So the Sweedish Association for Sexuality Education has renamed the hymen the vaginal corona and their reasons are fascinating.
Part of it is an attempt to 'dispel some of the myths surrounding the hymen and virginity.' A lot of which has harmed women for centuries, and still harming women across the world today.
A member of the team is quoted as saying:
It was portrayed as the boundary between guilt and innocence…girls have been raised to protect their hyman, not to run, jump, or ride horses. But in reality there is no membrane; rather there are folds of mucous membrane which form a crown around the vaginal opening.
This scientist then explained that the eptymology of the word 'hymen' comes from the Greek word for membrane. However, unluke a fragile membrane the hymen appears to be multiple folds of mucous membrane and there's tremendous variation:
Every woman's corona looks different - just like ear lobes, noses and labia - and differs in size, colour and shape... It is slightly pink, almost transparent, but if it's thicker it may look a little paler or whitish. It may resemble the petals of a rose or other flower, it may be carnation-shaped, or it may look like a jigsaw piece or half-moon.
They are hoping that the traditional Sweedish term - mödomshinna- or 'virginity membrane' will no longer be favoured over the new word: krans, which refers to something shaped like a circle.
The association also wants to communicate that the hymen has little to do with an indication of virginity, saying that that whilst the corona can experience trauma ,'breaking' in not the correct term:
The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman's body throughout her life. It doesn't disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don't bleed the first time. The myths surrounding the hymen were created to control women's freedom and sexuality. The only way to counteract this is by disseminating knowledge.
I think this could be comforting science to anyone who feels their experience of losing their viriginity didn't fit a 'standard' that involves pain, bleeding and physical change. And if they did, it's just part of a spectrum of possibilites.
Semantics aside, does anyone have any opinions or experiences they would like to share about how we regard this tiny part of a woman to be so indicative of her sexuality and experience?
I like that this study can also be enjoyed by anyone who feels that the definition of sex to be 'penis-enters-vagina' and *poof* you're not a virgin, to be a bit old hat. Albeit a standard, I think sex has a lot more to do with what's between your ears than your legs.
I'm not the kind of person to get too fussed over a word but I think when it comes to sex, there are many words that influence how we think. The word 'hymen' for me always suggests there is something there that could and should be broken and again this feels outdated.
I've always found it difficult to find research on this part of anatomy with more than a summary of 'it's a flap, your virginity etc, whatever.'
Jezebel covered the story here: http://jezebel.com/5421674/rose-by-any-other-name-swedes-rename-the-hymen
So, has your corona crossed your mind, OA?