Monday, 28 March 2011

Like a virgin....AGAIN!

Virginity…a women’s assertion of chastity and the family pride in many Muslim and some non-Muslim cultures.

This Chastity is becoming a liability and comes at a high price financially and psychologically for a lot of Muslim girls around the world. These girls who for the most part are educated, emancipated young women but still living under rigid family and religious rules that force them into taking desperate measures to conceal their non-virginity for fear of being outcast and in many cases fear for their lives.

The hymen reconstruction (Hymenorrhaphy) or revirginisation of women, a surgical procedure that is practiced by many gynaecologists throughout the world to reverse the actions and conceal the secret of so many desperate young women from their husbands to be, families and future families-in-law who put high pressure and a higher prize on this membrane that will go on to represent the pride of the whole family and the groom as they declare the bride a maiden with celebrations, firing of gunpowder and displaying the blood stained bed sheet from the wedding night.
Some of you might argue that such traditions are archaic and no long in practice but the truth is; they are very much alive and conventional in many parts of Africa; the Arab world, Sudan, and South Africa …et cetera

A practice of demanding virginity certificates is not rare in many Arab and /or Muslim cultures, girls as young as 13 can be suspected and made to take a spontaneous virginity test on the whim of one of her relatives who might have seen her talking to a young man outside of school or in other cases a man might demand this certificate prior to the marriage deal is closed. A very strict watch is placed upon the girls' virginity, especially after puberty and until the day she is married.

The concept of virginity and hymen protection engenders such pressure on women, from the mothers who are the guardians of the family’s honour and from the men in the family by a simple matter of imposing curfews and disallowing mixing with cousins and other males in the family or society, pressure from the future husband who puts such a prize on his future wife’s chastity that he would send her back to her family should she not be “intact”.
This pressure clashes with the pressure these same girls receive from their boyfriends, secret boyfriend nonetheless, to give in to their desires and consummate their relationship, any refusal or hesitation would be labelled “uncool” and cowardly pushing the girl to give up her most prized possession to this very same man who would later on demand virginity from her or any woman he intends to marry.

In this day and age, virgin girls are as common as the elves in Finland (a myth), in Algeria’s major cities, virginity doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore, for girls or for boys, the taboo attached to sexual intercourse seems to have been lifted and sex has become the new favourite past time for many Algerians as young as 16, virginity is no longer questionable or at least the loss of it not feared, this could be due to two reasons; emancipation of the new generation of young men and the hypocrisy around the one way virginity road has dissipated or the new age revirginisation methods have become mainstream and readily available to young women everywhere, across the Arab world and in Europe as well, especially in France and the UK where a large population of Muslims in Europe is concentrated, where routine Hymenorrhaphies(1) are performed on the NHS(2) to protect young British women from their religious families and prevent the so called “shotgun weddings” where the man is forced to marry the woman he “stole” virginity from.

Some might argue that these “repair” manoeuvres are nothing short of deceptive and in effect encourage Muslim women to be promiscuous and sexually active knowing that there is a remedy should they face a problem later in the future, but isn’t this very male behaviour what drives women to promiscuity and deception through their (men) hypocrisy and double standards of accepting promiscuity from men but not from women. After all pre-marital sex is disallowed for both men and women and in all known religions. 
If men’s virginity was not so ephemeral and unquestioned, If women’s virginity wasn’t so tangible and verifiable, how will men try to monitor it? And will it remain the taboo that it is in many cultures and countries around the world today?


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(1) The term comes from the Greek words hymen meaning membrane, and raphe meaning suture
(2) UK National Health Service

63 comments:

  1. i don't feel like my question has been answered? also, there was no focus on a particular gender.

    also, normally, suffice to talk to someone for a few minutes and you can pretty much tell if they're a virgin or not ...

    ReplyDelete
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  2. It does answer your question in a way! if you're being asked for a virginity certificate it goes without saying that you're expected to be a virgin, and therefore..well hopefully no STDs.

    However, it is not uncommon for an HIV test to be requested prior to the marriage or a relationship.

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  3. well, a virginity test is a gender-centric specific case of the issue i was referring to but my point is more general and gender neutral.

    plus, how to account for incidents where the hymen may have been torn from non-sex related activities like sport e.t.c?

    i think it should be mandatory for both parties to undergo a blood test to avoid any surprises ;) .

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  4. I agree on the blood tests, they should be mandatory.
    However, I didn't cover sport related "accidents" I suppose that some of these are isolated cases and probably won't require any surgical procedure!

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  5. ah and being a virgin does not equal not having STDs since they can be contracted by other non-sexual routes.

    and also you forget another point. quite a big point actually. imagine, a point (or dot) but much bigger. but not thaaaaat big. hint hint.

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  6. Subtle...NOT!
    I didnt want to go into details and wanted to keep it clean, but yes I know.

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  7. but it's related to the issue at hand and needs to be mentioned ;) .

    perhaps you could use a euphemism, like the backdoor? lol

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  8. I specifically did not want to use such euphemism, trying to keep it "clean" but since we are talking about the subject, yes a lot of women who claim they are virgins, are probably not virgins on other "stuff" but again that comes down to the social and religious pressures and most importantly boyfriend pressure.

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  9. of course, no pressure to not keep it clean since this is your space.

    is this post actually more about boyfriend pressure?

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  10. No I keep it clean, but you can feel free to be controversial, this is the point you see, I provoke your thoughts on more...un-debated subjects perhaps!

    The post as a whole tackles all pressures to keep and to loose virginity, and boyfriend pressure certainly creeps in but by no means is it the purpose of the post.

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  11. my thoughts are going all over the place, clean and not so clean lol.

    your post is not taking a stance on whether to keep or lose, right?

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  12. That’s correct. I tried to be as objective as possible. Of course I have no objection to the revirginisation when it helps solve a family crisis or save the life of young women. But personally I would prefer to take a stand against it. A man should only expect his wife to be a virgin if he is one too.

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  13. so should a woman expect her husband to be a virgin if she's one?

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  14. That’s down to each individual woman, but I hope not!!
    Women don’t expect and in fact hope their men are not virgins and they prefer not to be expected to be either. Some actually prefer to be virgins for every boyfriend they fall in love with, these are just sappy romantics.

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  15. i like your asymmetric objectivity.

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  16. I dont know if I detect sarcasm, but I choose to take it as a compliment. Cheers Tonton DW.

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  17. i knew it wouldn't be wasted (undetected) on you - this is a compliment ;).

    "Women don’t expect and in fact hope their men are not virgins ..."

    is this fact or your opinion? lol

    "Some actually prefer to be virgins for every boyfriend they fall in love with, these are just sappy romantics." how gullible, foolish, naive and so backwardly narrow-minded of them right? we're in 2011 and they should learn to face the music, get laid, grab a couple of STDs along the way for some character-building experience.

    i hope my sister is a sappy romantic hahaha.

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  18. In reference to your earlier comment "normally, suffice to talk to someone for a few minutes and you can pretty much tell if they're a virgin or not" Have you been testing me? :)

    If thats the way you feel, then I too hope your sister is "sappy romatic" ;)

    And yes my opinion...

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  19. aaaaaaahahahahahhaha you're funny and i know am funny too ;) .

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  20. In his book "Tombeza", Rachid Mimouni wrote :

    "Pauvre fille! Pauvres femmes! Votre malédiction, c'est cette membrane qui ferme l'accès de votre vagin. Quelle obscure mais implacable nécessité a conduit la nature à vous doter de ce catastrophique hymen? Tout aurait été si simple sans cela. Un bout de chair turgescent qui pénètre dans une cavité de chair, pas de quoi faire un drame. Un bon bain suffirait à effacer les traces de mille viols successifs. Une petite membrane qui fonde une civilisation."

    The last sentence ("A little membrane that founds a civilization") is so brilliant and so true.

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  21. Une petite membrane qui fonde une civilization.....

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  22. So much emphasis put on this layer of skin, if it did not exist I wonder how diffrent our lives (women) be!

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  23. probably complaining about the lack of it.

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  24. A little membrane that founds a civilization" - Sums up things doesn't it. Merci Chatnoir

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  25. It wasn’t in reply to your comment Dawood. But I agree, if there was no way of monitoring a women’s virginity, men would create one, a chastity belt perhaps ;)

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  26. 'una pequeña membrana que establece una civilización', sí?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8s5uBpG0mU

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  27. Si si. anyone else? Japenese perhaps?

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  28. you planning on writing something funny any time soon?

    haven't been testing you btw; each to their own i say.

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  29. You made me laugh, so impatient and fussy, but I know it's been a bit serious lately, am writing a whole bunch of them...holidays approaching and all

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  30. did my nonsensical comment about talking to someone for a few minutes make you laugh? it made me laugh.

    i will try to tone my impatience and fussiness down ;) .

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  31. YES YES Dawood, it made me laugh. I am going to tone down on the positng frequency to 1 post a week.

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  32. i'm too annoying? :D my name is doovde

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  33. Let's just say it's quite obvious you are bored :)

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  34. et toi t'as de la patience. bisou :)

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  35. ahh virginity..and dont get me strated on that...i met a guy not long ago..algerian..and the first question before he wanted to know me more..he asked me if i am a virgin..shit i was like OF KORS MAN..what kind of question is this...rediculous..anyway..i agreed to date him in the hope that he might be decent but after 4 months he damped me probably coz i wasnt ready to kiss and take it further..sick people around..allah yahdina nchalah

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  36. Hello,
    Nice post. People should be free to want whatever they want. If someone wants a virgin girl for marriage, so be it. If some one wants a young girl, then also so be it. Obviously, the whole thing should be built on honesty, whether one of the couple or both is not virgin.
    It is normal to be picky when it comes to marriage to ensure selection of offspring, perhaps not so much for other types of relationships where pedigree is not at stake.
    Whether virgin or not, sexual education is prefered before entering into a marriage to ensure a happy relationship.

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  37. Well well well
    A bunch of Angolo-saxo-phonic Muslims talking about something interesting.
    Look guys with all my respect for you and your families, neighbors .. Wayne Rooney and etc. Are you serious!?
    I mean whether You don't know and it's a shame indeed shame, or you know and you pretend that you don't know and it's a disaster.
    Defloration is the result of a sexual intercourse in almost 99% of the cases or by accident, for the 1% let's say s**t happens and go back to the big number.
    Any sexual intercourse out of (husband-wife) relation is forbidden 7ab y9ol 7aram = one step closer to the edge of....
    Let's flash my brain and try to look at the subject from GMT angle. Well a female could be caught while the male is out of discussion = that's not fair dudes but Allah is fair.
    The point is, everybody is the guardian of his-self "Worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don't see Him, He, Verily, sees you!" [Prophet Muhammad SAW]
    Did you hear about Omar Ibn Alkhatab when he caught a couple making .... and he ran enraged to the prophet Mohamed peace be upon him to tell him what he have seen, the prophet knew what he is going to say and tried to calm him down before he gets near and his words become clear but Omar kept shouting thus the prophet shouted on him "if you say their names and you can not get four witnesses i will punish you instead"
    Four witnesses! theoretically impossible unless you are doing that proudly on the beach ( hence don't count your on Muslims and you don't deserve the title)
    By the way if you see such things are normal to discuss and to have a democratic opinion on them i guess your parents were so faulty to rise you there.
    I mean no harm & excuse my frankness because i used to be a third world barbarian who doesn't know how to deal with manners, democracy & hypocrisy and blablablah but at least i managed to keep myself clean until 31 years old and i pray for my brothers and sisters in Islam to have the power & patience to resist until (rabi yjib bent wlla weld le7lal).

    Rabi yahdina wyehdikoum goulou Amine.

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  38. @ Moh: who are you talking to?
    "if you see such things are normal to discuss and to have a democratic opinion on them i guess your parents were so faulty to rise you there"
    Are you to say that we cannot discuss the subject? Subjectively or objectively? And if we do then according to you we have not been well brought up??

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  39. Salam everyone;
    DZ_chick it is an insult for me thinking that I'm insulting you because the expression (we have not been well brought up) is "3ayb kbir 3andna" and i will not allow myself to jump into someone's blog to insult him.
    I will not blame anyone who is raised there, of not knowing religious and traditional concepts (must have here is optional there and vise versa).
    But this conversation remembers me of another teacher (Hicham the effeminate) who used to embarrass all the class by his bright novels like "Requiem of a dream and M. Butterfly" some classmates (girls) used to skip his session & the others forced to turn heir faces to the windows pretending that they are not hearing, we called him (cheekh ta3 te6ya7 le9dar).
    So it is just a matter of "9dar" restricting the diversity of subjects which could be discussed by two persons "m9adrine ba3dhahum" in our culture.
    For example i could not look into my mother's eyes and talk about my girlfriend who i don't have in fact =]
    So i picture that 9dar and respect are different doors to the same home, because i respect you all even if I'm in engaged in the discussion.
    Good wishes to everyone, Salam.

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  40. @ Moh: I wasn brought in Algeria and I am very aware of the "religious and traditional concepts" you are reffering to, and no where does it say that we cannot discuss a subject like virginity, it is a taboo subject I will give you that.
    And la 7ayaa fi eddin
    remember!!

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  41. Salam;
    Exactement EDDINE, so let's not agree on having a physical intercourse with a stranger (not husband or wife) as absolutely normal but a fancy.
    Except that noone would say better than;
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful "And as for the two of you who are guilty thereof, punish them both. And if they repent and improve, then let them be. Lo! Allah is ever relenting, Merciful. (16) Forgiveness is only incumbent on Allah towards those who do evil in ignorance (and) then turn quickly (in repentance) to Allah. These are they toward whom Allah relenteth. Allah is ever Knower, Wise. (17) The forgiveness is not for those who do ill-deeds until, when death attendeth upon one of them, he saith: Lo! I repent now; nor yet for those who die while they are disbelievers. For such We have prepared a painful doom."
    Especially when you have the privilege of not being (hazinlek 3lam) all across London, the mentality that converted thousands of victims (innocent girls) into h**lots in our society.
    Thank you for your response, Salam.

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  42. hi there, well i must admit that i liked some parts of ur paragraph and disagreed with others especially the part u quoted from a certain book, but still i do share one of ur point of view angles, the one that says: a guy has to expect his "future" wife to be virgin if and only if he s virgin, well i do think same somehow... i mean he can certainly marry a virgin girl even if he s not himslf, the prob is when he puts that as a condition it feels so hypocrite!
    this is a tall order and even the opinions around it cant be categorical, since it s more like a case by case thingy
    however, when it comes to the comments i really think Moh is right, after all we are muslims and only Allah knows what s the best for humankind, having a relation before marriage is a sin and couldnt be defined differently, but further more it s one of the ten major sins, wich makes it kabira and it s one of the reasons that tear down a civilization, cz allow me to remind u of the arabic hikma that says: إنما الأمم الأخلاق ما بقيت... فإن هم ذهبت أخلاقهم ذهبوا
    ^^ that s all i think :)
    salam to everyone, especially to the host

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  43. Hi Tayeb, thanks for your comment, I never read a books about the subject or quoted anyone! If I quote I would pu the source, I do not plagiarise, so I would be interested in knowing what sources are you referring to.

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  44. U re right, i m sorry my bad lol, it was someone else who quoted in the coms, and i did read the whole thing (comments included) so i didnt pay attention that it wasnt even u who quoted :s
    well now i can see i am a little bit closer to ur opinion :p
    sorry again.

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  45. Tayeb, I am not sure why people are saying they agree or don't with me since I did not voice a single opinion in this "article".

    It is as objective and impersonal as they get, and ALL mine ;)

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  46. may be that s exactly the reason, though u tried to be objective, the whole thing looks like ur opinion
    as if ur opinion was kinda mixed and may be that s why i said i do share one of ur angles, not the whole point of view for sure,
    but further again, i also said it s something we cant point with a categorical opinion like for exp i am against this or with that, since it s a tall order and aint the same for everyone, a kinda case by case.. what i sensed while reading ur paragraph is that even with the objectivity u tried to put on the surface which was a success ofcourse, it still feels like ur opinion is there... may be i am wrong but i do feel like u think that the very family pride and what makes it a pressure upon the girl ain't the problem, but more like the injustice which has nothing to do with any religious sens, cause if we go back to religion... the act is forbidden for both sides, but we do feel like it s okay for the guy n no for the girl
    well here again even if i am against this injustice, i do not say we should whether leave the two free or be severe with both of em, i just see the second option to fix this injustice :)
    and if we look deeper, all this comes from the fact that our women are in fact our pride, some kinda treasure we can allow anyone to mess with
    ^^

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  47. That was my attempt at journalistic writing, objectivity with a hidden personal view or maybe just the reality of things, the fact that I point out the reality may come across as my personal opinion purely because I am also Algerian. I believe that if the author was not Algerian, the article would have been perceived differently.

    Now I feel you understood the article.

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  48. tks i am glad i did :D
    n i feel like u wrote it well.

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  49. Salam everyone
    sorry to disturb,but i only want to say something to:
    Tayeb :Thank you brother, i see that we are sharing almost the same point of view, but you do better express yourself. I used only verses from Quran not anybook.
    DZ_Chick: from now on i'll address you as a host or a referee koz its hard to deal with your responses.
    thank u, Salam.

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  50. @Moh: What you mean is that you're not going to "talk" to me from now on but only use my blog to discuss issues because "it's hard to deal with my responses" because I don't agree with you??

    Mraba hadi.

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  51. Salam,
    Dz_Chick: who said u don't agree with me or i don't ? At least, i don't feel so!
    But look at you, the way u talk to me! i feel just like i could be hurt (that's what i meant)
    Anyway, i didn't mean it really.
    & by the way i liked "mrab'ba hadi", no harm, thank u.
    Salam.

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  52. Ok am I being too harsh with you? I will try to tone it a down a bit.

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  53. 1. Les puceaux ça manque d’expérience (mauvaise affaire) mouahaha
    2. La fille qui n'a pas d'expérience, ça passe très bien chez nous (genre, "ana houwa el ouel") -et tant mieux-

    Enfin bref...

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  54. DZ chick, you are talking about an important subject that is still making so many peoples' lives complicated or even destroyed..

    It is about time that men take their responsibilities.. I mean if someone like to have sex prior to get married he should accept to marry a non virgin girl..

    Well done for the topics :) keep it up..

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  55. Thx DZ London Men need to take their responsibilities!

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  56. Surat Al Nur
    "The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers" (24-2)
    Surat Al Nur
    explains it all in very great detail. Both men and women are expected to be virgins before marriage, equally! and the punishment is the same for both of them.

    Many Algerian girls are extremely noble and find it no problem to maintain themselves. This is a great part of Algerian identity. Their education and wisdom shines when you speak to them and may Allah bless them for it. The problem is there are not as many men with the same level of dignity and nobility as the women.
    In Islam, if a man has had sex with someone before marriage , he is not allowed to marry a virgin girl. He is not even allowed to marry a divorced or widowed woman who has had a halal sex life. He must only marry someone who has also had sex outside marriage. Like for like. Pure are only for pure. Its very unfair on the woman if she is a virgin and her new husband was 'active' while on his travels around the world. She then will have to bear the brunt of anything he has 'picked up' on the way. Thats the theory anyway. The practice is different obviously from reading this blog.
    Allah knows what we need to live well and be dignified. We should follow His guidance as Quran tells us to.

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  57. @DZ-chick, as an Algerian female I grew up with the notion that a woman ought to remain virgin until her wedding night. Growing up in France that concept was quite backwards but common within our community. Nonetheless I refused to preserve my virginity for a man that probably would have lost his at 14 or 15. I had sex when I wanted to, it is as essential as eating and drinking when you reached a certain age. Don't get me wrong I am not promiscuous but I will never feel guilty for having sex outside wedlock. I wouldn't want to marry a virgin because I wouldn't want to have to train him although he will have to undergo a customised training! The little membrane is not responsible for men's narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy and insecurity, they are responsible for it!!

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  58. DZ-Chick, I just had to re-read this article....I omitted to raise a point or two on my previous comment so here we are.Please allow me to write a disclaimer:
    Do not read on if you cannot handle uncensored brutal truth. Many thanks

    Clearly a hymenorrhaphy (thanks for the term dz-chick) is the only option available to some women when marrying in order to preserve the family's honour (I don't see how but that's besides the point) however what is highly disturbing is that those women enter the most sacred union deceiving their 'loved one'. As in any relationship trust is of essence and anything build on deception is like a sand castle, it will crumble readily.
    Furthermore the 'poor' woman (yes poor as in unfortunate! No woman will blissfully want to undergo such a delicate operation) feels the need and obligation to live a lie and pretend to be what she is not, in my mind this is the definition of imprisonment. The fear that any of her sexual encounters might be exposed must be notably daunting.

    Together with hymenorrhaphy, sodomy (forgive my crudeness dz-chick) is rife in the Muslim community as it enables sexual intercourse without impacting on the precious virginity of the woman.
    Ultimately does the hymen symbolize virginity?

    This hypocritical expectation of a woman's virginity constrains the latter to either deny her sexuality, conceal her transgression through surgical intervention or bend over!

    Alternatively women could just break down those barriers by affirming their sexual activeness.

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