Like a Virgin

Sex in the Arab world


The Chinese company Gigimo advertises its Artificial Hymen Virginity kit across the Arab world. The kit, which allows women to fake sexual purity on their wedding night, is the sort of product one might find in a novelty store or sex shop in America. But in Egypt, nuptial night virginity is deadly serious business. Women who buy the product may be nonvirgins afraid of discovery, or just brides looking for a little extra insurance that they'll be able to fly the bloodstained sheet.

Lawmakers from Egypt's conservative Muslim Brotherhood party have called for a ban on sales of the kit. Sheik Sayed Askar, a member of the party who serves on the parliament's religious affairs committee, proclaims, "It will be a mark of shame on the ruling party if it allowed this product to enter the market."

Cosmetic surgery to repair a damaged hymen, a procedure that is illegal in many Arab countries, can cost hundreds of dollars. The Chinese kit costs $30.