Monday, May 10, 2010

On Anatomy and Romance Plots. Pt. 1

Today we get to talk a little bit about the female sex organs, and since they are far more complicated that even I had imagined, it won't be the first time.
For now, check out this very interesting tidbit I found:

"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."

Quote from site: Anatomy of the Vulva

Now think of all the "deflowering" scenes in romance novels, especially historicals. Only 50% bleed? That just opens up a plethora of plot twists.

On a more serious note, it also reassures a few of us that we aren't blocking out memories of childhood rape.

And as for the "fertilized bird's egg," Ewwwww!!!

So, if you have a virginal character, she may not have a hymen. If she doesn't, how will this affect your plot? Will the hero think that she's slept around? Or will he be aware of the fact that if he's gentle, the sheets won't be gory?

Thoughts, please!


  1. The anatomy aspect of this trouble me in that I've heard of women/girls physically in danger if they can't prove they've bled their first time. It's frightening, especially given that naturally, half of women won't bleed. I think that opens up for a lot of discussion, fictional or not!

  2. I know, huh! Seriously, for years I thought I was sexually abused as a child since I didn't bleed, but to think of those poor women whose lives depend on a biological inconsistency... my heart goes out to them.

  3. Even in my contemporaries, that could lead to a whole bunch of confusing situations...

    Hey thanks for the research! (and the photo, which is stunningly sensual - nice find).

  4. Interesting! I honestly never gave this much thought. Of course, I've never written about a virgin. Hee!

    [EDIT} Had to come back and tell you... my word verification? Straprod. No, I'm not kidding.

  5. And here I'd always thought I'd lost my virginity to a tampon.:-)

    50% eh? Normally my characters are already sexually active, but I do have this one scene . . .