Though she did beautiful paintings, Georgia O'Keefe is to blame for the references comparing our junk to flowers.
The awesome ladies at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books recently did a post on the hymen. I did one last year touching on the subject. Both our posts were inspired by different points.... but the comments section revealed something disturbing...and depressing.
"Contrary to popular myth, the presence or absence of a hymen in no way indicates that a girl or women has or has not had vaginal intercourse. The hymen of some girls totally disappears prior to birth. The tissue of the hymen is very thin, it does not take much tension on the surrounding tissues to cause it to stretch open. Normal childhood activities like spreading the legs widely during gymnastics, riding a bicycle, playing on the jungle gym, and masturbating can result in the hymen disappearing prior to puberty. Later usage of tampons, and the insertion of fingers into the vagina may also stretch the hymen. Some hymen are elastic enough that when a penis is inserted slowly and gently, it may stretch versus tear, so that when the penis is removed, the hymen returns to it prior shape. It appears that about 50% of women experience bleeding when they first have intercourse. This explains the common practices of getting married while a girl is menstruating, inserting a fertilized bird's egg into the vagina, and the staining of the bed sheets with the blood from a chicken when proof of virginity was required."
The huge point of relief for me was the proof against the concept of "A girl always bleeds after her first time." I didn't (though there was excruciating pain) and for awhile was convinced I was raped as a child or something...since I didn't do gymnastics or ride horses.
So, many girls don't even have hymens. YAY! And that's why when I have virgin heroines, I don't mention a "barrier." I just stick to the discomfort factor because hell, even without a hymen, "going where no man has gone before" is a painful experience.
....Oh, and a tiny defense to the authors writing from the hero's POV. Most men are even more ignorant than we are on female anatomy. Proof lies with the previous comment mentioning the dumbass males Gynos and the one about males being unaware that the urethra and vagina are separate holes. My husband is in his 40's and didn't know... and my 1st boyfriend scratched his head after we did it and said, "Weren't you supposed to bleed n' stuff?"
That said, though I still wouldn't write a "deflowering" scene from the man's POV, I understand why many authors have done so and the way they did it."
As you can see, I put in my own two cents, but that's not my main point here. What really freaked me out was the reactions in the comments. Many were along the lines of "I never knew where my hymen was" and "My mom/ health class/ whatever" never covered the hymen," "My gynecologist said I was abnormal" and "I didn't even know where my clitoris was!"
The Smart Bitches' point was more about errors in the technicalities and character reactions to THE FIRST TIME.
...But I think there's a bigger issue. WHY do so many romance authors "get it wrong?"
I believe it is mainly two reasons: A.) All women (and men) are different, so naturally their first time will be different. and B.) WE ARE ALL VERY UNAWARE OF OUR OWN SEXUALITY.
My question is: WHY? Seriously, why are things like the hymen and clitoris not covered in any basic health or reproductive anatomy class? Why do many males..and some females not know that a woman pees out of a different place than the one with which she gives birth? What purpose does this ignorance serve?
It cannot be good. Besides creating ridiculous misconceptions in the romance genre, it seems to really be doing damage in real life with real societies. My next rants (not scheduled in any order or time frame) will be on other aspects of female sexuality: the clitoris, the g-spot, and female ejaculation.