never had a hymen (no, it, didn’t break in childhood– trust me, I was not shy as a child at checking things out).

    On top of that the only guy I ever had sex with had a small penis, so I really didn’t feel much the first time we had piv sex. But I wanted to be nice, so my “first time” was me trying like hell to make it seem like I was enjoying myself. Most boring 20 minutes of my life.

  30. Donna L
    Donna L June 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    I, of course, have never had a hymen either; there wouldn’t be much point to a GRS surgeon’s adding one, given the fact that after having such surgery it’s necessary to dilate regularly to prevent everything closing up. (Not that I’ve bothered in a while — there never seems to be time, and I always fall asleep within a few minutes anyway, which kind of defeats the purpose.) So, a hymen is not something I need to be concerned with should I ever have sex again. (I do wonder, though: if I ever do, would that count as losing my virginity a second time? I kind of think it would, given the great difference.)

  31. siveambrai
    siveambrai June 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |

    @Tomek Kulesza Nope! Assuming that the women is enjoying herself and not tense and dry there shouldn’t be any damage. Remember this is the same organ that dilates to watermelon scale to pass a baby’s skull.

    Now if she is tense and dry there is the chance of abrasions and some blood as the tissue tears and it will probably be painful. Ideally, neither of these should be true (or the dryness should be compensated for with lube). But that’s true of any woman regardless of how much sex she has or hasn’t had.

    I remember being really ashamed in highschool because I didn’t have a hymen due to accidentally sitting on a toy as a toddler. It’s so screwy now that I think of it but at the time it was a big deal.

  32. Donna L
    Donna L June 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm |

    (PS: In case anyone thinks I shouldn’t be commenting in this thread, the references were to “women” and “female bodies,” and weren’t specifically limited to cis women. Therefore, there are plenty of women who never had hymens. And yes, I know from other threads that there are those who find it “tiresome” to be reminded about this kind of thing, but so be it. )

  33. EG
    EG June 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

    Of course you should be commenting! It never crossed my mind that your experiences didn’t belong here.

    Also, I think it would count as losing your virginity a second time, if you want it to. After all, it would be an experience that you’d not had before.

  34. librarygoose
    librarygoose June 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm |

    @Donna

    I would think you’d be losing your virgnity. Obviously my opinion means little, but I would see it as the same sort of idea.

  35. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb June 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm |

    @Donna–
    I think you’d be able to call it a second virginity, it would be a “first time.” Who is to tell you what “counts” or doesn’t “count” in your sex life?
    It does kind of emphasize how silly our society’s emphasis on “virginity” is, and what sex acts “count” and “don’t count.” My son’s father claims he’s the only person I ever had sex with, since all the girls I had orgasms with don’t “count” as sex. Then there are some women who don’t consider lesbian sex to “count” in cheating on their male partners, or in having orgasms with another human being that isn’t a man, since piv = sex, and everything else is not sex. And then there are girls who swear up and down they lost their virginity to a tampon/vibrator/carrot.
    My personal policy is that, for me, bad sex doesn’t “count” :P

  36. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb June 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

    Not to say that it’s silly to view one’s first time post-op as losing one’s virginity… Sex is more/less meaningful to different people, and our views of sex and virginity (should) have more importance to us individually than to society.

  37. Tomek Kulesza
    Tomek Kulesza June 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm |

    Sivambrai,

    Nope! Assuming that the women is enjoying herself and not tense and dry there shouldn’t be any damage. Remember this is the same organ that dilates to watermelon scale to pass a baby’s skull. (…)

    Okay, i was a bit confused since i read the links first and then the commenters talking about breaking their hymens. But since it’s a coronal mucous tissue, even ‘breaking it’ would be rather unimpressive, like damaging a small part of it, and could happen repeatedly, right?

    Donna,

    I do wonder, though: if I ever do, would that count as losing my virginity a second time?

    Well, i guess that depends on what would you prefer…

    Also, that’s the first time i encountered word ‘virginologist’.

  38. Donna L
    Donna L June 29, 2012 at 3:57 pm |

    Thanks. With apologies for continuing the digression, I understand that it’s really just a question of semantics; the experience would be what it would be regardless of what word I applied to it. Whether or not any such experience involved penetration. Of course, the same is true of all “lost virginity” discussions! But I would view it as such, not entirely in a jokey way (as in “ha, ha, I guess I lost my virginity again”), because it would be such a very different experience — not least because it would be the first time I ever had sex in a body that actually felt like it was mine, in the sense of being the “right” one. (The insecurities I seemingly share with most women about my body falling short of societal standards, as well as because of being over 50, are very real, but are different in degree as well as in kind from the dysphoria I used to have, which usually made me feel, among other things, very removed and distanced from whatever physical experience I was having.)

  39. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    But since it’s a coronal mucous tissue, even ‘breaking it’ would be rather unimpressive, like damaging a small part of it, and could happen repeatedly, right?

    Felt pretty fucking impressive. Gave me monkey claw hands for 20 minutes.

  40. moomoodlove
    moomoodlove June 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

    The hymen doesn’t “break” so much as it stretches; the bleeding is due to force and/or tears and abrasions. This video by Laci Green (love her!) is really helpful at explaining the anatomy of the hymen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qFojO8WkpA

  41. Unree
    Unree June 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm |

    Donna L, it’s not my call (DUH!) but I would vote no. Unless you consider yourself a virgin now, in which case I’d change my answer to yes.

    Hanne Blank’s book (“Virgin”) is really interesting, also amazingly well researched.

  42. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb June 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    @pheeno–
    I feel like I need to include that in my version of “the talk” with my son when he’s older. “yes means yes” “foreplay” “wrap it up” and “monkeyclaws mean STOP!” (actually, that will fall under the “unresponsive/frozen or tensed up partner means STOP” section of “the talk,” but it’s definitely noteworthy)

  43. Jenna
    Jenna June 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    My dad took me to get birth control pills to control my horrible heavy painful periods in high school. It was him, not mom, because mom had passed away a few years previous.

    I recall that in addition to the birth control pills, dad told a story about his honeymoon with mom, and how…um…difficult things were…and could the doctor maybe do something about or remove my hymen perhaps? He didn’t think I needed to go through that pain and awkwardness.

    Now, the doctor didn’t bother asking me; he just said no.

    However, since I was in the room for this rather awkward but well meant request, I was therefore not surprised when my hymen proved sturdy and somewhat frustrating when I found a guy to do PIV sex with. I ended up on top of my boyfriend, straddling him, and therefore in control of things. I think this reassured my boyfriend AND me….

    But, it wasn’t easy, took some effort, resulted in a slight amount of blood, and I was happy to be done with THAT. Better sex came later.

  44. MinervaB
    MinervaB June 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    @Tomek Kulesza

    I think it depends on how old you are when you have any kind of insertion, as well as when you hit puberty. My Guide To Getting It On says that estrogen changes the hymen – it starts out mostly covering the vaginal opening in a thin layer with a small, crescent-shaped opening, then it changes when puberty hits. The hymen thickens, gets stretchier, and pulls up closer to the walls, making a bigger opening. Some hymens aren’t as cooperative, so people with those or who have very early sex/late puberty will probably have more of a popping/painful bleeding sensation or need surgery.

  45. Lauren
    Lauren June 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    “and then he busts through her maidenhead like the Kool-Aid Man”

    Thank you (damn you?) for making this image a part of my life.

  46. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    @pheeno–
    I feel like I need to include that in my version of “the talk” with my son when he’s older. “yes means yes” “foreplay” “wrap it up” and “monkeyclaws mean STOP!” (actually, that will fall under the “unresponsive/frozen or tensed up partner means STOP” section of “the talk,” but it’s definitely noteworthy)

    Yes. Incoherent squeaking + monkey claws= GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT

  47. Donna L
    Donna L June 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |

    Thanks again for the input!

  48. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune June 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm |

    For the record, as Scarleteen points out, some women do have a “resilient” hymen

    -_- Oh, how I know the joys of this. We took to calling it HyTeflon in hindsight for a reason.

    But I would view it as such, not entirely in a jokey way (as in “ha, ha, I guess I lost my virginity again”), because it would be such a very different experience — not least because it would be the first time I ever had sex in a body that actually felt like it was mine, in the sense of being the “right” one.

    I’d actually agree with you that this makes you a virgin. I mean, if I switched bodies with someone when I was a teenager, and that someone took my body for a joyride in more ways than one, I wouldn’t have been devirginated (fuck I hate “deflowered” except as sarcasm), my body would. And if I’d had sex in a body not-mine, I don’t think I’d count that either…it seems… I don’t know, dissociated and unpleasant as a concept, however fun the physical sensation might be. And since you weren’t really in the body that connected to your (for lack of a better word) spirit, I’d say that you’re sort of in the halfway zone of “well, I’ve fooled around and I physically know how to do things, but…” where virginity’s concerned. Dissociated anything is pretty…unreal, by definition, I think. I feel really hamstrung by the language right now, but am I making any sense?

  49. Ariel
    Ariel June 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm |

    check out Sex+ on tumblr. Also Laci Green on youtube. She has a video on the hymen that says pretty much this but with visuals. =)

  50. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune June 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    I feel like I need to include that in my version of “the talk” with my son when he’s older. “yes means yes” “foreplay” “wrap it up” and “monkeyclaws mean STOP!”

    Cherrybomb, not really on-topic, but I’m so, so glad you’re having the Talk with your son in such detail. As the stepmom to a girl, I’m kind of horrified by how much misinformation about sex stuff she’s getting from friends, and the apparent ignorance of the boys she spends time with about, well, pretty much everything sex- and relationship-related. It’s so damn refreshing to hear that you’re treating your kid like a human-in-progress rather than some unthinking ball of hormones incapable of human decency and “boys will be boys”.

  51. Grace
    Grace June 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

    I think it would just come down to the novelty of it– more an issue of “virgin territory” than virgin geography. Women have so many different life experiences, bodily configurations, beliefs, and perspectives that I figure “virginity” is whatever we call it.

    Oh, I like that–territory vs geography. I will be borrowing that.

  52. Angiportus
    Angiportus June 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |

    That anyone should be injured, even slightly, during what ought to be a happy event, has always appalled me. I don’t even buy fiction that has that sort of thing in it, and I do encourage educators to make sure that girls know how to make darn sure they won’t suffer in the least when they start sticking anything into themselves, whatever (or whoever) it might be. It sounds quite preventable. But some resources these days still leave that detail out.
    Human beings are not bubble wrap. Not packages of crackers to be torn open. Not territory to be…whatever.

  53. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune June 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm |

    I do encourage educators to make sure that girls know how to make darn sure they won’t suffer in the least when they start sticking anything into themselves, whatever (or whoever) it might be

    Fair enough…but with the caution that some of us do, in fact, experience significant amounts of pain with penetration (I have reproductive system issues and even my thoroughly unvirgin body finds it difficult at times) and it would be equally horrible to expect NO pain and flip out in the middle of penetrative exploration (alone or with others) because AHHHNOWHAT’SHAPPENING. Maybe a “some people do, some people don’t” statement would be better?

  54. Chataya
    Chataya June 29, 2012 at 7:37 pm |

    (I do wonder, though: if I ever do, would that count as losing my virginity a second time? I kind of think it would, given the great difference.)

    I think it would! Virginity is more of a state of mind, anyway, given the absurd lines USian culture likes to draw around really-sex versus not-really-sex.

  55. Alyssa
    Alyssa June 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

    According to Hanne Blank in her book Virgin, only an extremely small percentage of female-bodied people are born without a hymen: something like .03%. So if you think you never had a hymen, that is probably not the case. They’re just not very prominent or noticeable in most cases. And as for the whole horseback riding/gymnastics thing, Blank states that this is a myth which originated in the 1800s to discourage women from engaging in sports and physical activity. It doesn’t really make sense that something like horseback riding would have any effect on the hymen anyway, considering that it is slightly on the inside of the opening of the vagina.

  56. miga
    miga June 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

    Hmm, Pheeno- reading what you wrote about your monkey claw experience makes me wonder if I “broke” my hymen the first time I used a tampon. That was so painful I couldn’t breathe. Same thing when I tried a Diva Cup 10 years later.

  57. Alexis
    Alexis June 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |

    Man my first time seems awesome right now. Guy with a pretty small penis, no pain, me on top, ten minutes and it was over. And it felt good! I didn’t have an orgasm but it was pleasant. Of course I had been masturbatibg for five years or so by then do I knew what I wanted. I was so thankful I educated myself plenty beforehand. I don’t know when and if my hynen “broke”, either. I was just lucky, I guess?

  58. Alexis
    Alexis June 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |

    Allow me to add–to my vastly misspelled comment–that I do doubt that as my “first time” with PIV sex but I do believe I lost my “virginity” when I was younger and my first boyfriend and I experimented with oral sex. It was my sexual awakening and it was more memorable. I call bullshit on the idea that, for anyone, devirginizing can only occur if a penis is penetrating you.

  59. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm |

    It doesn’t really make sense that something like horseback riding would have any effect on the hymen anyway, considering that it is slightly on the inside of the opening of the vagina.

    When you’re young, horses are quite wide. I think it’s the stretching (not necessarily tearing) that may cause issues.

    Blank states that this is a myth which originated in the 1800s

    No, this belief is much older. Women of status rode, and needed to be able to control the horse (as opposed to being a passenger, led by a man) so a functional side saddle was invented in the 1300′s. It was considered immodest, plus the virgin thing, and add a dash of ” she might get off” to the mix.

  60. anon
    anon June 30, 2012 at 1:23 am |

    I had the opposite experience. My sex ed was all “Our Bodies Ourselves” and I didn’t think the hymen was really something that most women had. I was totally shocked then, when before my first time it took my boyfriend and me TWO MONTHS of trying every night to even be able to get it in, and, even with lube (and a not huge penis), I bled slightly almost every attempt. When we actually succeeded in PIV sex, there was blood everywhere, about the same amount as if I had slept a whole night on bedsheets with a particularly heavy menstrual flow, and then enough to turn the water in the toilet bowl bright red. I’m worried my poor boyfriend was scarred for life. It was as pleasurable as it was painful, but I think people should be aware there is a range of hymen experiences, and the ‘blood everywhere’ does happen for some small number of people. Oh, and btw, I was 21 when I first had penetrative sex and had puberty at a normal age.

  61. Bonn
    Bonn June 30, 2012 at 1:27 am |

    I would say the horseback riding thing isn’t entirely a myth. I “lost” my hymen when I was two or three years old and my older brother kicked me in the groin.

    I also lost my first tooth when he punched me in the face. As you can see, he was very interested in helping me grow up.

  62. librarygoose
    librarygoose June 30, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    Apparently my mom lost hers kicking herself in the crotch. I find this story to be fucking hilarious.

  63. Natalia
    Natalia June 30, 2012 at 4:01 am |

    That anyone should be injured, even slightly, during what ought to be a happy event, has always appalled me. I don’t even buy fiction that has that sort of thing in it, and I do encourage educators to make sure that girls know how to make darn sure they won’t suffer in the least when they start sticking anything into themselves, whatever (or whoever) it might be. It sounds quite preventable. But some resources these days still leave that detail out. Human beings are not bubble wrap. Not packages of crackers to be torn open. Not territory to be…whatever.

    Well, I certainly felt like bubble wrap! Both the first time I did it with a boy, and the first time I went back to sexytime (to quote the immortal words of Borat) after having a baby. My husband and I even joked that I was “revirginized” and he got to “take my virginity” – and we had a frickin’ kid sleeping in the next room. I don’t think anything specifically went wrong both times. It was all very sweet, actually, but my body is hypersensitive, every sensation was magnified and I was far from comfortable at first. Not to mention the fact that I was nervous both times, and I couldn’t simply turn that off.

    It’s a rite of passage and something that can be enjoyable even with the pain. Or so it was for me.

  64. WHEOhio
    WHEOhio June 30, 2012 at 4:15 am |

    TRIGGER WARNING for victim-blaming.

    Fun story (and by “fun” I mean totally fucking horrific):

    My first time was pretty shitty, like many – a bit of painful stretching, with me trying not to squirm as I waited for “it” to become enjoyable. (It didn’t) When he was finished, the ‘sex’ was, apparently, also finished; despite my lack of oh, um, any pleasure. Later that week, I find out that dear boyfriend had immediately run home to tell his mom about his “victory”. She informed him that since I didn’t bleed, I obviously lied to him about being a virgin, and I’d only pretended that it hurt so he wouldn’t realize that I was really a “huge fucking whore”.

    This guy turned out to be an abusive misogynist fuckwad (shocking!) that it took me three years to dump.

    It took years after that to realize that the overwhelming majority of our sexual encounters were not sex, but rape.

    The whole virginity/hymen thing, oh my god, biggest pet peeve. How I wish there were feminist blogs around when I was a teen…

  65. cherrybomb
    cherrybomb June 30, 2012 at 5:51 am |

    @Alyssa .03% of the population can still equal a fair number of individuals, especially when multiplied by approximately half the world’s population. I’d be a little annoyed if someone tried to tell me I just never noticed my hymen- I’d have freakin’ noticed, I was an inquisitive kid.
    Then again, I’m one of those weirdos who got pregnant on the pill, and who only seems to ovulate every 35-60 days, so my reproductive system seems to like abnormalities.

    @Natalia– oh, post-baby sex… So unpleasant, initially. My ex was also into the idea that I was virgin-like. Cause it’s sexy when a gal is wincing in pain. (He was a little less considerate than your guy sounds)

  66. Amelia the lurker
    Amelia the lurker June 30, 2012 at 6:39 am |

    Tomek> It depends on the kind of hymen. Imperforate hymens have already been mentioned; there are also septate hymens. I’m pretty sure that’s why I had; I kind of remember there being two holes, which confused the hell out of me, and before I broke it one night while removing a tampon (the tissue had actually wrapped around it), my gynecologist was pretty confused by it as well—I remember her even thinking I might have a vaginal septum (now THAT would have been a pain in the ass).

    But no, normal hymens can’t really be broken, since there’s already an opening. The opening can just be enlarged.

  67. The Dormouse
    The Dormouse June 30, 2012 at 7:22 am |

    What I would love to see is some realistic losing virginity scenes where one partner leans on the other’s hair and then someone get’s a cramp. This could be followed by losing an erection, the tediousness of trying again, followed by laughter (happy, not teasing), and no orgasms by either partner.

    You’ve basically described the first time I had sex with the guy I’m currently seeing. Neither of us are virgins. It was nice and awkward but there was cuddling after. I’m a sucker for cuddling. Nothing says, “Sorry for rolling on top of your hair and accidentally biting your tongue” like a nice cuddle.

  68. anna
    anna June 30, 2012 at 8:48 am |

    TW

    The odd thing is that most romance novel writers are women (though I know some men write romance, often under female pen names) so they ought to know what losing your virginity is really like. Fanfiction I can excuse since it’s often written by virgins, but not romance novels. I suppose the painful virginity losing scene is just a convention of the genre, but I hope (as with “the heroine got raped and then halfway through she decided she loved it”) this sort of thing will die out.

    Anyone know any romance novels (or better yet writers) that make a point of NOT doing this, or even – gasp – have female protagonists who aren’t virgins?

  69. Schmorgluck
    Schmorgluck June 30, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    Note: None of this is to make any comment on the actual process of losing one’s virginity or on the concept of virginity at all. While many see PIV sex as the exclusive puncher of one’s v-card, virginity is purely a societal construct and thus lacks any real, objective signifier.

    This is worth repeating over and over. My first time was also my first partner’s first time. It turned up during pillow talk that she had been raped some years ago, but it didn’t count: I was her first partner, so it really was her first time. I wish I’d had the awareness back then to tell her that. Instead, I just held her, without a word.

    When I mentioned this on a forum some times ago, a woman mentioned that she considered herself a virgin, even though she has been raped at age 11: she refused to let her rapist take away her first sexual experience.

    Lauren M:

    Please tell me I am not the only tramp out there who dumped her first boyfriend because she couldn’t get laid!

    I wasn’t her first boyfriend, but I sometimes wonder if it didn’t play a role in a girlfriend of mine dumping me, about fourteen years ago. My longest relationship ever, almost six months, we were both twenty-somethings, and all we did was hanging out, kissing, hugging, and occasionnaly play music together (she’s an accordionist – my how deliciously strong her hugs were).
    I can’t affirm anything, though, we never brought up the question of sex, which I believe was largely my fault. To put it short, I was terrified of sex. I’d never had sex without a significant quantity of alcohol preventing me from panicking.
    It wasn’t just sex, though: feeling attraction did tend to make me panic anyway. I think it caused me to be a bit distant at times, which certainly factored in killing our relationship.

    Ah, well, the past is the past. Bouncing back on topic, I don’t read romance novels, but from what I can pick up about them through cultural osmosis, it seems to me that if someone is scared of sex in these stories, it’s always the female, never the male. Am I wrong?

  70. Datdamwuf
    Datdamwuf June 30, 2012 at 10:48 am |

    Interesting, my GYN tells me I still have a “piece” of my hymen intact and I’ve had a lot of sex (I’m pretty damn old btw). It’s never bothered me, and now I understand how that can happen. thanks for that.

  71. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll June 30, 2012 at 11:18 am |

    it seems to me that if someone is scared of sex in these stories, it’s always the female, never the male. Am I wrong?

    No. The only time a male is written to be scared of sex is when he’s worried about hurting the delicate little flower she is and has to be convinced she wants him to take her.

  72. Cassandra Woolf
    Cassandra Woolf June 30, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    Your post title made my day. I have always read romance novels since I was heartbroken to discover Jane Austen only wrote 6 novels. Frankly my pillow and a sexy romance novel saved me from ever sleeping with jerks. My pillow was my best friend since I was four.

    I didn’t think I had a hymen when I made love for the first time. But I think scraps of it lingered until my first daughter was born.

    I love that Kindle owners can get books from the library. Mystery and romance lovers should be in paradise. And no one knows my trashy reading tastes. Anyway, in most of the recent novels, the virgin’s deflowering is no big deal, just a prelude to the earth moving a few minutes later.

  73. Mxe354
    Mxe354 June 30, 2012 at 11:51 am |

    (as with “the heroine got raped and then halfway through she decided she loved it”)

    So people have actually written about that in romance novels. Jesus fuck what’s wrong with people?

  74. alynn
    alynn June 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    I was a super informed 18 year old who was out to lose my virginity with my wonderful boyfriend…so I went and had a pap done to get on BC.

    Even though I knew that not everyone had hymens and not everyone’s would tear, bleed, etc. during sex, I learned that mine would because my doctor told me it was there. In fact, she kind of exclaimed when she saw it during the exam and said something to the effect of, “OH! Ok…let me work around this…”

    And lo and behold I did bleed the first time, but I was very relaxed and in control so it didn’t hurt at all.

  75. jennygadget
    jennygadget June 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm |

    “So people have actually written about that in romance novels. Jesus fuck what’s wrong with people?”

    Honestly, it depends on when it was written. And please remember these are fantasies – and women’s fantasies at that – as well as a part of the culture. That isn’t to say critiques aren’t good, bc yeah, critique the hell out of books that push rape myths please. But it does mean that why they get written and read is more complicated than there being something “wrong” with people.

    Or, rather, that what is wrong with people is that they have to live in the patriarchy, and thus make compromises, and those compromises are often not pretty.

    As far as “raped until she likes it” goes, there was a whole rash of them in the late 70′s and through the 80′s. It is generally considered, among those who have studied them (and yes, people have studied them), to be something many women used to deal with their conflicted feelings about the changed social mores surrounding women having sex – and enjoying it. Many of readers had been brought up thinking that liking sex – especially outside marriage – was bad and slutty. That women who said “yes” were bad and slutty. And yet…most women have sexual desires and it was slightly more ok to indulge in them than it had been when they were young. So…you get lots of stories in which the woman says no but the sex is still good, because then the reader can enjoy the sexual fantasy without feeling like they are identifying with a “slut.”

    It is not healthy, but it is something more complicated than just “wrong.”

    Just plain “wrong” would be such scenarios being as common now in romance as they were then. Which they aren’t. They still exist to be sure, sadly, but now it’s writers like Julia Quinn that dominate, not Kathleen Woodiwiss. And now most romance sections now also have a full blown erotica(-lite) section that many women feel comfortable buying from in a way they did not even when I was younger.

    50 Shades of Grey seems to be part of a new wave of stories that come up with similarly rape myth adopting “excuses” for why it’s ok for the female protag to enjoy non-vanilla sex. A trend that, as far as I can tell, actually started with Anne Rice’s not-quite-anon novels and then the Anita Blake books.

  76. ellestar
    ellestar June 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm |

    She informed him that since I didn’t bleed, I obviously lied to him about being a virgin, and I’d only pretended that it hurt so he wouldn’t realize that I was really a “huge fucking whore”.

    That actually reminds me of a time when I was 13 and having a discussion with my friend from an ultra-conservative family about why being gay wasn’t bad.

    Her mother took me aside and tried to explain to me why homosexuality, and sex before marriage was so wrong. According to her, when a man and woman have sex for the first time after marriage, there is blood. And that blood is sacred and blessed by God and seals the love for the man and the woman together forever. Bleeding like that doesn’t happen for gay men or lesbians, so God obviously doesn’t approve. Or some bullshit.

    I was unconvinced and ended up not going to my friend’s house not very much in the future.

  77. ~s~
    ~s~ June 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    @anna

    Anyone know any romance novels (or better yet writers) that make a point of NOT doing this, or even – gasp – have female protagonists who aren’t virgins?

    There are lots now, actually! A lot of people in romance are highly ashamed by the Old Skool rapiness of the 80′s… It’s pretty standard these days to NOT do the rapey thing and for the female characters to actively enjoy and seek out sex. More and more romance authors are starting to identify as feminists and incorporate feminist themes into their work. Some of my favourites are Courtney Milan, Sherry Thomas, and Cecilia Grant.

  78. ~s~
    ~s~ June 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    Romance blogs Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author actually had a contest for what to name this. The winner was “Hymen Mislocation Syndrome, aka when Hadrian’s Wall is halfway up the English Channel.” The other contenders were pretty funny too.

  79. Gerry Dorrian
    Gerry Dorrian July 1, 2012 at 12:09 am |

    Under fetishisation of virginity I would add Derrida’s use of the term “hymen” to denote the matrix of potentiality between binary meanings.

  80. FYouMudFlaps
    FYouMudFlaps July 1, 2012 at 12:35 am |

    I have two cuddly skanks aka guinea pigs, named Moo and Poo. They are adorable.

  81. Natalia
    Natalia July 1, 2012 at 2:06 am |

    @Natalia– oh, post-baby sex… So unpleasant, initially. My ex was also into the idea that I was virgin-like. Cause it’s sexy when a gal is wincing in pain. (He was a little less considerate than your guy sounds)

    I think it’s erotic for some couples, because here you are, the tired parents of an infant, but sex makes you feel like teenagers again. But of course it doesn’t work and sucks to hell if the man is not being considerate.

  82. Sunday News Round-Up, Staying Inside Until September Edition « Women's Health News

    [...] has an amusing hymen primer for romance novelists, with a quite entertaining comments [...]

  83. Writing Sex | open a vein
    Writing Sex | open a vein July 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    [...] do what feels right. that might not make it perfect, but it’s as close as any of us can get. Just don’t make the hymen-virgin mistake. Rate this:Share this:TwitterEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. This entry was posted [...]

  84. Claire K.
    Claire K. July 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm |

    Hymen talk always depresses me. My experience was pretty similar to Pheeno’s: it hurt a lot, I froze up, the guy kept going, I bled. I was actually bleeding for a few days afterwards. What really bothers me is that I don’t think I had to ever go through that. There was nothing wrong with my hymen, for my purposes: I could put in a tampon, a finger or two, etc. I didn’t ever need to have a penis in there. (My unpleasant feelings around the hymen-ripping experience are probably aggravated by the fact that I’m completely gay and wasn’t at all attracted to the dude doing the penetration, but I don’t think this issue is directly related to sexual orientation.) The combination of my unhappiness at having given in to the idea that I needed to “try” sex with a guy despite not being interested, his indifference to what in retrospect I think should have been obvious pain, and of course the physical pain itself made that incident the closest thing I’ve had to a “traumatic” experience. Ever since then I’ve been frustrated both at people who romanticize hymen-ripping and blood, and at more liberal people who respond by pretending that the painful bloody stuff never happens and there’s nothing to worry about. I’d like to see realistic sex education that acknowledges the diversity of hymens and also acknowledges that if you’re trying to stick something up in there and it hurts, what happens next should be up to you. Whether you want to go through with whatever you’re doing, seek medical intervention, or even just give up on penetration with large objects –it’s your choice, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with never having a penis-sized thing inside you. Certain types of “resilient” hymens might come with other problems, but it’s up to each individual hymen-haver what zhe wants to do with that little piece of flesh.

  85. NikHNelia
    NikHNelia July 2, 2012 at 5:52 am |

    Thank you for this post! I’m ashamed to admit that I never really thought about it before and still kind of believed the myths. I’d experimented a lot with penetration before my first time with a man, so I’d always assumed “something” had happened then, without actually thiking about it.
    As for the romance novels: As an avid reader of that genre, the ones that deviate from the “she’s a virgin and he’s had lots of sex before”-plotline (I say plotline… more of a cliche) are my favourites. There’s one by Eloisa James, “When the Duke Returns”, in which the male protagonist is a virgin. (And completely unapologetic about it, hah!) Worse, he’s never touched anyone (sexually, that is)! Gasp! I also like the series by Jeaniene Frost (starts with “Halfway to the Grave”). It’s refreshingly non-creepy and down-to-earth for a vampire series. And the female protagonist’s had sexual experience (piv sex, I think?) by the time she has her first time with the male protagonist.

  86. still_laughing
    still_laughing July 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    @pheenobarbidoll–The claw hands

    I’m thinking the whole frozen claw hands might be a result of some hyperventilating, which often has that effect on people. Takes a while to return the blood gasses and hands to normal. I’m thinking breathing into a paper bag at that point probably isn’t too classy at that point LOL.

    This has been most informative and entertaining and I can’t help thinking about the generations of women who passed new brides small containers of chicken blood to use as evidence of their purity on the bridal sheets…

  87. Angelia Sparrow
    Angelia Sparrow July 3, 2012 at 9:06 am |

    Reason 438976 I write same-sex romance and erotica.

    I did, however, just finish writing a novel with a virginal heroine. She’s in her 40s, and mostly uninterested in men or sex or orgasms or any of it, until our hero walks through the door and the magic says, “You want him.” But nope, no hymen at this late date, not after an active PI’s lifesyle.

    And yes, he starts her off with a lot of oral and a couple fingers.

  88. EllaGry
    EllaGry July 3, 2012 at 10:07 am |

    Despite knowing better –far better — I’d even looked in anatomy books and seen actual photographs of actual hymens– I bought that whole “the hymen is a secret mystery somewheres hidden inside the hoo-ha” thing. And it pretty much ruined my chance at making an informed decision about who, when, where, how, to “lose” my virginity.

    I was twenty damn years old. And just out of a three year relationship, which, for reasons that felt complicated but were probably not unusual, didn’t include penetrative sex.

    The guy I was seeing casually decided that, you know, although I clearly stated that I was on the pill just so I’d be ready, when -I- was ready, and that I was only telling him that I was on the pill because I was a full disclosure kind of person, and that I really wasn’t sure that I was going to want to have the whole penis-in-vagina sex with him any time soon, or at all — my being on the pill meant he got to get laid.

    I should have been suspicious when he asked “so, you know, how do those things work? do you have to be on them for months before they take effect?”

    Within, I think, seventy-two hours of the time “thosse things” took effect, mid-dry-ish-hump, he said, “Oops. I think it slipped in.” There was no pain. No sensation, really. I figured, hmm…I really must not have had much of a hymen left. It was a non-experience.

    I was pretty damn enraged. Maybe a little bit broken-hearted. Especially because he knew that the one thing that I wanted from the whole damn “virginity” thing was having some damn milestone that was -my- decision; something clear cut, knowing exactly when, where, with who, the damn thing happened.

    At the time, I had no sympathy for myself, though. What the fuck did I think was going to happen, fooling around with this dude in some tent, pantsless? Did I really expect that he’d pay any–nonetheless careful– attention to my explicit instructions about trying to avoid jamming things where I didn’t want them jammed?

    So what the fuck, I thought. Better just let him finish the job, next time he felt like it.

    So next time we were together, I just let him do it. The pain was excruciating. Beyond anything I’d read in ridiculous novels. It felt like someone was trying to cram a dildo up my nose. For three hours. I could see a clock, so I’m sure this isn’t an exaggeration.

    What sickens me now, looking back on it, was that he maintained an erection for the whole time– as I covered my face from the pain. At the time, I thought he was “taking it slow” because it took time to get it to “fit.” Now I wonder if he was savoring it.

    Because I bought the whole kool-aid man second-pump’s the charm breathless-pirate bodice-and-stays virginity loss archetype, the narrative actually seemed logical. Because, I figured, that’s the way it works, right? He just slipped in a little, and that’s when I couldn’t feel it, but when he was “really” in, it hit that big ole’ mean hymen, and that’s when the going got tough.

    On reflection, I had a fairly thick damn annular-style hymen, with a fairly modest opening, and the damn thing was right at the “entrance” to my vagina, where it had been since I was damn born, and where it was when I couldn’t get a damn tampon past it until college, and, where, at the time I “lost my virginity” I still couldn’t get a damn super tampon past it.

    Also, on reflection, “my partner” had certainly done enough physical reconnaissance to get the lay of the land, so he was well damn aware that nothing bigger than a roll of nickels could “just slip in,” no matter how “slippery” things got.

    Unfortunately, he’d done enough mental reconnaissance to know that, the only reason he wasn’t yet “allowed” to fuck me, was because he hadn’t already fucked me…which probably struck him as unfair, but not as an insurmountable obstacle.

  89. Virginia Llorca
    Virginia Llorca July 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    Myself, there was a little blood for weeks everytime we did it with the first guy. In my writing, it is discussed for several sentences in first book, (she had an obstructive issue) mentioned in passing in third. Contemporaries.

  90. Girls on Film Magic Mike&rsquos Real Magic Free movie - HaLa MovieHaLa Movie

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  92. Amelia the lurker
    Amelia the lurker July 6, 2012 at 12:52 am |

    @EllaGry

    I’m really sorry that asshole decided to violate your explicit boundaries. I know what it’s like to think in highly symbolic terms. The same thing happened to me (although I hadn’t assigned the moment of penetration the same weight, since it had already happened; unsurprisingly, it had been as unideal as many of the experiences mentioned here.). I went home with a guy after a party, kind of tipsy, and we fooled around in his bed even though I was uninterested in anything beyond kissing at that time. He engaged in what would have been very attentive foreplay had I actually been interested; at one point he was penetrating me with his fingers, and then suddenly he had his hands free. I was like, “What the FUCK?” and he said “I just want to be inside you for a minute!” I was like, “Hell no, you do not do that without asking, and also, you’re not wearing a goddamn condom. Get off me, I have to pee.” Fortunately the dude drew the line somewhere, and complied. Things could absolutely have been worse, and I blamed myself too—what was I expecting, I went home with him, was in his bed, etc. I spent a good deal of time in the bathroom reading the Charlie Hebdo back issues that were in there (this was in France), and when I got back he was willing to just go to sleep. The next morning I was still attracted to the guy, asked him what plans he had, he said he was going to a party, that he “wanted to see me again,” and that he would call me.

    He didn’t.

  93. Scaaarie
    Scaaarie July 7, 2012 at 12:31 am |

    Losing
    My virginity was slightly painful . My ex was a virgin too and it was all a bit clumsy. Took ages to get it
    In, lots of deep breathing on my part and I swear I felt that “pop”. fecker didn’t come, should have known then that r meant I had 6 years of rubbish sex to endure!!!!

  94. Society for Menstrual Cycle Research : » How to Break a Hymen, Period Party, and More Weekend Links

    [...] Feministe last week, Caperton published a hilarious guide to the breaking of hymens especially for romance [...]

  95. Shoggoth
    Shoggoth July 8, 2012 at 7:19 am |

    Virginologist ranks high on a list of things you might pause to reconsider the phrasing of when writing a resume.

  96. Shoggoth
    Shoggoth July 8, 2012 at 7:29 am |

    So, Hi, heteroguy here. Totes love the blog, love the whole ladybrains thing, always been very much a plus thumbs up in that general direction. Question, and I am completely prepared to be schooled for this, but I do not get the position of the romance novel, particularly the steamy historical fiction variety. It seems just bizarre, unless there’s some big coverup being done, most of the authors appear to be women, the audience is women, probably a lot of women involved in the production, editing and typesetting and such. Even girls I know with big ladybrains have a bizarre fixation on this sort of thing, which seems completely antithetical to most of what I understand of feminism as it’s commonly understood in 2012.

    So is it a big ironic jokes I’m just oblivious to? Or some kind of dirty “Well sometimes patriarchal fantasies are like intellectual potato chips” kind of thing? Do women actually write these silly things about hymens? Is there a good book or article about tawdry novels and their place in feminist theory or criticism? Thanks.

  97. Therese
    Therese July 9, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Hymens are endlessly fascinating and the way they’re dealt with in pop culture is infuriating. Thank you for schooling romance writers everywhere – and doing it hilariously! But alas, will it make any difference or will film continue to show teenage boys getting halfway up there before getting stuck?

    I learned a lot about hymens from both Scarleteen and Hanne Blank! Like the fact that sometimes hymens can grow back (really) and that the whole gymnastics/horseback riding/bicycle riding theories had more to do with keeping women from physical activity than actually explaining hymens that didn’t work the way they were ‘supposed to.’

    Hymens come in so many shapes and sizes and change through our lives, it’s no wonder we all have such different experiences. I wrote something at Adios Barbie about it here and extensively on my Virginity blog as well.

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