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14 Questions About Virginity and Your Hymen Answered by Doctors

What is a hymen? Does your body need it? Should you lose virginity faster? Today, we're answering these and many other questions about the physiology of your virginity.
A teen girl learning hymen facts

What is the hymen?

The hymen is a thin membrane covering the vaginal opening. It consists of a connective tissue as well as muscle fibers with blood vessels and nerve endings.

Is the hymen visible to the naked eye?

The hymen is easy to detect. It usually lies no further than 0.8 in (1–2 cm) from the vaginal opening, playing the role of a boundary between the external and internal genital organs.

Is the hymen is the same in every girl?

The appearance and structure of the hymen are as individual as body shape or hair color. In each girl, it has its own shape, type, thickness, elasticity, and the number of blood vessels and nerve endings. 

Some hymens may be elastic and stretchable; others are not. Some may have many nerve endings, while others may only have a few.

What is the purpose of hymen in the body?

So far, scientists haven't reached a unanimous conclusion on this subject. One of the most common theories is that the hymen is a kind of barrier that prevents infectious agents from entering the young woman's body.

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Are all girls born with a hymen?

Actually, no. A few of them, about  0.03%, are born without it. These girls don't usually have any problems with the development of their reproductive system organs.

How does menstrual blood pass through the hymen?

The hymen has one or more holes to let blood through naturally.  In most girls, the hymen looks like a doughnut and has one large hole that can let one or two fingers in. 

Much less common are hymens with two holes, much like nostrils. Some even have several small holes!

Is the hole in the hymen is so small that it doesn't let a finger or a tampon in some women?

Sometimes, the hymen hole is so small that it can't let a tampon in. Consult a doctor to find out what type of hymen you have. This will help reduce the risk of unintentionally breaking it when using tampons.

A teen girl thinking about her virginity

Is hymen rupture painful and accompanied by bleeding?

Every girl's hymen has an individual structure, which is why bleeding and pain can be strong, weak, or absent altogether. 

This largely depends on the thickness of the hymen. The thicker it is the more painful losing one's virginity will be. 

Bleeding during the first sexual intercourse happens only in 43% of girls. The amount of blood can vary from a few drops to bleeding for a period of 1–3 days. If the bleedings persist longer than 3 days, consult your doctor.

Should you rush into losing virginity?

You shouldn't rely on your friends' experiences or societal pressure regarding this sensitive issue. It is very important to find a sexual partner for whom you will have true mutual feelings. 

It's worth doing only when you're ready and if you want to.

Can the hymen be damaged before having sex for the first time?

The hymen can indeed be damaged before having sex for the first time, for example, during masturbation, medical examination, surgery, or when using tampons that are the wrong size. 

It can also happen in case of injuries, hitting various objects, excessive physical exertion, and exercise.

Do virgins have to visit a gynecologist?

The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists recommends that all girls undergo their first gynecological examination between the ages of 13–15 years, regardless of whether they are sexually active or not. 

The girl will receive information on women's health care, and the doctor will make sure her female organs are developing properly.

Is staying a virgin after the age of 18–20 bad for your health?

Virginity doesn't harm one's health. It may sound boring, but only abstinence provides 100% protection against sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

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