Saudi And Non-Saudi Marriages: The Subject Of Virginity

You may have flinched when reading the title of this post because you consider publicly discussing virginity or the mere mention of the word virginity in private circles, to be taboo. Sure it is a delicate subject but if tackled in a responsible and respectful way, can be enlightening. There is a widely known stereotype that Western women are easy with loose morals and lose their virginity before marriage. The Saudi men who have traveled and lived in the West may fall for this completely or have the presence of mind to realize that this is not entirely true. Still there exist others, who no matter where they have traveled or lived outside of Saudi Arabia, retain the conservative and traditional notion that women must be virgins before marriage, especially Muslim women. If you are a non-Saudi woman considering marriage to a Saudi man, I advise you to broach this topic with him. You might be pleasantly surprised that he is understanding of a woman not being a virgin, horrified that he expects all women to be virgins before marriage or relieved that he doesn’t care either way. Better you find out which one it is now than waiting until you get to the marriage bed and finding out afterwards. I think it is a valid question for a non-Saudi woman to ask her Saudi because some Saudi men will divorce their wives if they discover later on that they are not “virgins” because there was no blood or other telltale signs of virginity. They will just assume her virginity was lost because she lied to them or was unfaithful before marriage. If you are clueless about this particular aspect of Saudi culture then you had better educate yourself. If you are in the know but your Saudi is not or he is convinced that a sign of virginity is synonymous with blood, then you had better educate him on the various ways that women can lose their virginity. Please note that I am not one of the commentators in the below post. *Check out the link for further reading at the end of this post.

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Saudis And Virginity – This Is A Serious Question
By Lost Scribe
Travel Expert Guide: Africa/Middle East

I really have to ask this, and I mean no offense but this has baffled me for years. It’s difficult to talk about with the ladies, and impossible to find a man to disuss this with.

My husband is Saudi and insists that if a girl doesn’t bleed on her wedding night, her husband divorces her immediately, no questions asked. He says everyone thinks that way, but do they? He does seem quite backwards though. He even told me never to tell anyone that I had ever ridden horses because they’ll think I’m an unchaste slut.

I daresay that most women don’t bleed or don’t bleed enough to run out onto the bed sheets or her panties and I’ve read about this stuff from a medical perspective. Yet it would seem that ALL Saudi women leave spots on the sheets?

My sister-in-law was even advised by her friends to leave the sheets in plain view for her husband to see. Instead, she balled them up and tossed them in the garbage and her husband never asked to see them, didn’t seem to care. Of course she told me she is aware that women don’t always bleed, but at least the man can feel the initial resistance of the hymen followed by the “pop” and this is apparently sufficient. Then again, her husband is far more progresive than my husband. He’s even all for female driving rights. So what are your opinions on this matter. Based on what I know about the hymen, I tend to assume the following about Saudis:

A) Saudi girls are cutting their vaginas to ensure bleeding (and indeed I’ve heard this occurs but dunno where or how often).

B) My husband is an idiot and fellow idiots are (HOPEFULLY) in the minority in Saudi.

So Saudi girls, what’s the secret? Unless Arabs are genetically predisposed to having ultra-thick, vein laden hymens, then surely they’re no different than other women, with some bleeding, many not bleeding, and some not having much of a hymen to begin with. And I KNOW FOR A FACT that Saudi girls don’t sit strapped to a chair till they get married, as I see them running, jumping and playing. So maybe they don’t play sports or ride horses (they ride bikes) but seriously.

I would also like to hear Saudi men’s opinions on this.

What is the general belief surrounding this issue? How do the men feel about it? How do the women feel about it? Men, what is your level of knowledge and understanding concerning “bleeding”?

Comments From Travel Expert Guide Readers: 

Just me: Yes blood is a sign of virginity. Some however, out of ignorance, think all virgins must bleed on her first night. which is obviously not true.

I suggest you have him talk to a religious Muslim doctor or something who hed trust to get him to understand that if his brain is that thick lol.

About the horses thing… tell him didnt companiosn of the prophet, their wives etc ride animals when they travelled?

He may mean though ( and you misinterpret, or he translates things literally to English making some things sound so wrong…. ) that women must not be wreckless and try their best not to lose their virginity, which is true.

If thats NOT the case ( and I think it probably is but you misunderstood due to lost meanings Im 100% Saudi and I think he sounds ridiculous. I dont think any sane person would say things the way you put it.

This leads to either:

1- He’s nuts.
2- Theres some miscommunication going on.
3- Both of you are nuts.

If 1 is true, and you would think that Saudis are like that because he thinks in such a ridiculous way, or you really believe that Saudi women would cut themselves to bleed, then option number one would apply to you as well, and id think of you both equally in terms of sanity, or lack of.

I think the answer requires some common sense, and is more about education, and communication, and not really about culture.

That said, theres many people who think that if shes a virgin, there must be blood… especially in far remote areas where theres less education, but even they wouldnt say dont tell anyone you havent ridden horses cuz they’d think this or that of you, that has nothing to do with culture, or lack of education, its more about stupidity, and anyone willing to generalize based on that, would fall into the same category, in my opinion.

Saying Saudi girls would cut themselves to bleed, sounds so ridiculous as well, and anyone who believes that, in my opinion, would fall into the “nuts” category too.

Mintee: Well Im sure there are people who tend to hold onto these old ideas..but most of my friends (oh, Im a lady by the way).. dont think this way.. Nor do our brothers, uncles, fathers, etc.

We all know that at any given time in a young girls life, her hyman can tear by normal agreesive playing, riding bicycles, riding horses,, or just falling weird.. Some women even never bleed cause their skin/hymen is very elastic.

Men should trust their women and be knowledgable about this.. If a boy was raised properly and his parents taught him well about anatomy, then he will be of an open mind and not so closed to think this way… Also my female friends who have got married, they claim their husbands never raised this issue and never bothered about looking at the sheets.

I know my husband (Saudi) never bothered about it.. That was the last thing on his mind.

Zxcpoi: You can’t generalize. Fools are every where. I did not hear in my life about the husband checking for blood from his wife.

Me: I think “Just Me” nailed it right on the head. My Saudi husband neither “checked” or asked me anything about anything when we got married. Neither was it anything that ever came up in any marriage proposals prior to my marriage. I honestly have never heard of this ever happening, and I asked my husband and he laughed and told me that you’re probably just joking. If people think like that, I think they are few and far between and not restricted to Saudi culture.
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♥ Gloria♥: I don’t understand your question. Are you uncomfortable with the fact that men want to marry virgins or are you bothered about the amount of blood- if any? I totally understand if a man divorces a woman after finding out that she was not a virgin.

I have heard that there will be a little bleeding but also as you wrote an initial resistance.

Edit: Ok. I understand what you are saying. I agree that women should not really go through inhumane activities to prove that they are virgins. It is common knowledge that horse back riding & some sports in general can cause that the hymen is torn. If I recall correctly my mother told me that in such events one should go to a doctor and get examined. Well, I don’t believe in extremes. But I also understand some men because there are some girls who have sex and then go through a surgical repair to seem like virgins. That is an oxymoron of course & most distubing and dishonest.

Anyways, I think your husband is weird for saying that to you. So I understand your anger. However, I believe that virginity is sacred and it is an important part of bonding between husband and wife.

As for ‘greego” and what she wrote about the use of tampons by virgins. Why on earth would virgins use Tampons? We only use pads. Duh

Edit: To the expert who wrote that “many Muslim girls do use tampons”. Then please kindly explain how anatomically it is possible to leave the Hymen unharmed while you insert the tampon???? I am really curious. This will be a huge scientific awakening!!!!!

Nile ~*~: First someone here mentioned virgin girls don’t use tampons. Many do.

Another person said that this was mostly the ideology of older generations and lower class conservatives in the Middle East (and other Muslim-dominate countries). And yes.

Saudi Arabia also would have that ideology still lurking in younger generations of different classes as well because the country as a whole is quite conservative and slow evolving.

Ameen (out for long time): In a Saudi culture .. most guys expect to marry a girl that didn’t have past (relationships) before. Now the definition of the (past) depends on the lifestyle: phone/love/dating/serious dating/beyond that? But to go into the bleeding talk ….is too much.

You might hear such stories from old grandma .. lower end of society, most conservatives .. or some are because of ignorance .. or joke about it. Actually you hear such stories even from many of the Arab countries but from the farmers and to assume the society behaves like that is like assuming all europeans are into drugs cozz you happen to know some people who take drugs ..

Okay, lemme see, i know zero cases that resulted in a divorce coz of that reason.

No name: My husband is Saudi and he believes that the way to prove a woman is a virgin is if she bleeds on her wedding night. This is why Saudis don’t have Physical Education for girls because they don’t want the girls’ hyem being torn when playing sports or engaging in physical activity. I’m American. I bled a little and my husband didn’t care then but then later he complained about it. I think that some Saudis are raised to expect that their women will bleed on the wedding night.

Polash: I am a Saudi. My sisters are happily married, so many of my sisters lady friends are happily married too,and so many of my cousins and relatives are happily married too..I have never heard in my entire life that one of my relatives or friend ever dispose of wife for such reason. Saying all that, I would not be surprised to hear it since some might have still a bit clingy to the past. You see, I could tell that majority of men in Saudi Arabia like the rest of men in any other country are too busy nowadays to figure out what to do if they discover you are not virgin at the time of marriage. It is just enough to show that you are faithful to him and your past is must have already searched by his mother. Sad but this is a tradition .and tradition is changing now, I am not like my father and my children are not like me thank God

Rarity: This was so sad and I feel sick. I lost my virginity and didn’t bleed a bit – how do rapist mysogynists explain that one?? I can’t believe women are cutting themselves to prove to these disgusting male bast@rds that they are pure – it makes me vomit. Thank God I grew up in the UK.

Lomatar1186: Well, I’m a Saudi and to be honest with you (and I know most Saudis are not like) but, the virginity thing is not a huge deal to me. Maybe cause I grew up here in the USA where it is very normal for girls to lose their virginity before marriage. I even had a Mexican girlfriend before who wasn’t a virgin. I guess it depends on the culture, but do not get me wrong, there are still so many things that I still follow and believe in in my culture.

Shimeringstars01: Well I agree with “Justme”. In the Muslim world, virginity is highly valued. However, in this day and age, I think that most men are better educated than to believe that every girl is going to cover the bedsheets in blood. I don’t think there are many men these days who are checking the sheets and getting the divorce paper ready lol. I know tons of Saudis who have gotten married and I have never seen anyone divorced for this reason. Ever. And I have never even heard of a man asking his wife to see the blood. And I also know many Saudi women who said they did not bleed and were never asked about it.

By the way there is no “pop” noise when it happens at all that is very strange. And what does riding horses have to do with virginity or being a slut? I have ridden horses and I don’t think it effects either.

I think that if this is a man’s prerequisite for marriage that he should tell the girl before he marries her.

Nite_angelica: I knew someone from Lebanon and they had the same beliefs. He told me that obviously the men usually love the women they marry there and are well aware that not ALL women bleed the first time. He said that they make sure that blood is on the sheets the day after the wedding, regardless of how it has to get there. He also told me that many young people DO have sex before the marriage now, but because of the old fashioned beliefs it’s necessary to still make sure blood shows up following the wedding night.

He told me that they could also divorce their wife for this. They can also kill their wife if they find her cheating and not go to jail for it.

It’s a very different world. I’m sorry, but I think this is a major reason why people need to stay with their ‘own kind’. The cultural differences are too much. And that whole horseback riding thing is ridiculous.

EDIT: They don’t cut their vaginas – nobody knows where the blood is coming from. My friend told me that it’s normally a cut in someplace nobody will see – and many times it’s the husband that cuts himself. Not the woman.

Jimmy: Yes, what you write is true! It is also an extra reason they want women to refrain from sports when young- so they don’t break their hymen!

It is a big deal in the Middle East and the man feels ‘cheated’ if the woman on her wedding night is not a virgin. So he either divorces her or in some very rare cases kills her (that was more the case in the past or nowadays in small villages).

Many women nowadays fake it! With egyptians performing most of the ‘virginity restoration operations’.

For the man it is OK, whatever he does the woman should always show she is pleased! Even if he is a male slut.

SCG: I feel sorry for you madam. I think you don’t need to prove your virginity to your husband. Educate him. Give him reading materials about virginity, etc. If he still insists then dump that [deleted] Saudi.

Greengo: No normal humans believe this anymore. In the “olden” days, and probably in Saudi Arabia still, the secret was that mothers gave their daughter a vial of chicken blood for the wedding night. The bride breaks the vial and proves her virginity. Blood comes from a broken hymen, which doesn’t normally bleed much anyway, and most active girls break theirs with sports and tampons anyway. So even if you are a virgin, you have a very good chance that you wouldn’t bleed at all. That is why they do the chicken blood, to fool the MORON men in their lives who want a nice “safety sealed” package. I’m sorry if you married a Saudi, if you don’t regret it yet, you will.

Am: Saudis are hypocrite, I see them all the time picking up prostitutes. Its ok for the men to have sex but not the women. You should have known what you were getting into before you married the guy.

Photo Credit: C’est La Vie

Further Reading: The Myth Of The Hyman Continues

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Published by

Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

4 thoughts on “Saudi And Non-Saudi Marriages: The Subject Of Virginity”

  1. This is an important subject that should be brought out into the open and discussed. When I lived in Saudi Arabia and worked at the royal hospital, we had a few instances when the wife did not bleed on the wedding night and the wife was beaten, and THEN divorced. I’m sure the women were virgins, but simply didn’t bleed for one reason or another, such as exercise, etc. My heart broke for their situation, but no one could help them as people do like to believe the worse of a person, no matter what country one lives in. I only knew or two or three cases when a Saudi women had the opportunity or desire to go with a man prior to marriage. The vast majority of Saudi women are very particular and seem to me to have very high morals. Most Saudi women are very impressive, work hard to get their educations, and want nothing more than a respectable life with one man and her children. Many things are stacked against Saudi women, but they have proven themselves to be resourceful and strong. I am told that there is good change in Saudi Arabia, and for that I am SO happy.

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  2. OMG Jean, those poor things! It is also possible that they could have been born without a hymen. I am not sure but I doubt that sex education is mandatory to the higher grades at Saudi schools. Talking about sex is such a big taboo in Saudi society. But everyone should be taught about virginity and the hymen, myths should be debunked and stereotypes should be dispelled. As more families, especially the men of a family, become aware that proof of virginity is not synonymous with the presence of blood on the wedding night, I think there will be less incidence of divorce (and even honor killing where it is practiced).

    From an Islamic viewpoint, this article is an excellent example of how people should be educated and take the responsibility of educating the Muslim masses regarding virginity, hymen, sexual relationships and marriage…

    http://www.islamicgarden.com/mythhymen.html

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  3. Hopefully these kind of blogs and discussions will open up the topic. Too many innocent girls have paid a terrible price for the lack of knowledge on this discussion. Well, when I was there and attended female parties, there was a lot of discussion about sex, but not about this particular topic. Mainly it was funny stuff about their men and their men’s ability or LACK of ability in the bedroom. No one tackled such a painful subject that could actually cost a life! I’m so glad you are bringing up such subjects. Later, Jean

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  4. I do hope so! Granted, a virgin’s wedding night is an important rite of passage but the presence of a hymen or lack thereof should not ultimately define her character. There are more important virtues for a man to look for in a wife.

    If Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his wives (may Allah be pleased with them all) weren’t shy to talk about this subject, then why should ordinary Muslims keep silent about it? Every mother should have this discussion with her son before his wedding night. And every newlywed couple should have this conversation before the consummation of their marriage.

    Another thing, with the high divorce rate amongst Saudi couples, pre-marriage counseling is imperative and should touch on virginity.

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