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Lies My Bloody Sheets Told Me

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From time to time we republish our favorite posts. This originally ran in November 2011.

So, this appeared on stfu, believers tumblr yesterday. Assuming it's not a tasteless hoax, this is a photo some guy took after having intercourse with his wife on their wedding night. According to the person who re-posted it, it was intended to prove that "while he isn’t ‘pure’, she is."

Even if it is a hoax, it is also what we call a 'teaching moment.' So, let us analyze this train wreck:

1. The status of someone's hymen and the presence or lack of blood has nothing to do with whether a woman has had intercourse or not. So proud hubby, all this high-fiving over making your wife bleed displays a totally misguided* and dangerous* mis-understanding* of how female bodies* work.

2. Also, dude, additional high-fiving over the fact that your wife was 'pure' on her wedding night is sort of sad especially since you want us all to know you weren't. Double standard, much? If she did, in fact, abstain from intercourse until marriage, I truly hope it did not stem from some fear that no man would marry her unless she was 'pure.'

3. Some folks were doubting that this was hymenal-breakage blood because there was so much of it, saying it looked more like the aftermath of period sex. Well, it does. But who knows? Even though many women don't bleed at all, some bleed a lot. And some continue to bleed occasionally throughout their sexual lives. It's sensitive down there! Our bodies are all different and there's no 'right' way to react to something in your vagina, whether it's the first time or the 56th.

4. Did I mention that whether the blood came from her monthlies, her vaginal tissue or a stray chicken liver, it says nothing meaningful about her sexual history?

5. Now readers, I need to talk to you. There's been a lot of ew-ing over the blood. Get over it - it's blood. Wanna know what's really gross? A guy who violates his brand new wife's privacy by displaying a sheet covered with her brand new wife's blood on Facebook and then crows about it.

* The hymen wasn't even 'discovered' until 1544 when an anatomist went looking for the reason some women bled when they first had intercourse. He identified a small bit of tissue at the opening of the vagina, and because men were so desperate to medicalize virginity, they made the hymen their signpost. By the way, there were lots of other tests for virginity, equally useless. Just one of the many ridiculous examples: If a woman smells lettuce and then pees, she's clearly not a virgin because of the 'open channel' between her mouth and vagina. Seriously.

Headline with apologies to Mordechai Richler

More on virginity testing here and hymenology here. And vampire hymens here.