Sexual Assault

Virginity Testing: A Mini Clinical Guide For a Thing That Doesn’t Exist

This post on Reddit’s Relationship Advice forum from a young woman whose fiance wanted her to have her hymen checked before their wedding (by his dad!) has been making its way around my Twitter feed, so I thought it would be a good time to re-up a few resources here. (BTW, here’s her update for all of you wondering.) Of course, virginity testing isn’t an actual thing, but we know that sometimes patients are brought in for that very purpose, so you can consider this a mini clinical guide:

Virginity and Hymen Testing: No Factual, Scientific or Medical Basis (Physicians for Human Rights)

Myths Surrounding Virginity: A Guide for Service Providers (International Rescue Committee)

Virginity Testing: A Systematic Review (Olson & Garcia-Moreno, 2017. Reproductive Health; FULL TEXT)

Eliminating Virginity Testing: An Interagency Statement (World Health Organization)

As always, I encourage you to follow the footnotes in these documents because there is a treasure trove of related readings that are relevant to practice.


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2 replies on “Virginity Testing: A Mini Clinical Guide For a Thing That Doesn’t Exist”

This had always been such a bizarre concept to me. And I must have had over 30 cases where patient families came in and expected this to be done. Great posting!

Her soon to be father-in-law wanted to check to see if she was a “virgin”…as if he knows what a hymen is or anything about female genitalia (obviously not). Ewwww…. I feel sorry for any female who comes into contact with those two. I’m just so creeped out by this – I’d wager there’s something seriously wrong with that whole family. Thankfully she got out in time!

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