Sexual health charities hit back at TI over belief an intact hymen means a woman is a virgin.

Rapper TI is facing backlash from sexual health charities over his controversial approach to monitoring his daughter’s sex life.

On Tuesday, the 39-year-old revealed he takes his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah Harris, to see a gynaecologist every year to “check her hymen” and ensure that she is still a virgin.

The father-of-six’s “disturbing” comments, which came during an episode of the podcast Ladies Like Us, also sparked criticism on social media where he has been accused of being “coercive” and “creepy”.

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Brook - a UK sexual health charity for young people - told The Independent why TI was wrong to assume an unbroken hymen is indicative of virginity.

Isabel Inman, head of communications, said: "Firstly, hymens do not break but stretch and this can happen for many different reasons, often before any penetrative sex occurs. Some people are also born without hymens.

24 pieces of life advice from celebrities

Show all 24

6. Oprah Winfrey
1. Demi Lovato
2. Bruce Lee
3. Ziggy Marley

24 pieces of life advice from celebrities

6. Oprah Winfrey

1/24 6. Oprah Winfrey

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

Getty Images

1. Demi Lovato

2/24 1. Demi Lovato

“No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things.”

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2. Bruce Lee

3/24 2. Bruce Lee

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

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3. Ziggy Marley

4/24 3. Ziggy Marley

“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.”

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4. Winnie The Pooh

5/24 4. Winnie The Pooh

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”

5. Lena Dunham

6/24 5. Lena Dunham

"I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way."

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7. Barack Obama

7/24 7. Barack Obama

“If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.”

AFP/Getty Images

8. Michelle Obama

8/24 8. Michelle Obama

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

Getty

9. Lizzo

9/24 9. Lizzo

"I love you. You are beautiful and you can do anything."

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10. RuPaul

10/24 10. RuPaul

"The only thing wrong with me was that I thought there was something wrong with me."

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11. Maya Angelou

11/24 11. Maya Angelou

“You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

12. Stephen Fry

12/24 12. Stephen Fry

“It is the useless things that make life worth living and that make life dangerous too: wine, love, art, beauty. Without them life is safe, but not worth bothering with.”

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13. Meghan Markle

13/24 13. Meghan Markle

“Be able to delegate, because there are some things that you just can’t do by yourself.”

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14. Nelson Mandela

14/24 14. Nelson Mandela

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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15. Haruki Murakami

15/24 15. Haruki Murakami

"And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

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16. CS Lewis

16/24 16. CS Lewis

“You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream.”

Rex Features

17. Audery Hepburn

17/24 17. Audery Hepburn

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'.”

Getty

18. Ella Fitzgerald

18/24 18. Ella Fitzgerald

“Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.”

Getty

19. Billy Porter

19/24 19. Billy Porter

“For me, life is about being positive and hopeful, choosing to be joyful, choosing to be encouraging, choosing to be empowering.”

Getty

20. Betty White

20/24 20. Betty White

“It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”

Getty Images

21. Drew Barrymore

21/24 21. Drew Barrymore

"Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.”

Getty

22. Jane Fonda

22/24 22. Jane Fonda

“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”

Getty

23. Jennifer Aniston

23/24 23. Jennifer Aniston

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”

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24. Beyonce Knowles

24/24 24. Beyonce Knowles

"The reality is: sometimes you lose. And you’re never too good to lose. You’re never too big to lose. You’re never too smart to lose. It happens"

Getty Images

6. Oprah Winfrey

1/24 6. Oprah Winfrey

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

Getty Images

1. Demi Lovato

2/24 1. Demi Lovato

“No matter what you're going through, there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it may seem hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you'll find the positive side of things.”

Getty Images

2. Bruce Lee

3/24 2. Bruce Lee

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

Rex Features

3. Ziggy Marley

4/24 3. Ziggy Marley

“Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.”

Getty

4. Winnie The Pooh

5/24 4. Winnie The Pooh

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.”

5. Lena Dunham

6/24 5. Lena Dunham

"I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way."

Getty Images

7. Barack Obama

7/24 7. Barack Obama

“If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.”

AFP/Getty Images

8. Michelle Obama

8/24 8. Michelle Obama

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”

Getty

9. Lizzo

9/24 9. Lizzo

"I love you. You are beautiful and you can do anything."

Getty

10. RuPaul

10/24 10. RuPaul

"The only thing wrong with me was that I thought there was something wrong with me."

Getty Images

11. Maya Angelou

11/24 11. Maya Angelou

“You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

12. Stephen Fry

12/24 12. Stephen Fry

“It is the useless things that make life worth living and that make life dangerous too: wine, love, art, beauty. Without them life is safe, but not worth bothering with.”

Getty

13. Meghan Markle

13/24 13. Meghan Markle

“Be able to delegate, because there are some things that you just can’t do by yourself.”

Getty Images

14. Nelson Mandela

14/24 14. Nelson Mandela

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

Getty Images

15. Haruki Murakami

15/24 15. Haruki Murakami

"And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Getty

16. CS Lewis

16/24 16. CS Lewis

“You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream.”

Rex Features

17. Audery Hepburn

17/24 17. Audery Hepburn

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'.”

Getty

18. Ella Fitzgerald

18/24 18. Ella Fitzgerald

“Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong.”

Getty

19. Billy Porter

19/24 19. Billy Porter

“For me, life is about being positive and hopeful, choosing to be joyful, choosing to be encouraging, choosing to be empowering.”

Getty

20. Betty White

20/24 20. Betty White

“It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver.”

Getty Images

21. Drew Barrymore

21/24 21. Drew Barrymore

"Life is very interesting… in the end, some of your greatest pains, become your greatest strengths.”

Getty

22. Jane Fonda

22/24 22. Jane Fonda

“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”

Getty

23. Jennifer Aniston

23/24 23. Jennifer Aniston

“There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.”

Getty Images

24. Beyonce Knowles

24/24 24. Beyonce Knowles

"The reality is: sometimes you lose. And you’re never too good to lose. You’re never too big to lose. You’re never too smart to lose. It happens"

Getty Images

"Secondly, Brook advocates that virginity is something unique to every person – for instance, it could be someone’s first significant sexual experience and is not necessarily penetrative sex. Therefore there is no way to ‘check’ whether a person is a virgin.

"We know from our education work with young people that harmful myths around virginity are still rife.”

American charity Planned Parenthood – which provides sexual and reproductive healthcare – also pointed out the idea of a hymen always tearing for the first time because of sex is a myth.

Read more

“A virgin is someone who’s never had sex. But 'sex' means different things to different people, so 'virginity' does too,” the organisation said.

“The hymen is a thin, fleshy tissue that’s located at the opening of your vagina. Like other parts of our bodies, hymens are a little different for everyone.

In a Twitter thread that’s been retweeted over 17,000 times and received more than 49,000 likes, Planned Parenthood referred to virginity as a “social construct”, adding that it has “absolutely nothing to do with your hymen".

“Many people think the hymen totally covers the opening of your vagina until it’s stretched open, but that’s not usually the case. Most hymens naturally have a hole big enough for period blood to come out and for you to use tampons comfortably.”

Planned Parenthood continued by explaining that activities other than sex, including riding a bike and doing sports, can stretch the hymen.

“Some people think you can tell if someone’s had sex before if their hymen is stretched open. But that’s not the case,” it added.

“Say it with us: YOU CAN’T TELL IF SOMEONE’S HAD SEX BY THE WAY THEIR HYMEN LOOKS OR FEELS.”

Planned Parenthood’s thread has since been bolstered by others, including gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter who tweeted that TI’s statement was “horrible on so many levels”, before attempting to educate her followers on the hymen.

“The hymen is no virginity indicator, 50 per cent of sexually active teens do not have a disrupted hymen. The hymen is often very flexible,” Gunter wrote.

“The hymen means nothing physically and hymen exams are medically not a thing and are unnecessary. And support a disgusting patriarchal trope.”

During the controversial interview, the “Blurred Lines” rapper said: “So we’ll go and sit down and the doctor will come and talk and the doctor’s maintaining a high level of professionalism. He’s like, ‘You know sir, I have to, in order to share information’ — I’m like, ‘Deyjah they want you to sign this so we can share information. Is there anything you wouldn’t want me to know? Oh, ok. See doc, no problem’.”

TI went on to say that despite being informed that the hymen can be broken through numerous activities, not just sexual penetration, he told the doctor: “She don’t ride no horses, she don’t ride no bike, she don’t play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.”

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