The Broken Hymen Myth: What The Church Gets Wrong About Sex

The Broken Hymen Myth: What The Church Gets Wrong About Sex

There’s nothing more taboo in the church, especially the black church, than sex. In the unspoken hierarchy of sin, any form of sex that falls outside of marriage between two people of the opposite sex and the missionary position is to be damned. But one notion that has peaked my interest is the concept of celibacy and how it relates to female sexuality. Is a woman’s value and worth attached to her intact hymen?

There’s a story trending about a couple who waited until marriage to have sex. (I won’t link the article. You can Google it. I don’t want anyone to think I’m attacking her or her marriage, even though her and her husband seem to be going on a PR campaign about their marriage, making it hard to do otherwise.)

Waiting until marriage to have sexual intercourse is the optimal goal, at least for most people. Finding that one person to spend the rest of your sexual life with reduces the chances of physical, emotional and spiritual pain. (Note, that it doesn’t eliminate the chances of experiencing such pain.) Their story is truly a testimony. However, the story gets strange. The virgin bride gave her dad on HER wedding day, in front of 600 guests, a certificate, signed by her doctor, proving that her hymen is still intact.

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Why is she going to such lengths to prove that she’s a virgin? The idea of a women giving her FATHER a certificate from her doctor proving her virginity is jarring on so many levels.

Your hymen being attached doesn’t prove your virginity nor should it.

This is why I think each church needs a sexologist. A woman’s hymen can break even if she’s still a virgin. For a doctor to suggest otherwise is irresponsible. I then read an article that tried to justify her actions pointing to Deuteronomy 22:13-18 where women proved their “purity” by presenting a sheet stained with blood to witnesses. Here’s another fallacy in this argument. Not every female virgin bleeds during intercourse. As mentioned before, your hymen can break before intercourse ever happens. In addition to that, if your partner is effective at lubrication (foreplay), a woman may not experience bleeding at all during her first sexual interaction. Now, I’m not dismissing the Bible, but context is very important. In the Old Testament, women and men were cursed, and a lot has changed since then.

Stop using the word “pure” to define a woman’s virginity.

The church seems to define a woman’s sexuality in black and white. Reducing a woman’s sexuality to pure or impure is damaging. The idea of purity is just another way of controlling a woman’s sexuality. It’s an idea that a woman is only worthy of respect and honor if her hymen’s intact. If it’s not, she must denounce her sexual past and become a “born again virgin.” It’s psychologically damaging, especially for those women who were sexually abused. It makes them feel like they’re of no value. I remember a prominent preacher, who was a victim of rape, suggesting that having a wet dream (nocturnal emissions) was her way of reliving her rape. The preacher went on to say that it was a demon raping her in her sleep. Having wet dreams are normal, especially during puberty. Imagine how damaging this message is not only to victims of sexual abuse but also to boys and girls going through puberty. A demon is raping you every time you have a wet dream. Are they no longer pure?

A woman shouldn’t need a man to validate her sexuality.

Anyone, who isn’t her sexual partner, should know your vagina and its hymen that well, especially another man. Your sex life is your sex life. Your vagina is for you and your husband to explore. If you promised to save yourself until marriage and you’re over 18, which means your father is no longer responsible for your well-being, then that promise is just between you and God. The belief that a woman has to verify her virginity to anyone who isn’t having intercourse with her is strange. Even if I was your husband, you don’t have to prove to me your virginity. That’s just another way for a man to police a woman’s sexuality.

Sex isn’t everything, but it sure is a lot of something.

Stop being dismissive of sex. If sex isn’t everything, well tell me how did you come into existence. We were created to have sex. There’s nothing lustful about wanting to have sex. It’s called sexual attraction, and it’s a natural part of life. You may not recognize it, but the human body was designed to pick it’s optimal sexual mate. When a woman ovulates, she dresses and acts more sexual. A man, whether consciously or subconsciously, notices this. This is what makes the human body interesting. It’s not a sin to be sexually attracted to anyone. We were not created to be asexual and sexually dormant up until marriage. This is why the news of Terry Crews and his wife abstaining from sex for three months can be misleading. I admire couples like Devon Franklin and Megan Good that present a different take on Christianity and sexuality, where sex isn’t dismissed as secondary to their relationship, but a commitment that is both spiritual and physical.

Waiting to have sex until marriage is honorable and it should be celebrated. But it shouldn’t be used as a tool to punish a woman’s sexuality.

  • Loreal M. Jackson

    Good article. I disagree with the following points: I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with this girl showing her father (using whatever measures she chose to take) that she was still a virgin. It’s very much so his business. As an unmarried woman, your father is your head. This doesn’t end in adulthood. As such, he was responsible for her. She wanted to show him that he achieved his goal. Recognition means a lot to parents. We want to know that our children are following the course we try to set out for them. We want to know that our methods are effective. And telling him publicly made it even more special, because we want to know that our kids get it. We need to know that they understand why we made certain choices and preached certain messages. Honoring him, acknowledging this accomplishment, meant that she understood.
    Also, while I agree that virginity does not equal purity, as many virgins find all sorts of ways to engage in sexual conduct and are often times unpure in areas of character, it is my position that sexual purity should always be the goal of any unmarried Christian. I believe that using the excuse that we are sexual beings creates Christians who allow sin in every area of their lives and are separated from the church. In full disclosure, I am a 30 year old single (meaning unmarried – sometimes you have to specify because people act like they don’t know what single means) woman who is a born again virgin. I was born again 5 years ago, and since then have had periods when I was, again, sexually active. I can tell you first hand that once you’ve received the revelation, for yourself, that sex outside of marriage is sin, you can’t just brush that under the rug. I was with a man that I had loved…(just realized that I don’t know how to leave this comment. I’ll be back. Really hope I haven’t wasted time)

    • Cypress Moss

      Thanks for commenting. You did good! I see your comment. Haha!

      I have three questions. What is the biblical foundation for becoming a born again virgin? Where are the words born again virgin? Would you find it strange for a man to say he’s a born again virgin?

      I’m starting to learn to equate sin with death. Anything that causes death spiritually, physically and mentally is a sin. I understand that people in the Biblical days got married once they hit puberty. I’m just asking the church to take out the stigma of pre-martial sex as though having sex isn’t natural and to accept that people will continue to have sex before marriage. The church needs to get real because people who aren’t taught about safe sex are in danger, particularly black people. We’re the most religious. Yet, we have the highest HIV rate. Something’s not adding up.

      This leads to my second question, is she making a mockery of Christianity knowing that scientifically that there’s no way to prove that you’re a virgin, especially through a hymen test?

      Third question, what constitutes a covering? Is it gender specific? Do women need men to cover them?