Sex & Relationships

How to Have Sex Like a Virgin for Only 30 Bucks

Who doesn't want to have sex with virgins?

Purity has its price: it's $29.90. At least that's how much it costs to obtain the "artificial virginity hymen," a plastic baggie filled with mysterious red crap meant to resemble the chaste secretions of a recently deflowered virgin.

"No more worry about losing your virginity," reads the Web site of Gigimo, the Chinese sex-toy company that distributes the product. (Whew!) "With this product, you can have your first night back anytime."

To bring back that magic, all you have to do is:

Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable.

On the site's landing page, a very young-looking woman in a pink nighty, her bare breast partially covered by a digitally imposed pink heart, appears to be really looking forward to having her fake virginity taken.

Another enticing illustration helpfully shows the end result; unsurprisingly, it looks like someone splattered some fake blood on something. That fake blood, according to the site, is "clinically proven nontoxic to human" and has "No side effects, no pain to use, no allergic reaction." The clinical studies aren’t cited.

Another thing the movie prop has going for it is the low price, at least compared to the cost of a hymenoplasty, the hymen-reconstructive procedure brightly referred to as "revirgination." Those cost between $2,500 and $4,500 a (non)pop, according to a Web site that compiles useful hymen-related information and is sponsored, of course, by doctors who perform the procedure.

While there is no hard data on the prevalence of hymenoplasties, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2005that plastic surgeons have noticed a sizable uptick in requests for the procedure.  Most doctors don't perform the surgery, but many plastic surgeons who do are upping their advertising on billboards, magazines and on the radio.

Revirgination.net, a Web site devoted to a variety of weird things women can do to their vaginas for lots of money -- designer vagina, vaginal rejuvination -- sings the praises of surgical "revirgination" thusly:

The virginity of a woman is valued for religious, social and even economic reasons. Hymen gets disrupted after the first intercourse or even after strenuous physical activity or tampon use. Anyway, you wouldn't want your boyfriend/future husband feel ashamed because your hymen no longer existed.

Indeed!

So, shoving a pouch filled with strange chemicals in your vagina isn't the worst thing you can do to it?

Gigimo did not reply to AlterNet's queries about where and how much of the product is sold, so it's hard to know how popular the artificial hymen is in the U.S. The rise in vaginal procedures though, would point to a pretty good potential market.

And the toy fits neatly within our culture's bizarre relationship with gender and sexuality. Women's purity and virginity are fetishized (see: purity balls, promise rings, the fact that abstinence education was promoted by a presidential adminstration ... ) at the same time that porny, oversexualized images seep into every pocket of our culture. What better way to combine those two things than sexualized virginity? (See also: Natalie Dylan, the 22-year-old woman who received million-dollar bids when she auctioned her "virginity" online.)

Not to knock people's fetishes. But as the site's marketing spiel makes clear, the product is marketed to tap into a preoccupation with female sexual purity; one obviously tied to conservative ideas about women's proper roles and hinging on extreme double standards about sex. 

Or, as Jessica Valenti has argued, our culture's tendency to place womens' value in what does or doesn't happen between their legs.  

The marketing of the product -- which is brilliantly vague enough to be potentially directed at varied potential users -- also points to another, much more disturbing fact: sadly, what would be used as a fetish or solution to weird hang-ups in the U.S. may have life-or-death consequences in other parts of the world.

For women whose virginity is valued more than their lives, artificial "revirginators" like Gigimo's could serve as life-savers (if, that is, they are even remotely convincing).

And while the 30 bucks and Internet access required to obtain the product probably puts it outside the reach of many women around the world, it's undoubtedly cheaper than the hymenoplasties some are forced to seek out to avoid potential ostracization or death.

According to Time, in places like Tunisia, Algeria or Morocco -- popular destinations for the procedure for conservative Muslims who live in Europe -- the procedure costs $300.

A recent uproar in Egypt shows how the product, an absurd oddity when viewed from a Western perspective, threatens oppressive sexual and gender mores in that country.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that a Gigimo ad prompted conservative Egyptian parliamentarians to call for a ban on the product, following general wailing about the concurrent destruction of the country's social and moral fabrics.

An Egyptian author and blogger quoted by the AP says the product empowers women. "It sticks it in the face of every male hypocrite," she said.

A strange destiny for a product that seems to impose sexist notions of purity in a Western context. 

Tana Ganeva is an associate editor at AlterNet.
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Activism
Drugs
Economy
Education
Election 2018
Environment
Food
Media
World