The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: A girl thing: perceptions concerning the word "hymen" among young Swedish women and men.

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflMay 27, 2011 11:00 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

"Introduction: This study investigated, from a gender perspective, perceptions concerning the word "hymen" among students in a Swedish senior high school. Methods: Students answered an open-ended question: What do you think about when you hear the word hymen? The answers were analyzed by using content analysis. Results: In total, 198 students, aged 17 to 18 years, answered the question. The theme "a fragile biological structure in the female body" described how the vast majority of the girls and 57% of the boys associated the hymen with a thin membrane that breaks during first vaginal intercourse. The theme "a symbol and manifestation of feminine virginity" described the symbolic meanings of having or not having a hymen. The theme "questioning the existence of the hymen" revealed the doubts that some had about its existence. Discussion: Most of the students associated the hymen with a breakable membrane. This is problematic. It may lead to misunderstandings about virginity or about bleeding during sexual intercourse. Changing these views about the hymen is important to correct such misunderstanding but may be a significant challenge. In modern medical discourse, in health care, and in popular speech, there are few discussions about the hymen as a social construct, indicating that more gender research concerning hymen-related issues is needed."

Photo: flickr/Editor B

Related content: Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Scientific analysis of Playboy centerfolds reveals Barbie-like vulvas. Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: And the grossest study award goes to… Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: An explanation for the shape of the human penis. WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Magazine Examples
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.