Hi, I’m Brian. Welcome to Tubesteak, a regular column where I talk about penises mostly and what I do with mine and what you should do with yours. There will also be some discussion of cocks, cocksuckers, cuckolds, and maybe, just maybe, a clitoris or, in the case of today’s article, a fake hymen. But, honestly, mostly just dicks.
My boyfriend did not want to break my hymen. There is probably a certain sect of men who get off on popping cherries like they’re a row of bubble wrap blisters, but I’m not a girl and this wasn’t my first time. And my hymen was going to be messy. These are probably all reasons my boyfriend was less than enthusiastic about this little experiment.
A couple of months ago my editor told me about Joan of Arc Red, a fake hymen made in China and marketed mostly in Japan. Essentially, it is a piece of plastic with a bit of dye inside designed to let a sullied woman pretend her precious membrane is still intact and appear to bleed upon intercourse. Yes, Joan of Arc might have been a murderous delusional schizophrenic psychopath, but at least she was always a virgin. When my editor originally told me about this thing, the idea was to get someone with a real vagina to try it. A couple of days later, however, I stumbled upon this article in New York magazine ***. I sent him a link to the bad news, he asked if I’d like to test it out in my butt, and here we are.
When I first proposed this experiment to my boyfriend he said yes in the abstract, but when the time for participation arose so did his excuses for not doing it. He thought it would be sloppy and asked if they were made in China, as if his balls might somehow get lead poisoning from it. The only thing that didn’t arise was the one part we were going to need to get the job done. Who knew that fucking a guy with a butt hymen would be so unappealing to a red-blooded gay American male?
After a long week of nagging and some negotiation, we put the towel down on the floor and got to work. Each box is wood paneled, so it looks like a million 80s rec rooms where real hymens were busted while Porky’s played on HBO. Inside, on a delicate pink satin pillow, are two foil packets, each containing a hymen. At first I didn’t understand why you’d need two of them. By using the second one, wouldn’t you be letting your partner know you’d faked it the first time? By the end of the evening, however, it all made sense.
I ripped the first one open like it was a Cracker Jack prize and pulled out the folded up membrane. Speaking of Cracker Jacks, it was almost like a temporary tattoo with a dollop of red dye in the middle and some gritty substance that looked like those maroon tablets the dentist made you chew to highlight all the plaque on your teeth.
The instructions on the box were in Chinese, but the only character I recognised was “woman,” so I figured they didn’t really apply to me anyway. I looked up a how-to online, and it said I should rub the hymen between my hands and then insert it into a moistened vagina. I rubbed gently but still managed to tear a giant hole down the middle of it where, in a perfect world, a dong would be slitting it open. This is why they come in packs of two.
I opened up a second and just plunged it into my pucker. It said I should go to the second knuckle, but the whole thing is only about the size of two postage stamps and I didn’t want that little guy up there unanchored. I only put it in there to the first knuckle, but it still kept sliding around like a stray anal bead. Trying to maintain my boyfriend’s erection throughout this whole ordeal was as difficult as keeping Courtney Love out of the medicine cabinet (ayo!), but I did it. Tragically, when we were finally ready, we discovered that all the maneuvering had ripped another hymen.
“I think your asshole has a moisture problem,” my boyfriend said. He was right. The science behind this thing seems to be that the pussy juice mixes with this tissue-thin faux virginity indicator to bond it to the genitals. Since I don’t have a pussy or the resulting juice, there was no way to get the hymen to stick.
The internet instructions said to wet the hymen if it was too dry, so I ran it under a bit of tap water and tried to throw it in my ass once again. This time the whole thing turned into a pasty red ball of mush. When I pulled my finger out of my crack, there was something that looked like a pink loogie on the end of it. I ran off to the bathroom to pick hymen boogers out of my butt hair. I also had to wipe several times to get rid of the dye. The dye, by the way, seemed way too bright for hymen blood (I’m guessing). I think it would need to be much darker and thicker to actually fool some jamoke into thinking he just plucked an untouched flower. Then again, horny guys will believe almost anything.
When I got back from the bathroom, my boyfriend was lying on the towel completely flaccid. “Does this mean we’re done?” he asked with a bit of an exasperated smile. I knew we still had one more chance, but it seemed like what was good for the goose was not as good for the gander. We have to accept our biological difference and, as amusing as it might be to pose as a woman, it just wasn’t the same. Sure, I’m no stranger to penetration, but I’ll never know what it’s like to have a cunt, fake or otherwise.
So, I made out with my man to get the ball rolling (and his balls roiling!) again, and when everything was good and firm I climbed aboard without fuss or artifice and took the whole hog. Who wants to fuck a virgin vagina when you can have an experienced asshole?
Previously – How to Quit Porn and Not Entirely Ruin Your Life
The Artificial Hymen Kit is exactly what it sounds like: Sealed in silver packages and nestled in a bed of pink satin in a small wooden box, the kit contains two “prosthetic membranes.” They will “restore your virginity in five minutes with this new technologically advanced product. Kiss your deep dark secret goodbye and marry in confidence,” says the advertisement at HymenShop.com. For 30 dollars, Hymen Shop ships from Hong Kong to just about anywhere in the world. Simply click, buy, insert, and voilà: virginity restored.
In nations where virginity can be a literal issue of life and death, the Artificial Hymen Kit is controversial: Egyptian lawmakers attempted to restrict access after a blogger imported a kit from China. But its origin is less dire. Invented in the early nineties by a Japanese kinesiologist, distributors say the kits are popular in the fetish, porn, and sex industries. (The manufacturer credits “prostitutes in nightclubs on the gulf of Thailand” for popularising it.) Among the first to market the product internationally, Hymen Shop now sells thousands of units each year, primarily to the United States.
When I broke my first, real hymen in my teens — during an over-the-jeans dry-humping session with Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King playing in the background — I wasn’t even aware it was happening. So test-driving the Artificial Hymen Kit was an opportunity to lose my virginity all over again.
After sacrificing one hymen to The Cut’s photo lab, I arrive at my boyfriend’s house with three “prosthetic membranes” in my purse. Despite a request that I wine and dine him in exchange for participation, I find he has cooked dinner and is drinking wine while playing video games with intense focus. He can do whatever he wants tonight because he’s lending his penis to science, journalism, and, worst of all, to the Internet, where his mother and seventh grade math teacher will have access to it.
The directions on my Artificial Hymen Kit (color: “Joan of Arc Red”) are printed in Chinese on the inside lid of the box. Translated into English for my benefit, they explain there is a fifteen-minute window after the fake hymen has been inserted to have sex. This vagina will self-destruct in fifteen minutes. After a brief bedroom warm-up session with my boyfriend, I excuse myself to the bathroom, kit and instructions in hand.
I open the first packet and take out what looks like a clear plastic Listerine strip folded into eighths. There is a gruesome amount of bright red liquid inside the folds. I “completely unfold the hymen,” as step No. 4 in the instructions indicates. Some dried-up flakes of red fall from the plastic. I don’t remember red dust at my original hymen-loss, but maybe every hymen-loss is a snowflake unto itself: a tiny and unique horror story floating in the wintertime of our innocence.
“Using an index finger, insert the artificial hymen into the vagina.” Before I can decipher whether the hymen should go in blood-side up or blood-side down— rolled up like a joint? crumpled into a ball?— the film dissolves in my hands. I am covered in bright red dye. I am down one hymen. There is red on every surface of the sink. CSI: New York will need the whole hour to solve this one.
I tear open the next packet, panicked that the clamminess of my hands will ruin my second fake hymen. Dissolve once, shame on me. Dissolve twice, and — oh God, what am I doing with my life?
With some prodding, I stuff it in my vagina like decorative tissue paper in a fancy gift bag, blood-side down. The film clings to my finger, now the color of a red-velvet cupcake. As I Lady Macbeth my hands in the sink, I start to laugh maniacally. Nothing is funny. Fearing laughter will shake my hymen loose, I sprint back to the bedroom in search of a horizontal position.
I discover my boyfriend has spread a red and white beach towel beside him on the bed. It says PUERTO RICO. He got it on vacation with his family, he tells me.
Missionary is the only option here. During the delicate deflowering process there is no need for the Funny Business. As soon as he’s in, I shriek-yodel question after question: Can you feel it? Is it gross? Does it hurt? Should we stop? Are we breaking up? Are you mad at me? What are you thinking about? What about now? Can you feel it? What about now? I sound like a squawking turkey.
My boyfriend answers all of the questions in the order they are received: He can’t feel it. Everything feels normal. He’s not mad. We’re not breaking up. Mostly he’s just thinking about sex. Still can’t feel it. No, not even now.
I can’t feel that slimy piece of plastic, either. I worry it has been pushed further inside me, but after seeing how quickly the first one melted, I know it must be gone.
Soon our banter has dissolved like the fake hymen in my vagina, and we are quiet. Me because I am imagining the Magic School Bus journey my liquefied hymen is making through my body, and him because he is just having regular sex with me, and we generally don’t “riff” when we’re doing that.
Then we are done. Our crotches look like the inside of a lava lamp.
Red Medical Food Dye (the official term, according to Hymen Shop Support staff) is smeared everywhere: his genitals, my genitals, the towel, our hands, and somehow on a T-shirt on the floor. He tells me there is a red thumbprint on my butt. We go to the bathroom to clean ourselves. While scrubbing, we discuss and process what just happened.
First, we conclude, the “hymen” part of this device is besides the point. What’s to break? It dissolved instantly. But does that matter? I don’t know anyone who’s actually felt a hymen break mid-intercourse, and suspect that those utilizing the artificial hymen in earnest don’t, either. (Except for the fetish stars, maybe. But I doubt they mind illusion.) My e-mail buddy at Hymen Shop explains, “The first and foremost purpose of the artificial hymen kit is to provide the visual effect human being blood coming out of the vagina as a proof of virginity. The ‘breaking’ sensation in the intercourse is a second priority, and it’s an elusive one since it is very subjective with the individual man and the construct of the female hymen.”
My boyfriend and I agree, however, that enjoyable sex is still possible, even when both parties are covered in fake blood the color of cherry Kool-Aid.
The next morning, other than the fact that I am still peeing bioluminescent cake dye, nothing unusual is going on. (Except, yikes, that is extremely unusual. I vow to drink a lot of water.) In a fit of curiosity, I load myself with the final remaining hymen and ride a bike. Kool-Aid for everywhere. I can only assume the same is true for horseback riding, pogo sticks, and every other hymen-breaking activity from the Judy Blume canon.
Later that afternoon, I get a text with the following: “My bathroom is covered in red dye. It’s all over the floor and the rug and shower. There must have been a huge blob of it somewhere that we smeared everywhere.”
I respond, “New phone, who is this?”