Just a Bunch Of Cool Stuff You Never Knew About Your Hymen
Goodbye my hymen, goodbye my friend...
Hymens are mysterious little beings, aren’t they? Most girls have - or at least had - one, but do you actually know what they're there for? Or what it looks like? Or if you still even have yours?
No worries if you don't because it's time to clear up a few myths about hymens and virginity once and for all. Yay science.
But first, how well do people know their way around a uterus?....
1. Hymens have very little to do with virginity
That whole thing you're fed about your hymen breaking when you have penetrative sex for the first time is pretty much a load of bull. Actually hymens don't necessarily 'pop', they often stretch and so many things other than sexing can wear the hymen away, including horseback riding, biking, gymnastics, using tampons, fingering, and masturbation. Some women are even born without them.
2. Your hymen probably isn't what you think it is
You probs think that the hymen is super sturdy thing that is hard to break into. We always thought it was literally a film of skin across our vajay tbh. Appaz not. It’s actually a thin membrane, just inside the vaginal opening that is most often just a little semi-circular patch of tissue over the lower half of your vag.
Whatever it's shape and size, it'll have a hole in so that period blood and other secretions can get out.
3. It’s super hard to find
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you'll probabl have a really hard time telling the difference because it will be a fleshy coloured membrane in a place "where you have flaps and folds and hair,” says Alexandra Eisler, a health and sex educator from Healthy Teen Network.
4. Bleeding during your first time isn't necessarily your hymen breaking
Sometimes women experience bleeding the first time they have penetrative sex but this is not necessarily because the tissue of the hymen is 'tearing'. Often it's more that it's stretching to accommodate whatever it is that's being inserted. And actually, only about 43% of women experience bleeding on their first time, so it's not necessarily something you may ever experience at all.
Either way, don't forget that you shouldn't experience persistent pain from sex. Finding things uncomfortable at first is normal but pain during penis-in-vagina sex is often because your vagina isn't wet enough, so it's worth considering getting lube to help things along if so.
5. They come in a whole load of shapes and sizes
Most often the hymen is a thin crescent of tissue at the bottom the vaginal opening, but some people have ones that cover the whole opening. This is called an imperforate hymen and may require minor surgery to sort out.
Similarly some women will find they have a septate hymen, where a membrane is found stretching top to bottom over the vagina, or a microperforate hymen, where a layer of tissue covers most of the vagina with only a very small opening, both of which may need a similar procedure to create a clearer opening so that it's less painful when you do go to have penetrative sex. In all cases a quick visit to your GP can get this sorted.
6. No one actually knows why we have them
Experts aren’t officially sure why we have hymens. It doesn’t appear to serve and major purpose and, like a man’s foreskin, it’s just kinda there. When you're just a little embryo it's thought to keep germs and dirt out of the vagina.
7. It’s got a few nicknames
Just like Snoop Dogg it’s know by many names. These include: a cherry, virgin veil, vaginal corona, virginal membrane and maidenhead.
8. Every hymen looks different
Just like how everyone's ear lobes, noses and labia look different, so do hymen. They can differ in size, colour and shape. It might resemble a rose petal, a jigsaw piece or a half moon.
But while they will look different, what they do have in common is that they are usually elastic and stretchy
9. To some people it’s super important
In some cultures husbands are even expected to produce bloody sheets to prove they’ve married virgins and that they’ve successfully sealed the deal. But as we’ve previously learned, there may not always be blood.
Plus this seems pretty outdated and sexist soooo.
10. The Animal kingdom has them too
We’re not the only mammal that has a hymen. llamas, guinea pigs, manatees, moles, toothed whales, chimps, elephants, rats, lemurs, and seals all feel our pain too. Fun fact: Guinea pigs’ hymens dissolve when they are fertile allowing them to mate. When they are not fertile, the hymen grows back and completely blocks the vagina. Fancy.
11. You can pay for a new one
Surgeons in France, Germany and the UK are performing hymenoplasty or ‘virginity surgery’ where the surgically reconstruct a hymen. Many doctors have noted that the majority of these patients are doing it for their culture as to avoid any persecution, which again is pretty questionable as no one should ever have to prove their sexual history. And anyway, as we know from the above, hymens have absolutely nothing to do with proving virginity anyway.