Paying to become 'like a virgin' in China

BEIJING – Despite the gradual liberalization of attitudes towards pre-marital sex in China, as well as rampant prostitution and Internet pornography – a woman’s virginity is still highly valued by many men here, especially in rural areas.
So what’s a girl trying to disguise her past sexual experience to do?
Pretend to be a virgin.
Search the words “artificial hymen” on Google in Chinese, and you’ll get seven million results. Search “Joan of Arc Red,” and you’ll get over a million results – it’s the biggest selling brand in China’s growing fake hymen market.

Try to appear ‘shy’ for 'a better effect'
A young woman looking for a solution to her awkward problem can simply log onto the website and pay $18.40 for two fake hymens nicely packed in a wooden box.  For $14.40, the same products come simply wrapped in a paper box.
The website says the goods were first invented in Japan in 1993 and then became popular in Thailand, followed by the rest of Southeast Asia before eventually making their way to the Middle East.
According to the instructions, the little piece of semitransparent tissue has no side effects and is made of a natural fibrin glue, a medical elastic substance, a soluble base and carboxymethocel.
“After you put this into the vagina, it’ll dissolve and expand. Have sex in about 20 to 30 minutes, and you’ll ‘bleed’,” explains the instructions.  “A better effect will be reached if you appear to be shy and in pain.”

Circumventing tradition
I first learned about this product through an anonymous text message that read, “Joan of Arc Red, no surgery, no injections, no pain, and it will re-virginize you in just a few minutes.”  I logged onto the website, and an online service agent began chatting with me immediately.
Refusing to tell me how many packs they sell on a daily basis because, the agent said, it’s a business secret, he was frank about the vast market for their product.  “A lot of new graduates buy them before they get married,” he wrote. “So do some prostitutes who want to get a better price from their customers.”
A few decades ago, it was commonplace for husbands to expect to see tell-tale red marks on their wedding night. But despite the fact that China is much less conservative today than it used to be, many brides are still judged the same way.

Lian Yue, a well-known columnist with “Shanghai Weekly,” has been giving love advice for ten years. He says a large number of his befuddled male readers tell him about their disappointment when they find out their girlfriends have had sexual experiences before them.  He also hears quite often from women concerned about losing their virginity to Mr. Wrong.

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