The Smart Bitches’ “Hymn to the Hymen”

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This I liked very much…

“A Hymn to the Hymen

Without including a picture that would make this book NC-17 and more controversial than Harry Potter, we’d like to share a word or two about hymens. Specifically, where they are and what they’re made of.

Time and again we Smart Bitches read romance novels, particularly historical novels, wherein the hero readies his sword of plenty to invade the delicate virgin passage of the heroine. And it goes a little something like this: Hit it!

Gulfvar’s man root trembled with barely leashed passion. Eleanora’s moist love grotto beckoned to him, glistening with her ardor, and he could tell from the mewling sounds coming from the pursed bow of her mouth that she was ready, ready to receive him at last.

He positioned the head of his engorged staff while he kissed away her protests that it certainly would never fit, and slowly slid his aching rod into her tender valley. Gods, but she was tight!

Suddenly he felt the tip of his eager manhood brush against her maidenhead. He pushed her hair back from her face, and whispered to her gently.

‘It will only hurt but a moment, and then it will be gone,’ he said. Then he reared back as if he and his man-staff were jumping hedges at full gallop, and thrust himself deep within her.

Eleanora screamed as if she’d been impaled upon a pikestaff, beating his shoulders with her fists and crying out from the pain. Gulfvar struggled to hold himself still within her, as the tightness of her tender virginal womanhood cradled him, increasing his aching need to thrust within her again and claim her as his own. But first she needed to feel pleasure, not the pain of her first experience with love.

He reached down, found her tender love nubbin, and stroked her until [-p.40] she quieted, until her gasps of pain became moans of pleasure. As she reached her peak of pleasure, and cried out his name, he allowed himself to crest within her, and spilled his seed within her aching, tender passage.

Can you root through the purple prose to find the fallacy? Not the phallus. The fallacy.

Her maidenhead? Up the vaginal canal by an inch or two? NOT POSSIBLE.

This biological inaccuracy is passed on from novel to novel like e-mail hoaxes that tell you Microsoft will give you a dollar every time you forward a message. The mystery of the hymen remains intact, impervious to the throbbing staff of truth.

Here’s the truth about the hymen. Are you sitting down? Good, grab a mirror and play along.

The hymen is external. That’s right. It’s outside the vagina. Let us say it again: it is external. It is not located up the vaginal canal. It’s a fold of membrane that partially covers the external vaginal opening. And most of the time it’s receded or stretched by the time a woman experiences sexual intercourse, so it’s usually not a bloodbath or a profoundly painful experience. There are exceptions to that rule, but even still, those exceptions of the hymen still rest on the scientific goddamn fact that the hymen. Is. External. For. The. Love. Of. All. That. Is. Holey.

Some historical novelists research down to the types of feathers on the costumes, the decor, even the language of their protagonists, and still have the hero battering his manly ram against the heroine’s poor hymen. Nothing says, ‘I couldn’t be arsed to even look at Wikipedia,’ better than having a hero encounter a brick wall of a maidenhead up the heroine’s vaginal canal.” (pp.39-40)

Ref: (italics in original) Sarah Wendell & Candy Tan (2009) Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels. Fireside: New York

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