The Real Problem With A “Hymen Cam”
This weekend, Kink.com will “stream the deflowering” of porn performer Nikki Blue — her first vaginal penetration. There will be an “official hymen-cam” operated by “a trained expert.” And one of Blue’s Kink.com colleagues has raisedsome concerns about it.
Here’s what Kink.com has planned: Blue will be tightly bound (the site is BDSM-oriented), and then viewers will vote which of three men will “take” her virginity. Then, “The other two will then join the ceremony and make her airtight.” The site’s founder continues, “We strive each and every day to bring the best possible content to our customers and sacrificing Nikki’s innocence is in perfect alignment with what our fans expect and deserve.”
Blogger Fleur de Lis SF has more context in her interview with Blue (NSFW), describing how is it that the 21-year-old Blue hasn’t had vaginal sex.
She is clearly a sexual person. She had boyfriends. I asked her why she’s never had vaginal sex. I wondered if she was Catholic. She told me: “I am from the South, where typically you are told to stay a virgin until you’re married. I did a lot of anal play, I got a lot of stimulation from that and oral. I looooove oral. I could generally keep my boyfriends happy with blowjobs and anal sex.”
There you have it, folks: The contradictory construction of virginity, thanks in part to the abstinence-only education so popular in the part of the country where Blue was raised.
Fleur de Lis’s own musings put this whole thing even more squarely in the camp of traditional purity myths: “I wonder if they will put a sheet underneath her and then hold it up with the blood stain on it like they used to do when girls got married to prove they were chaste.”
It’s that aspect of it that disappoints fellow fetish performer and sex educator Maggie Mayhem, who wrote on her blog that while she respects Blue’s self-definition of her virginity and her choice to live-stream its “loss,” she’s disturbed by the un-sex positive press release, which repeats a litany of myths about female sexuality that have been used — and are still being used — to harm women. (Note: NSFW image about halfway down.)
First, there’s the myth that the hymen is the ultimate arbiter of a woman’s “purity,” easily disproved by biology. Mayhem reminds us, “The term ‘hymen’ is not actually a biologically sound term because it implies a solid piece of tissue that ruptures or breaks upon penetration.” (Aside: What if this alleged “hymen cam” breaks something that is there?). Misunderstanding of that fact has led to serious consequences to women in societies where virginity is a life or death distinction.
Mayhem continues, “Reiterating the notion that virginity is defined by whether or not a penis has entered a vagina has dangerous implications because it is so very closely related to the idea that virginity will keep you safe from sexually transmitted infections or the emotions that can arise from engaging in sex.” Especially when a recent studyfound that ten percent of young Americans who tested positive for an STD said they hadn’t had sex in the past year, and 60 percent of those said they had never had sex at all.
More to the point, for a site that celebrates alternative sexualities, it’s awfully regressive to say that heterosexual, vaginal sex is the most momentous of all. (Though it will likely be good for business in a world that still believes that.) “We put a lot of weight into penis-in-vagina sex but there are unlimited ways to have sex,” Mayhem writes.
Maybe it’s that, in a world where no permitted pleasure is off limits, there’s still something shocking about the deeply conventional. In either case, it’s disappointing.