The female virginity is one wrought with history – a complex history that has been inaccurately tied to her hymen (is it intact or broken?). After-intercourse bleeding is regarded as a sign that a woman a virgin (never having had sex before) because her hymen wasn’t broken. The hymen, contrary to popular belief, is NOT a testament of sexual activity.
What Is The Hymen Really?
The hymen is a tiny, ragged membrane that sits right in the vagina’s opening. While you may think that a hymen only breaks during intercourse, the reality is that this little tissue-like paper can be easily torn, rubbed or stretched away by way of various activities included but not limited to:
- Horseback riding
- Tampon use
You may even be surprised to learn that some women do not have a hymen at birth.
Some women, when they first have sex, may notice a few droplets of blood, but this is fairly rare. The hymen doesn’t need much force to break open, and it doesn’t have a lot of blood within it either. Most people are under the false assumption that a woman bleeds a lot the first time she has sex. The reality behind the whole “popping the cherry” is that it’s not what people consider it to be.
What are some important facts about sexual activity and the hymen you should know about?
You Can’t Easily See It
If you were to look for the hymen, chances are you’d unlikely find it. This is especially true if you don’t know what the hymen looks like. It’s a fleshy-colored membrane where hair, flaps and folds are. If you do try to find it, it’ll be within two centimeters inside the opening of the vagina.
Intact Hymens Can Still Have Openings
Most people assume a hymen is just a structure or wall that must be broken – think of it as crossing the finish line of the race and tearing through the tape. What you may not understand is that the hymen is a thin membrane just within the vagina. And, it could also have an opening already, which means menstrual blood and other vaginal secretions can flow through.
While the opening often appears crescent in shape, this can vary from one woman to the next. Some women have very small openings, while others have multiple ones in their hymen. Just two percent of women born will have a closed hymen, which means surgery must be performed to open it up that will allow blood to pass.
You Can’t Prove Your Virginity
Contrary to popular belief, your virginity is not a medical condition. It’s actually a societal one. Still, the idea of virginity is important to people because it’s founded on social beliefs and norms. There is no scientific evidence for it. What you believe about virginity is based on things you were taught or heard, and if it aligns with your religious beliefs. For most people, virginity means never have had sex.
Virginity Loss Isn’t Always Equated With Penis Penetration
The idea behind virginity is linked into the heterosexual life of a penis entering the vagina, which leads to a loss in virginity. There are obviously some flaws in this way of thinking. For example, a lesbian who has never been with a man but with other women cannot always stay a virgin until she dies. If a person who has just anal sex still considered a virgin if they never have vaginal sex?
When it comes to sex – any kind of it – a person is no longer a virgin if they engage in it.
There’s No Reason To Prove Sexual History
There’s no reason to feel you must prove you are a virgin because it’s not possible to do. The only way to know if a person has never had sex is to ask them for the truth… if it’s even something you really care about in the first place.
You Control Your Sexual Activity
The term “losing your virginity” means you’re not in control of it. If you lost your keys, did you consciously lose them? Of course not. This is why changing how one talks about first-time sex acts is so important. Losing your virginity means someone took something from you. It’s this idea or belief that makes women still passive sex receivers and men dominate over them.
This mindset has to change.
When it comes to your sexual health and activity, it’s important to go slowly and feel good about what you are doing. If you’re not comfortable, then let your partner know. The key is to relax and have a good time. Forget about the hymen – it doesn’t really matter!
7 Myths People Mistakenly Believe About The Hymen
Myth #1: You Have To Penetrate The Hymen Membrane
The hymen is not a piece of skin that hangs down on the inside of the vagina – to stop the penis from entering like guards protecting a castle from outsiders. The hymen is just a membrane – a ring of tissue inside shaped similar to a donut. It’s extremely elastic, either thin or thick. And, even a simple finger inside the vagina can cause it to break.
This would make sense.
If there were a blockage on the inside, it would make having a period impossible until that blockage was eliminated. A hymen stretches and creates openings during puberty. Most women do not have an imperforate hymen at birth, which will block the vagina and needs surgery to correct it.
Myth #2: The Hymen Lies Deep Within The Vagina and Cannot Break With A Finger Unless It Goes In Deep
This is not true, as the hymen is located just two centimeters within the vagina. A finger can go into the cervix and never break the hymen. The hymen isn’t deep inside, and it won’t wait until the penis breaks it.
Myth #3: All Hymens Are The Same
All hymens are not the same as all vaginas are not the same. Therefore, each hymen may come in another size and shape. Some are thick and close to the anus. Some are thin and made like paper. Some have tears, while others have holes.
According to medical science, there are four types of hymen – parous introitus, cribriform, septate and annular. The septate means a hymen with extra tissue bands that extend along the vaginal canal. It may even look similar to a honeycomb.
There are so many types of hymen, which is why people experience hymen interactions in their own way.
Myth #4: The Hymen Will Break
This is the biggest myth of all, as the hymen tissues stretch. The membranes bend and tear based on the pressure put upon them. They can even stretch to accommodate them. You don’t break the hymen; tear it is more like it. While they don’t repair themselves, they won’t break just because something goes to it.
The tissue won’t go anywhere but does thin gradually as time passes.
Myth #5: Bleeding While Having Intercourse Is Due To The Hymen
The truth is that bleeding while having sex is not due to the hymen because the tissue is very thin and has some blood in it. Rather, the bleeding is the result of delicate tissue in the vagina ripened with blood cells. If it’s not used to be rubbed up against or repeatedly subjected to poundings, it’s going to bleed.
Myth #6: Having A Hymen Means You’re Still A Virgin
Just because a woman still has her hymen does not make them a virgin. And, the loss of one does not mean she’s not. Hymens can tear because of tampons, exercise, bike riding, etc. Hymens are thin and develop holes when you’re little. It naturally wears away.
On top of that, a hymen won’t “pop.” It only vanishes over time. And, the virginity conception is based on the idea that it’s lost when sexual penetration has occurred.
Therefore, the idea that a man or doctor can know when a woman is not a virgin by the loss of the hymen is ridiculous. There is no concrete evidence that a woman is a virgin or not by the presence or lack thereof of the hymen.
Myth #7: The Hymen Is The Reason For Painful Intercourse
It’s obvious the hymen is not the reason for the pain you experience during sex. The pain may be the result of a tear in the hymen, but the truth is, the pain is the lack of lubrication or the lack of knowledge of how to have sex in the first place. It could also be vaginal bruising that is causing the pain while you have sex.
Remember, the vaginal corona tears several times over your life because of its thickness and strength, and it can handle a minute amount of pressure because of how stretchy it actually is.