Warning: this following blog probably should be restricted to those 18 years or older, although really a 14 year old should know this! Amy and Sue and a few others may remember a rant I posted — yes, I admit, it’s a rant — on this topic over on an Erotica course we took last year.
So here it is – the other night I actually put a book down in the middle of what was supposed to be a very hot love scene and refused to read any further. Why? Because I’m so fed up with writers who can’t get a very basic anatomical detail correct.
What detail, you ask?
What or where the heroine’s hymen really is. Yup, the hymen. In historicals it’s often referred to as the woman’s maidenhead.
I cannot tell you the number of books – generally historical because it’s hard to find a contemporary virgin — where during that all important very romantic first time the hero “slides into” our heroine, “allowing her time to adjust to his width, then gives one last push …” at which point she either feels a pinch or she digs her nails in and tears run down her face at the intense pain “as he breaks the last barrier.”
Um, people? If he’s inside her in the least, he’s already past that barrier. You see, the hymen is outside the vagina, not deep inside. Yup, OUTSIDE.
If you didn’t know that, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, a huge number of romance writers — both well known authors and not-so-well known authors — perpetuate the myth of the deep seated hymen. But it makes me ask myself, “in this day and age of sex education and personal awareness, do women really think the hymen is a barrier protecting the cervix?” You don’t have to take my word for it. Go take a look here at Healthy Strokes for actual pictures or read the entry on Wiki. Kalen Hughes has blogged about it on History Hoydens, and even spawned another post on the imperforate hymen.
But please please please – stop writing about the alpha hero deflowering the virginal heroine by entering her fully and then breaking her virginal barrier with a final push. Because I really am at a point where that book will be thrown toward the fireplace. It has been done before.