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What is the Hymen?
Where is the Hymen?
What is the Hymen for?
Structure of the Hymen
Development of the Hymen
Types of the Hymen
Hymen Related Organs
Diseases of the Hymen
Hymen Hygiene
Hymen and Period
Hymen and Tampons
Hymen and Sports, Ballet
Hymen and Horse Riding
Hymen and Cycling
Hymen and Sex
Hymen and Self- Pleasure
Hymen and Masturbation
Hymen and Wedding
Hymen and Husband
Hymen Self Examination
Hymen and Virginity
Value of an Intact Hymen
Virginity Testing
Hymen and Medicine
Hymen and Religion
Hymen and Law

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Hymen = Virgin Membrane

Structure of the Hymen, Page 3,
Go to Page 1, 2

Morphology of the hymen

The wholeness of the bride's hymen has been highly valued ever since Biblical times and bleeding on wedding night was and still in many cultures is considered a proof of premarital virginity.

Medical or forensic inspection of the hymen was unavoidable, at least to save  lives of some privileged adolescents with signs and symptoms of haematocolpos, or of some unlucky women accused for witchcraft while witches could not be virgins; Joan of Arc's (Jeanne d'Arc, ca. 1412 – 30 May 1431, The Maid of Orléans, La Pucelle d'Orléans),  virginity was confirmed in custody serveral times by inspection of her hymen. Many knowledgeable and experienced  medics were well aware of hymenal morphology, but were not necessarily enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge of such a sensitive topic, particularly in books, not to be accused of violating norms of decency. The first anatomical description of the hymen by Andreas Vesalius (1546) adressed nothing more but the fact that the hymen he inspected was ripped, probably as a result of masturbation ("It looked as if the girl had ripped the hymen with her fingers either for some frivolous reason..." as he put it). Such an approach is typical of hymenal checking for any cause. In an attempt to answer basic questions regarding sexual experience of the examined person her hymen is expected  to play a role of a black box on an aeroplane.

Unfortunately, fortunately the human body is far more complicated than technical devices and variants abound in normal anatomy and anatomic pathology as well as in all other medical sciences.

Until the end of the Second Millenium after Christ, the mainstream medical sciences developed numerous criteria for hymenal morphology indicative of vaginal penetration. Many of these criteria are now obsolete, because not too complicated research sent them to the history of medicine. And what about countless numbers of victims of false doctrines relating to the role of the hymen as a black box on a female body registering her sexual history to answer questions 'what she did' and/or 'what has been done to her' in this so sensitive area? While there is no way to help the blamed, the beaten, the killed, the divorced, the hated, the accused, the sentenced, the imprisoned on the basis of prejudice and junk science, still it is never not too late to stop more tragedies.

Hymen morphological variants are numerous and depend on genetic and environmental factors (GnE). Certainly, temporal and spatial differentiation of hymenal morphology makes impossble to draw any conclusion nowadays in London from what was described as a norm two thousand years ago in a secluded small scale society of a couple of clans interbreeding between themelves.

Hymen histology
Structure of the hymen under microscope
The hymen is composed of a connective tissue stroma, sandwiched between layers of nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium on both surfaces: the vestibular and the vaginal one.
Hymen histology Structure of the hymen under microscope  The hymen is composed of a connective tissue stroma, sandwiched between layers of nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium on both surfaces: the vestibular and the vaginal one.

The connective, functionally supportive framework of  the hymen contains varying numbers of collagen fibres, elastic fibres and vascular elements. These numbers increase with estrogen levels, and decrease when estrogen levels drop. Soon before ovulation and on the day of ovulation the hymen as well as all vestibular membrane become thick and pink. When the estrogen influence on the body becomes less important  in the rest of the days of the menstrual cycle, the hymen is rather thin and reddish-orange. Due to presence of large amount of yellow fibres of elastic tissue, the hymen may be extremely elastic. Moderate numbers of free nerve endings receptors for pain and Merkel disc receptors for touch displacement, and spatial separation, are only sensory receptors identified in the hymen. 

Non-professional virginity testing and medical examination conducted by inexperienced doctors lead to false conclusions since numerous features of hymenal morphology depened on developmental stage, age, day of menstrual cycle, exposition to xenoestrogens, past medical history,  differ between populations, families and individuals. On the top of it is sexual experience of the examined person, very often even not realized as such or leaving her with uncertainity as regards what really happened:

Subjective opinion:
I am a virgin with an intact hymen.
Meaning: I never had sexual intercourse and my hymen has not been injured
(stretched and/or torn)
Question 1.
Were you protected well enough in your infancy and early childhood?

Question 2.
Did you ever lose consciousness or experience a period of being dazed and confused because of an injury to your head, coma or consciousness impairing disease or intoxication (i. e. alcohol, substance)?

If answer is yes: were you protected well enough a time when you had little/none control over you body?

Question 3.
Did you ever masturbate or have had a direct sexual contact involving stimulation of your vaginal vestibule?

If answer is yes: do you realize how is it easy to damage the hymen when having stimulated the vaginal vestibule instead of the clitoris only? A strong sexual excitement not uncommonly switches off any control over one's own behaviour and a finger, object or penis can just slip into the vestibule, find easily its unwanted path to the hymen and within a second do an irreversible damage. Of course, only penis can devirginize, i.e. take virginity, but is hardly possible to distinguish whether the hymen has been spoiled by a penis in an act of defloration or by a finger or an object. Some professional assumptions following thorough examination can be justified though.