Women are having ‘virginity-restoring’ operations on the NHS at a cost of £1,000 a time, figures reveal.
Hospitals have admitted to carrying out 109 reconstructive procedures between 2007 and 2017.
But the true number is likely to be far higher as only nine hospitals bothered to supply figures.
Experts say the trend is being driven by women wishing to wind back the clock as they regretted their first time having sex.
The half-hour operation involves the hymen being stitched or reconstructed.
Women are having ‘virginity-restoring’ operations on the NHS at £1,000 a time (stock)
DOES SEX SLOW AGEING?
Having sex at least once a week slows ageing in women – even if they do not enjoy being intimate, research suggested in July 2017.
Being active between the sheets increases the length of women’s telomeres, a study found.
These ‘cap’ the end of DNA strands, with longer lengths being associated with slower ageing, longer lifespans and improved overall health.
Women’s telomeres lengthen with regular love making regardless of whether they are sexually satisfied in their relationship, the research adds.
Researchers believe sex may aid ageing in women by dampening stress and boosting their immune systems.
The scientists, from the University of California, San Francisco, analysed physical intimacy, as well as partner support or conflict, overall relationship satisfaction and stress in 129 mothers in long-term relationships.
Blood samples were taken from the study’s participants to determine their telomere length.
The trial was conducted over one week.
Results further suggest relationship satisfaction, stress and partner support or conflict have no impact on telomere length.
Lead author Dr Tomás Cabeza de Baca said: ‘Over time, shortened telomeres may contribute to chronic degenerative diseases and premature mortality.
‘Sexual intimacy may dampen the effects of stress by down-regulating stress response systems and up-regulating immune response.
‘Over time, these patterns of stress function should result in longer telomere length,’ PsyPost reported.
The effects of regular sex in men are unclear.
One trust has spent nearly £12,000 on virginity surgeries
Normally the hymen breaks and bleeds when a woman has sex for the first time.
But it can also break through using a tampon or sports including horse riding.
The NHS will agree to fund ‘hymenoplasty’ procedures for ‘physical’ and ‘psychological’ reasons which could include women regretting losing their virginity.
In 48 of the cases, the hospitals were able to provide details of the woman’s religion.
A total of 15 were classified as Christian, eight Church of England, two Muslim and 23 defined as having no religion.
And for 59 of the women, hospitals provided details on whether they were single, married or in a relationship.
This included 48 women who were single, six married or in civil partnerships, two divorced and three who didn’t want to say.
Only nine of the 160 hospitals in England supplied figures however.
If these trends were similar amongst other hospitals, then approximately 1,600 virginity repair operations would have been carried out since 2007.
Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals said it had carried out 50 hymenoplasty procedures since 2007, although it did not specify the cost.
At Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, 12 operations were performed since 2013 at a cost of £12,727.32.
The North Bristol NHS Trust said £11,950 had been spent on an undisclosed number of on an unknown number of operations.
Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said it carried out at least 13 procedures between 2012 and 2017.
Religious women ‘overwhelmed’ by sexual guilt
Louise Van der Velde, a relationship counsellor who practices on London’s Harley Street, said: ‘A lot of people have a bad experience for their first time.
‘Often it’s not what it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be a sacred thing and you never forget losing it.
‘Maybe because people have been let down by that and it doesn’t end up being what they want, they want to do it again.
‘Maybe they want to share it with their husbands by being as pure as possible again.’
She added that religious women were ‘overwhelmed’ by feelings of sexual guilt.
Dr Naomi Crouch, spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said: The hymen is a thin piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. It usually breaks during sex but can be broken through sports, such as horse riding, and using tampons.
‘Therefore, having a broken hymen doesn’t necessarily mean a woman has lost her virginity.
‘Hymenoplasty is a form of female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) which involves creating scar tissue so that a woman whose hymen is no longer intact can bleed the next time she has intercourse.
‘There is a lack of reliable evidence about the clinical effectiveness and risks of FGCS, and there is no medical indication for these operations to be carried out.
‘It is important that clinicians inform and reassure women and girls about variations in female genitalia, thoroughly explore the reasons behind the request for FGCS, and advise on the management of physical symptoms rather than suggesting surgery as an option.’