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Hymen Myths: Will Changing Its Name Help?

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If we change the name for 'hymen,' will we change the way we think about it?

The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education recently produced a new resource that calls for just this. The nonprofit urges for the renaming of the hymen to the "vaginal corona". The logic is, if there is so much ignorance and mythical information surrounding the hymen and virginity, then a renaming allows for factual knowledge and a dispelling of myths.

The guide is a map of the female sexual system: descriptions of female genitals, accurate information about the vaginal corona, and information that challenges myths about female sexuality and virginity. The guide is available in several languages including English, Arabic and Sorani.

It doesn't stop there.

The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education's website is filled with free resources that provide accurate and sex positive information for male and female bodies - the Dicktionary and the Pussypedia are just a couple of delightful resource titles. They also include a video that talks to men of all ages about gender inequalities, sex, and sexual consent and respect.

The hymen has in many histories and cultures been a topic of mythical conversation. Many young girls are educated to believe that the hymen is just a flat piece of tissue that covers the vagina that gets broken during sexual intercourse. There are misconceptions that other activities can cause a girl to lose her virginity as a result, like wearing tampons.

In actuality, the hymen is a fringe of tissue around the vagina's opening - a mere body part that some young girls are actually born without. If it was like a piece of plastic wrap covering the vagina, girls wouldn't menstruate until they'd had their hymens punctured. Hymens do not "break" in the way that they are often described - sometimes they tear through activities including horse riding, tampon wearing, etc. but that doesn't mean that young girls are "de-virginized" as a result.

So figuring out if a girl has had sex isn't as simple as investigating the hymen - physical activities or simply human biology, can lead to hymens looking different. Thus, methods of hymen reconstruction can become problematic, because they hold onto a notion of female sexuality and virginity that wasn't even true to begin with.

Be sure to read the entire guide at The Swedish Association for Sexuality Education's website and encourage your family and friends and community to rethink the inaccurate information surrounding the hymen!

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