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Swedes say it is no longer a hymen -- it's a vaginal corona

December 8, 2009 |  1:31 pm

There is too much mythology and confusion surrounding that crucial body part known as the hymen, and a new name should help to dispel some of the myths, according to the Swedish Assn. for Sexuality Education, which goes by the acronym RFSU. That new name, which the group believes is more descriptive, is the "vaginal corona."

Etymologically, the term hymen comes from the Greek word for membrane.  In Swedish, it is called the modomshina, which translates as "virginity membrane." In fact, there is no brittle membrane or curtain, but rather multiple folds of mucous membrane. A vaginal corona, in other words.

"The vaginal corona is a permanent part of a woman's body throughout her life," said Asa Regner, RFSU secretary-general. "It doesn't disappear after she first has sexual intercourse, and most women don't bleed the first time. The myths surrounding the hymen were created to control women's freedom and sexuality. The only way to counteract this is by disseminating knowledge."

Last spring, RFSU published an informational booklet in Swedish to dispel some of the myths about the tissue. The booklet has now been translated into English and is available here. It is also available in Arabic and Sorani.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II

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