You probably know the hymen as the stupid-a** thing that’s the keeper of your virginity. Oh that, and it makes having sexual intercourse for the first time a very painful and bloody ordeal. Except, most of what you know about the hymen might be incorrect. You see, all these notions of popping one’s cherry and the role of this little membrane in it are handed down from generation to generation–until they became engrained in pop culture and hence the collective memories of young ladies. In short, there’s a high chance that what you know about your hymen actually has no scientific basis. In any case, what you do need to know is right here.
The Hymen Doesn’t Really Cover the Vaginal Opening
We have come to think of the hymen as a shield covering the vaginal opening, waiting to be pierced open by the male member. This, however, is not true. Because had this been the case, virgin girls wouldn’t bleed out during menstruation as the membrane wouldn’t allow anything to flow out-until, of course, it was surgically removed. In fact, the hymen is a doughnut-shaped tissue lining the inside of your vagina. It has an opening in the middle which basically allows a free flow of period blood, and serves as an entryway for tampons and erections.
Not All Hymens Are the Same
More or less; all hymens have an opening (one out of 200 women are born with an imperforate hymen, which completely obstructs the vaginal opening). However, not all openings are the same. Some have a honeycomb structure with multiple openings, while others resemble ladders.
The Hymen Doesn’t Break
we’re talking about an extremely elastic tissue here. So, upon sexual intercourse the hymen doesn’t really break-it tears. And if you think, after the first few times the hymen magically disappears-you’re wrong. It stays right there, gradually thinning away.
It’s Constantly Changing
Here’s the thing: we don’t lose our virginity with the hymen we were born with. Let us explain. At birth the hymeneal tissue is quite thick. But as years go by-and as a result of walking, running, athletic activities, and masturbation-the tissue thins and wears away and its opening widens. By the time we come of age (read: are ready to have sex), it’s thin enough to enjoy for us carnal pleasures without pain. Which brings us to…?
The Pain is Not your Hymen’s Doing
Like we said, by the time you’re an adolescent the hymeneal tissue is really worn out and thin, and rarely causes discomfort. So, the pain you feel during your first tryst with sexual intercourse can be caused by a lot of things. Maybe you’re not wet enough down there and the friction is getting unbearable; your partner is a little too harsh with your nether regions; you’re dreading pain which is making you anxious and causing discomfort where there should be none; or you’re just not ready yet.
Your Hymen Is Not the Reason Why You Bleed
It’s time to permanently erase that culturally-approved image of white sheet with blood stains from your head, because get this: not all women bleed during their first time. And those who do, should not be blaming their poor little hymens-because this tissue is quite thin and has very little blood supply allotted to it. The vaginal tissue, on the other hand, is laden with red blood cells and not used to the thumping and pounding your first time might entail.
The Hymen is Not an Indicator of Your Virginity
You know it doesn’t always need to hurt and you know there is no guarantee that you’ll bleed-so then how is your hymen a tool to judge your virginity? In fact, biologically there is no one way to tell whether a woman is sexually active. In our opinion, virginity is a personal choice and shouldn’t be anybody else’s beeswax-even if that person is your significant other. But that’s a story for another day.