Blood Capsules and Hymenoplasties: Moroccan Women Preserve the Myth of Virginity

Women in Morocco use certain tricks to make people believe that they are still virgins: Blood capsules, reconstruction of the hymen, bird’s liver etc…  All means are good to avoid shaming and humiliation and to maintain the myth of virginity before marriage. And this is still taking place despite the emancipation of Moroccan women.

Artificial Hymen

Artificial Hymen

Must remain a virgin until marriage

In Morocco, in the Muslim tradition, the woman must remain a virgin until marriage; this is very often part of a demand of the husband. But this demand is increasingly contradicting the modernization of the country and the associated emancipation of Moroccan women. For example, women today marry on average at around 28 years of age, an age that has been pushed back, which illustrates the independence of the female gender.

So there is real hypocrisy in terms of religious tradition and the way in which Muslims live out their sexuality on a daily basis. Moreover, the medieval rite of the blood-stained cloth, which is shown after the wedding night as proof of virginity, has almost disappeared.

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However, the pressure from society and family on this myth of virginity before marriage is real, and many women are beaten or rejected because they do not bleed on the wedding night.

Moreover, women resort to all kinds of practices to hide the fact that they are no longer virgins.

One of these practices is hymen reconstruction, hymenoplasty, but it is an expensive and secret surgical procedure. Another technique (this one is much more affordable!) concerns the use of artificial blood capsules, marketed by a Chinese company and sold for 200 dirham (about 20 USD).

Since 2000, Moroccan women have had easy access to it on the informal market. One of the sellers tells us: “Since the dawn of time, there have been tricks to feign virginity: for example, putting a chicken liver at the bottom of the vagina. But the blood bag is more effective. And it costs at least ten times less than an operation”.

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While the Japanese use the capsule as a sex toy, Moroccan women have seen it as a way to avoid the humiliation for not being a virgin before marriage. The capsule is inserted 20 minutes before intercourse and the pouch eventually breaks under the influence of heat.

It is better to lie than to be shamed

According to recently married Moroccan woman It is better to lie than to be shamed and disowned by one’s family. The young woman is confident that her marriage is therefore based on a lie and says that before her marriage she had only one sexual relationship: “I only did it once. At that time I did not consider the risks, I only thought about having fun and discovering my body.”

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Faced with this still very present taboo on sexuality and virginity, a sexologist and psychiatrist practicing in Casablanca  explains: “Sexual life before marriage exists, but it is not supposed to exist. Many of those who affirm their sexuality end up in facing society’s wrath.”


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