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A thin, elastic membrane stretched partly or completely across the entrance of the vagina (vestibule). It has no known biological function. An intact hymen has long and erroneously been considered the hallmark of female virginity . The presence or absence of the hymen is no proof of virginity or its opposite; the hymen can be broken in the normal course of physical activities when the body is stretched strenuously, as in athletics, sports or exercises. It may be absent, small, thin and pliant, or, more rarely, tough and dense, completely blocking the vaginal entrance; it varies in size, shape and thickness from woman to woman . If it is too resistant to tearing it may require a small surgical incision, hymenotomy , or even removal, hymenectomy , before vaginal intercourse can take place .
There are four types:
-- 1. the annular-hymen , comprises a single large opening ;
-- 2. a septate hymen, has two semicircular openings separated by a vertical fold of tissue in the middle;
-- 3. a cribriform hymen, has multiple small openings;
-- 4. an imperforate-hymen , has no opening . This last type is rare.
ETYMOLOGY: Late Latin hymên , from Greek humên , thin skin or membrane; entered standard English in the 17 th century. Hymen was also the Greek-god of marriage .
SYNONYMS: bean ; bride's-pride ; bride's-proof ; buster ; cherry ; cherry-blossom ; crust ; darling-treasure ; delicate-tissue ; doorkeeper ; flower ; hymenal-ring ; issue-over-tissue ; jewel ; jewel-without-price ; Judys-tea-cup ; maid's-ring ; maiden-gear ; maidenhead ; maiden-ring ; perishable-commodity ; pipkin ; ring ; tail-fence ; tail-gate ; virgin-flower ; virgin head (virginhead); virgin-knot ; virgin-membrane ; virginal-membrane ; virginity .
SEE ALSO: cracked-pitcher ; deflower ; deflowered ; lost-her-honor ; virgo-intacta .
QUOTES: From Encyclopedia of Graffiti by Robert Reisner & Lorraine Wechsler (1974):-- ' Cure virgnity .'-- ' Carry me back to old virginity .'-- ' I'm a virgin , but I'm on the verge .'-- ' Help stamp out hymens .'
See Also: issue over tissue, jewel without price, crust, darling treasure, delicate tissue, maid's ring, maiden gear, maiden ring, ring, bride's pride, bride's proof, hymenorrhexis, perishable commodity, tail fence, virgin flower, virgin knot, virginhead, bed rite, imperforate hymen, cracked mortar, bed bugs, ballane, annular hymen, Are you keeping it for the worms?, virgin membrane, virginal membrane, hymenotomy, pachyhymenia, hymenal, hymenal ring, cherry girl, cherry blossom, buster, hymenectomy, tail gate, tailgate, doorkeeper, maidenhead, break, hymen, bean, jewel, intact, Judys tea cup, knock off a piece, crack a cherry, cracked pipkin, cracked pitcher, devirgination, defloration, sexual aperture, break a cherry, deflowering, altar of hymen, atresia vaginae, cop a cherry, busted cherry, hymenorrhaphy, hymeneal, pick a cherry, pipkin, temple of low men, pop somebody open, virginity, flower, cherry, deflower,
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