We've written about the mail-order artificial hymen and the death threats its use has inspired in Egypt here and here. Now, thanks to a link from Stacy, one of our Facebook Fans, we have a story direct from the Global Times of China of a first-person encounter with the device:
The ads for artificial hymens caught Ms Xie's attention outside a Chongqing sex store. She lowered her head, put on sun glasses, went inside and purchased a box of "Virtuous Girl Red" hymens for her big day: her first physical union with her husband-to-be.
The 100-yuan ($14 US) hymen kit contained a small dark-red semitransparent plastic insert. Xie tore off its cover, inserted it and waited 20 minutes until it "melted", and then carefully climbed into bed where her husband-to-be was waiting, with a voice running through her head saying, "remember to act like you are in pain."
After a few ups and downs, moans and groans, they relaxed, turned on the light and excitedly spotted a liquid that looks like blood on the bed sheet. He smiled and held her tightly in his arms. She felt like she was standing at the door of heaven until his question drew her quickly back to earth.
"Honey, what is that smell?"
It turned out that the "user friendly guidelines" written on the Virtuous Girl package neglected to mention a significant drawback: the "blood" smells.
They broke up eventually. Too much pressure
Xie, 27, from Chongqing and who had had one previous partner prior to her "second virginity," told the Global Times that the reason she faked her virginity was because of pressure from her ex-boyfriend's family.
"I wanted to tell him the truth before our wedding because I thought he is open enough to accept me, " Xie said. "But one day I overheard the conversation between him and his mother, asking if he was my first man."
"Then I realized if virginity means so much to his family, then I have to do something," she added.
The worse was yet to come. The artificial virginal hymen ruined her would-be marriage, left her heartbroken and with pain whenever she urinated. After consulting doctors, Xie found she had contracted vaginitis as a result of the failed cover-up operation.
"I don't regret using a fake hymen, but I don't recommend others use one," Xie said after 800 yuan in medical bills hadn't rid her of vaginitis after eight months.
I don't know how many times we've written this, but I'll say it again: Hymens are no indication of anyone's sexual status, and expecting women to be 'pure' with no expectations for men is a nasty and dangerous double-standard. The trend seems to be lessening with the younger generations, but still...
The sellers of artificial hymens are doing a big business all over the world, including in the US. In China, you can get them in shops, online or through ads in public toilets. In a country where the average age of 'first contact,' as they call it, is 22, the older generation's expectations of female virginity are still going strong. Another reason the global practice of hymen reconstruction is booming there. And don't get me started on China Shrink Cream.
As for their toxicity, consumers are advised to go with the higher-priced Japanese brands costing up to 500 yuan ($70 US)for a 2-hymen (!?) box to avoid infections - and that tell-tale smell.