Guy in Egypt orders "artificial hymen kit" over the internet, blogs about it

hymen.jpgNews reports earlier this month created a global stir around an odd "made in China" product marketed to the Middle East - cheap artificial hymens. They're intended for use by brides who feel compelled to fake virginity, in countries where not being a virgin at marriage is a very big, very bad thing. Conservative Egyptian politicians wanted to ban the product. One curious (male) blogger in Egypt decided to order one.

Mohammad Al Rahhal picked up the contraband gyno-goods at his local post office in Egypt:

it had been opened by various puzzled customs and postal employees who, at a loss, defined the product in writing as "containing an unknown red liquid" - and awaited my description.
Al Rahhal told inspectors it was "cinematographic make-up," and took his hymen home.

Marwa Rakha over at Global Voices has more from Al Rahhal's product review (he explains how it works, sort-of NSFW if only for use of anatomically specific language). Also, a report at the UK Guardian.

Spoiler: Al Rahhal's verdict? This thing, and the thinking behind it, are totally stupid. "Morality is worst interpreted by anatomy," he says. Bravo, dude.


  1. I’m not a hymenologist, but aren’t there myriad reasons why someone would not have a hymen that don’t involve anything sexual? Do those excuses just not fly over there? Cheers for his viewpoint on the matter, very accurate and level-headed.

  2. Oh, ick. I mean, beyond all the issues of misogyny and misplaced societal value on virginity … cheap plastic and fake blood of unknown make-up (ink? food colouring?) in your vagina? Makes me shudder.

    Still, it’s certainly creepy that some men are *reassured* that they’re causing their lady discomfort and pain.

  3. “where not being a virgin at marriage is a very big, very bad thing” but only for women. It’s probably a matter of life and death for some of these women. And it’s most icky that this solution is more appealing than the alternative – bride burning, bride stoning, humiliating trial by a misogynist Islamic court.

  4. Yes, there are. Many women break their hymen as children doing physical activities like riding bikes, riding horses, etc. There are also women who are born without hymens. The idea that a virgin will be in immense pain and bleed during her first time is also incredibly outdated, and is simply not true.

    1. Yes, there are. Many women break their hymen as children doing physical activities like riding bikes, riding horses, etc. There are also women who are born without hymens.

      It gets worse – it’s not even a simple state of “hymen or no hymen”. Hymens don’t come in reasonably standardized formats like, say, eyeballs or ears. They generally come with holes in them, where present, because otherwise menstruation is a tad difficult (understatement here). How many holes, what size, and what arrangement is effectively random. I’m sure inheritance probably plays a role, but that’s more of a trivia factor than anything.

      It’s ENTIRELY POSSIBLE for a woman who has a completely “intact” hymen to have sex without “perforation” or rupture of the hymen – she happens to have the kind with one or more really big holes in it, for example. The same woman, before having sex, would probably fail a “virginity exam” despite being completely virginal and having an intact hymen, because the examiner doesn’t have a CLUE what they’re looking at.

      The idea that a virgin will be in immense pain and bleed during her first time is also incredibly outdated, and is simply not true.

      It’s connected to the confused folk-knowledge of what a virginal vagina is “supposed” to be like. Lack of foreplay and the husband possibly not having a clue what he should be doing doesn’t help, though.

      If she’s nervous and unlubricated, and he’s a jerk and there’s no foreplay, pain is a distinct possibility hymen or no hymen.

  5. I’m amazed that this fairly-large rectangle of plastic isn’t felt by the man. Couldn’t they create a, well, more “snug” version that fits like a cervical cap, maybe?

    1. If it fit like a cervical cap, and there was still penile penetration of the plastic, you’d have some big problems and probably wouldn’t be faking the pain.

      Sorry, this just made me giggle a little.

      The problem here is that the cervix is way back at the top of the vagina and really isn’t something the penis ought to go through. It’s a handy place to tightly fit things tightly. But not really for a “thing” like this. “You hit my cervix” is seldom used as a complement.

      1. Well, yes, I didn’t mean literally like a cervical cap, I was referring to the shape. I was thinking it might lodge just behind the G-Spot or something. But then it would be pushed back… So given that that doesn’t make sense, I still stand by my original statement — how the hell does the guy not realize there’s a great big sheet of plastic stuffed down there, especially since he may well not be a virgin himself and almost certainly isn’t wearing a condom?

  6. IF it makes the women in question feel better about themselves, I’d put it on par with breast enhancement.

    1. Breast enhancement is altering a physical state. The problem is that virginity is not just a physical state; it also includes the idea that you haven’t had sex before. So, it is, by definition, not something you can really regain, because you can only have sex for the first time *once.* A woman is a virgin or she isn’t.

      The only way a fake hymen can genuinely make a woman feel better about herself is if it helps her deny past actions and actually delude herself into thinking she’s a virgin again. That’s probably rare, in comparison to the women who are using this as a simple device of deception.

      The people “feeling better” about themselves here are the men who insist on marrying virgin brides, not the women.

      1. Good distinction. And yeah, I get the male role in this.
        Considering some of the sad ramifications of not being a virgin in certain cultures, “feeling better about themselves” probably falls short of what I want to say. More is at stake.

      2. Yeah, me personally would go with the “huh, no hymen?” bit as opposed to trying to put one over with this.
        Just wait till there’s hymen replacement surgery.

  7. Outside of the designed use, could be used for fun by couples doing a little role-playing…”be gentle, it’s my first time.”

    I personally would like one that is under pressure so upon rupture the liquid contents violently squirt out. Also I’d like one with cherry fruit filling.

  8. Hmmm. “Then the wedding night sheets were hung over the balconies in the morning, to let the rest of the world know how virginal the bride was, altho rumours of sheep’s blood and substitutions have been heard.” A visitor to Rome in the mid-20th century remarks on the surety of proofs, and the possibilities of fakery. Nothing new.

  9. I have never understood the obsession some cultures have with virginity (this includes many US Christians). I’d prefer that my wife WASN’T a virgin. Granted you have to worry about std’s then but once you are sure you are both clean then that isn’t an issue (and infidelity can happen even to people who marry as virgins). I’d want my wife to have some sexual knowledge and to have gotten her curiousity satisfied. I’m sure most woman feel the same way about men. If you are paranoid about her comparing you to previous partners then you have a problem, not her.

  10. Once again, the Chinese laugh all the way to the bank. I agree with the reviewer: stupid. I would hope some day the entire rationale behind this device is also widely accepted as stupid. But religion isn’t about to let the godless heathens/infidels win this round!

  11. I think I’ll get one of these for my Fleshlight. She says that she’s never been with another man, but things went a little too easily the first time, if you catch my drift.

    1. Oh, I catch your drift. You’re saying that you’re too small in the junk department to cause your fleshlight pain and get it to bleed the first time out of the packaging, unless those of us who are a bit more blessed in that department.

      Sucks to be you.


      I keed, I keed…

  12. They’re intended for use by brides who feel compelled to fake virginity, in countries where not being a virgin at marriage is a very big, very bad thing.

    I consider being bad at sex a very big, very bad thing!

  13. They should make an artificial premature ejaculation kit for cultures where male virginity is valued.

  14. I don’t know if my wife would have still wanted to marry me if she’d been a virgin on our wedding day.

    God knows the only thing I’m actually any good at is sex…

  15. “The idea that a virgin will be in immense pain and bleed during her first time is also incredibly outdated, and is simply not true.”

    Trust me, sometimes this *is* true. My wife is from Cambodia and was a virgin when we met. In Cambodian culture virginity is considered very important. Her first sexual experience was more than a little a bit painful and she did bleed.


  16. If I were a woman in one of these societies I would spend a lot of time on sleight of hand practice. If my social standing, safety and well-being depended on producing blood I’d practice until I could pull a rabbit out of it without anyone being able to spot the trick.

  17. I think maybe the likelihood of having a hymen still intact by the time you have sex for the first time and how difficult or painful it is may depend a little on how old you are when you lose your virginity. I was 19 the first time I had sex and didn’t have a bit of pain or a drop of blood. I’m guessing that by that point, I probably already had just lost my hymen somehow else over the years. Plus, I think my vagina was already at it’s full mature size, so it was probably as ready as it would ever get to accept a penis size-wise.

    I had lots of friends who had sex at much younger ages and many of them reported having a lot more difficulty, like pain and blood and such.

    I’m thinking if you’re a part of a culture where girls marry at younger ages, more of them are more likely to still have their hymens and to have not fully-matured size vaginas so people there equate the norm of having pain and bleeding and hymens with being virginal instead of being young, maybe? Plus, I’m thinking if you add in the views of women in the bedroom in general to the equation it multiplies that effect. If it’s young girls marrying older physically mature men who don’t particularly care if the girl enjoys the sexual experience, it’s going to be a lot more likely that it’s going to be rougher and bloodier.

  18. i do agree the slight of hand has been around for a long long time. All brides probably needed the just in case chicken blood even if they were virgin due to normal hymen breakage previous to sex and the differnces between individuals. Not to note both people passing out from drinking too much and the effect of drinking too much on guys. How many couples actually broken hymens on the wedding night back in the middle ages???? we never should have let men find out we even have those things.

  19. I’m fully expecting some Muslim apologist to explain that women not being allowed to have sex before marriage is really feminist and empowering.

  20. I see a business opportunity. $30 or even $15 is way too much to charge for this, unless that is in Egyptian currency. Maybe $5, or $10 for a pack of 3. And shipping it from China is way too expensive, and slow.

    The way to do this is to have the website and payment processing run from a “liberal” foreign country, say US or Europe (where they cannot be raided and shut down by local authorities). A local manufacturer just pops the thing in the mail and it arrives in 2 days (instead of 2 weeks for something from China). It wouldn’t even pass through customs.

    The website and adverts could be done in a way to make it clear that the seller is not based within the country. The politicians can just blame the degenerate westerners, but there’s nothing they can do as the seller is not within the country. Unless the local manufacturer sells directly, it’s unlikely to be “caught”.

  21. When I was young and stupid I had sex with virgins a couple times. After that, I swore off “breaking them in” forever. Yes, there was pain and bleeding (and surprise, on my part, since I didn’t know in advance) but the psycho-dramas attendant on being a woman’s “first” are really something best avoided if at all possible.

    I realize my sample size is too small to be representative (rim-shot!) but it was subjectively quite awful and I am now happily married to a woman who already knew what she was doing before she met me.

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