What is a Virginity Test?

Virginity tests in different cultures have ranged from checking the clarity of urine to standing above a wine bottle and smelling for wine on a her breath, to inserting a wax penis into the now-de-hymenized virgin.

Even today in cultures where virginity is highly prized, and where lack of virginity in a young bride can lead to annulment of a marriage, violence or even death, young women are often taken to doctors who check the integrity of the hymen and let the families (hers and her prospective husband’s) know the result of this test. This is not an anatomically accurate way of knowing whether a female has had vaginal sex, for various reasons:

  • A thick hymen can remain partially attached even after vaginal penetration
  • A hymen can be torn by sport or sometimes by tampon use

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