A woman’s virginity is more of everyone’s concern than the woman’s own personal affair. Everyone wants to know if the woman is a virgin, AKA “pure”, before marrying and so they conduct tests to ensure their son is marrying a virtuous woman. For the same, they conduct the white bedsheet test, which, according to them, is the best way to test a woman’s virginity.
When a virgin has penetrative intercourse for the first time, her vaginal tissue — hymen — tears leading to loss of blood. On the wedding night, a white bedsheet is spread to test the virginity, i.e., if there is blood on the sheet after sex, then hurray! The bride was a virgin. Recently, in 2016, a newly wedded man in Nasik called off his relationship as there was no blood on the bedsheet.
Is a woman’s character based on her virginity? If yes, who dictates that? This concept only serves the male pride since the Indian society is patriarchal. The man feels emasculated if he realizes his wife is not his sole property and was ‘used’ by someone else before meeting him. Why aren’t these virginity tests performed on men?
There is yet another way that people use to examine a woman’s virginity, which is the two-finger test that proves how sexually active the woman was before marriage. Since the hymen can tear off due to any stretching like sports and dancing, the virgin might not always bleed the first time she has intercourse. In a ‘two-finger test’, the doctor inserts two fingers into the vagina to test the laxity of vaginal muscles. If the vagina opens easily, the woman is habituated to intercourse, meaning, her vaginal muscles are not firm and that she was sexually active before marriage.
A sexually active unmarried woman in India is often labeled as ‘slut’ and ‘indecent’. Due to this calling of names, many women are hesitant to either talk about their sex lives or deny having premarital sex altogether. Talking about sex is still a taboo in India and therefore, many women refrain from having premarital sex. A sexually active woman is considered to bring shame to the family and is thought to never get a decent husband due to her conduct. She is called impure and her character is heavily judged.
Premarital sex is considered as a western concept by many, but what someone wishes to do with their bodies is their own choice and should not be a matter of discussion for others. A person can involve into casual sex, a one night stand, premarital sex, or sex with opposite gender, and it would be that person’s choice. Unless and until it is not forced, a person is free to do anything with their bodies (however, it is illegal to have sex if you’re below 18 years of age).
Just like in other fields, the scenario in modern India is changing when it comes to virginity and premarital sex. Men no longer look for a virgin bride but instead settle for a compatible lady. More women accept having sex before marriage and in general, more amount of women openly talk about sex and related concepts.
As the field of science and medicine progresses, newer technological advancements are seen. It is now possible to restore virginity through hymenoplasty, which is a surgical way of temporarily reviving the hymen. Many women are resorting to this surgery for saving their marriages and the impending woes that they would have to face otherwise.
Another easier option that women are turning to is the ‘fake hymens’. These are supposed to be inserted in vagina 20 minutes before the intercourse to fake the blood loss. However, a delay in doing so might absorb the product in the vagina, which might lead to vaginal infection.
Nevertheless, contrary to the medical advancements, it is still a shame that women have to undergo surgery to prove their character and purity in the 21st century. What are your thoughts on this?
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