Do males have an equivalent of the female hymen?

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Offline Titanscape

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Do males have an equivalent of the female hymen?
« on: 14/10/2005 19:36:48 »
Since females are like males only inside out, which part in the male is alike the Hymen? Is it the thin film coming down from the top of the lobe to the foreskin, on the front?

« Last Edit: 22/06/2008 15:02:11 by chris »


Offline chris

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Re: Do males have an equivalent of the female hymen?
« Reply #1 on: 22/06/2008 15:00:59 »
The hymen is an embryological remnant. When the female genitalia develop, the uterus, cervix and upper two-thirds of the vagina are formed by the fusion of two tubes, one on each side of the body, called the Mullerian Ducts. The external genitalia, including the labia, clitoris and lower one third of the vagina, are formed from the outer skin of the embryo called the ectoderm. This also gives rise to your skin, eyes and the nervous system (spinal cord).

In the genital region the ectoderm grows inwards to unite with the developing internal structures. Where the two meet a thin strip of partially-perforated ectoderm remains, and this is the hymen. It serves no role in life other than to confirm, when present, that a woman is a virgin. The hymen should naturally contain a hole in order to allow the passage of menstrual blood; occasionally this hole is missing, which produces a condition called imperforate hymen; this usually comes to light when a girl reaches puberty but apparently fails to menstruate.

There isn't really an analogous structure for the hymen in male genitalia because the Mullerian Duct that gives rise to the female genital tract breaks down in the developing male foetus. The glans of the penis is the counterpart of the clitoris, and the foreskin is partly the counterpart of the labia. This is why it is wrong to use the term "circumcision" when applied to the procedure carried out amongst some (moslem) cultures to remove a girl's clitoris - because circumcision of a man is the removal of the foreskin, not the glans.

However, in terms of the process that gives rise to the hymen, although men don't have one, the same embryological system is in play elsewhere in mens' (and womens') bodies - the eardrum being the best example. This is where the ectoderm (outer skin) grows inwards to meet the developing ear (derived from endoderm, the inside layer of the embryo). Where the two fuse together they leave a flat sheet of tissue which becomes your tympanic membrane!

I hope that helps.

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Offline Karen W.

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Do males have an equivalent of the female hymen?
« Reply #2 on: 22/06/2008 18:52:28 »
Nice explanation Chris.. I did not know all that information and find it interesting.. Thanks..

Bren Thanks for asking such a great question!

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