Booming Virginity Industry – Muslim Women Flock to French Clinic for Hymenoplasty

Young Muslim women wait in an upmarket medical clinic for an operation that will not only change their lives, but quite possibly save it. Yet the operation is a matter of choice and not necessity. It costs about 2,000 euros ($2,500) and carries very little risk. The clinic is not in Dubai or Cairo, but in Paris. And the surgery they are waiting for is to restore their virginity.

Whether in Asia or the Arab world, an unknown number of women face an agonizing problem having broken a deep taboo. They’ve had sex outside marriage and if found out, risk being ostracized by their communities, or even murdered.

Now more and more of them are undergoing surgery to re-connect their hymens and hide any sign of past sexual activity. They want to ensure that blood is spilled on their wedding night sheets. The social pressure is so great that some women have even taken their own lives.

Dr Marc Abecassis owns the clinic and he performs a “hymenoplasty” as it’s called, at least two to three times a week. Re-connecting the tissue of the hymen takes about 30 minutes under local anaesthetic.

He says the average age of the patient is about 25, and they come from all social backgrounds. Although the surgery is performed in clinics around the world, Dr Abecassis is one of the few Arab surgeons who talks openly about it. Some of the women come to him because they need virginity certificates in order to marry.

“She can be in danger because sometimes it’s a matter of traditions and family,” says Dr Abecassis. “I believe we as doctors have no right to decide for her or judge her.”

With Chinese manufacturers leading the way, there are now non-surgical options on the market as well. One website sells artificial hymens for just $30. The Chinese hymen is made of elastic and filled with fake blood. Once inserted in the vagina, the woman can simulate virginity, the company claim.

Arab writer and social commentator, Sana Al Khayat believes the whole issue has much to with the notion of “control”.

“If she’s a virgin, she doesn’t have any way of comparing (her husband to other men). If she’s been with other men, then she has experience. Having experience makes women stronger.”

Apparently Muslim men do not like strong women.


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Posted by on April 25, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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15 Responses to Booming Virginity Industry – Muslim Women Flock to French Clinic for Hymenoplasty

  1. osori

    April 25, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    One more example of the idiocy men force upon women. In this type of case religion magnifies it a hundredfold, but it’s still essentially males forcing their standards on women.

  2. Gwendolyn H. Barry

    April 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Essentially, it’s the burqa question all over again. Isn’t it? I mean, if a young muslim woman is raped and complains about it she can be shunned or murdered too… Oso is right, it is about force over women… a slavery. This issue is recycling so much…

  3. Jess

    April 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Man as much as I piss and moan about the things happening here in the US, am I glad I was born a woman here for the most part. Not only Muslim men do not like strong women, there are some here right in our own yards. I have encountered some before I met hubby, that did not like the independent/empowered streak that yours truly has.


    • osori

      April 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      At least you can draw cats Jess. That helps to soften the independent/empowered edges till Mr Depp shows up in your neck of the woods and you’re forced to make a choice!

      • Jess

        April 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

        :), let me tell you, if Mr D showed up there is NO choice to be made.

        • osori

          April 25, 2010 at 4:59 pm

          Similar to my decision if Lady Gaga shows up here, hell if ANYONE shows up here.

          • Jess

            April 25, 2010 at 6:09 pm

            I luvs me some Lady Gaga. I just saw her a little bit ago in the city. Great show she does.


            • osori

              April 25, 2010 at 6:18 pm

              My kids turned me on to Pokerface, I wasn’t impressed. Second time I heard the song I had to download it. Same with Bad Romance, second time I loved the song. Then I saw her in that prison video and fell in love. Should be ashamed at my age but not like she’s really gonna show right?
              But just in case I’m still working out and eating my wheaties.

              • Jess

                April 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

                Oh and you know the bed wetters are all upset about the Telephone(prison) video. It shows the word Pussy, Tarantino loaned her his Pussy Wagon from his Kill Bill films for the video. They are shown kissing women and on and on. I swear these people do not know what is real and what is fiction. I think they just want to complain about something so they can hear themselves talk.

                • Mother Hen

                  April 25, 2010 at 7:37 pm

                  Lady Gaga is freaking awesome and if they were both chained at my mercy I’m not sure who I’d pick- Monseiur Depp or her. XO LOVE the Bad Romance video. And the idea of Chinese coochie squibs, which is going to be the name of my next band.

  4. Bee

    April 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    This is ridiculous. Truly ridiculous.

    • Holte Ender

      April 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm

      Right on the money Bee.

  5. MadMike

    April 26, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Holte this is an important story. The oppression of women in the Middle East is beyond the comprehension of the civilized world. The discrimination of women and others is not civilized. It is, more often than not, either some ridiculous religious practice or some sexist belief that dates back centuries.

  6. Anonymous

    December 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    my question is ? what does it cost. I am writing from turkey. If i restore my hymen my family kill me , please help me there is site i find it from google it is plz compare the rates plz help me

  7. Anonymous

    December 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm information about hymenoplasty