The Hymen is a particular part of female genital organs that people often relate to when talking about virginity. For a long time, the Hymen has been a source of pressure and stigma for young girls and women. The abusive periodical virginity checks or the expectation of having blood on the bedsheet when women have their first sexual intercourse after the wedding show how much people are ignorant about the Hymen. Everybody needs to know the basics about the Hymen so that we can fight again the physical and psychological harm caused to women because of the myths about the Hymen.

1- Not all women are born with Hymen

The Hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the vagina. It has a ring-like form with a small opening. About 0.03% of women are born without Hymen. It is perfectly healthy and does not mean that they have any problems with their reproductive organs. Plus, it has no impact on their sex life at all. To this date, Scientists don’t even have a clear understanding of the biological function of the Hymen. So if you don’t have one, it doesn’t matter.

2- Not every Hymen looks the same

The Hymen varies typically in size, shape, thickness, elasticity. The most common Hymen in young women has a half-moon shape. For some women, the Hymen has round holes, while others are lobed-shaped. The opening of the Hymen can be of any size. Some may be larger than others. Some women tend to have thick and resilient hymens, while some tend to have very thin and fragile hymens that can disintegrate quickly.

3-Some women have hymen abnormalities that sometimes require a minor surgery

Contrary to what people think, the Hymen is not a flat membrane covering all the vagina’s opening. The Hymen should have an opening to allow the menstrual blood to come out. However, some abnormalities occur sometimes. Hymen abnormalities include:

  • Imperforate Hymen happens when the Hymen’s membrane covers the opening of the vagina completely. It is a congenital disorder, which means that you are born with it. Doctors can diagnose this abnormality at birth, or mostly when girls are adolescents and are supposed to have their periods. The menstrual blood cannot flow and is trapped inside the vagina. It usually causes a vaginal mass with abdominal and back pain. Some girls may also have painful urination and constipation. Doctors can successfully treat this condition with minor surgery.
  • Microperforate Hymen has a smaller hole than expected. A person with a microperforate Hymen will have her periods, but it might last longer because the blood cannot come out at a regular rate. She may also experience difficulty inserting or removing a tampon or pain/bleeding during intercourse. Sometimes a microperforate Hymen resolves spontaneously or tear away with time. It can also be corrected with a minor surgical procedure.
  • A septate hymen is an extra tissue that separates the Hymen’s opening in two small holes. When a woman has a septate hymen, she may have some difficulties in inserting or removing a tampon. A septate Hymen usually tears on its own during sexual intercourse, which can be very painful. A simple surgery can help to remove the septate Hymen and create a normal hymeneal orifice.

4- It doesn’t break. It stretches

We all have heard about the Hymen being broken when women have sex for the first time. This idea suggests that the Hymen is a rigid membrane covering all the vagina’s opening and can be torn with penetration. But this is not true. The normal Hymen, as we said earlier, already has a hole. It means that if you have sex for the first time, your Hymen won’t “break” or disappear, but it will probably stretch a bit, causing some bleeding. But not everyone bleeds. Some people have very elastic hymens that stretch and never bleed.

5- Hymen does not always go with virginity

Let’s talk a little bit about virginity because people often associate Hymen with virginity. To many, virginity means you haven’t yet had a penis -in vagina sex. But the truth is that the definition of virginity is complicated because some people had oral or anal sex and did not consider themselves virgins. Since what is considered sex varies from person to person, it is really up to you what you want to believe about your virginity. However, it would be reductive to only think about Hymen when you talk about virginity.

6- The Hymen cannot prove if someone has vaginal sex

Until today, people are still performing hymens checks to determine whether a girl or a woman has ever had vaginal sex. There are many reasons why these hymens checks are not reliable :

  • Some women are born with a hymen naturally stretched.
  • Many women have their hymens stretched long before having penetrative sex, whether from everyday childhood activity like gymnastics or riding a bike, or using menstrual products like a tampon.
  • The Hymen tends to wears away on its own with age.
  • Some women can have sex without stretching their Hymen, especially when they are relaxed during intercourse and have adequate lubrication.

So, the look of the Hymen does not determine if someone ever has vaginal sex.

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About the Author

Hermione M.

My name is Hermione. I am the founder of WomenH and I write about women's health, wellness, mental health, and personal growth. I created this platform to inspire women to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally to become their best selves. Thank you for stopping by.

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