Busting the hymen myth
What is the hymen? Where is it? What does it look like? Today, we look at myths – and facts – of the hymen.
The hymen is a solid piece of skin covering the inside of the vagina
The hymen is in fact a thin and elastic piece of tissue around the wall of the vagina. It is not as commonly believed, a piece of skin or membrane that covers the entrance of the vagina. The hymen has a hole in the middle through which the menstrual flow exits.
Intact hymen means tight vagina
The tightness of the vaginal canal has nothing to do with the presence of a hymen or its absence. Anxiety and fear can tighten the vaginal muscles, however. If this is your partners first time having sex, you need to make sure that she is adequately relaxed and prepared before you consider having penetrative sex.
A smaller woman would have more muscle tone in her vagina than larger women. The size of the penis also plays a role. Don’t however assume that because she is a virgin she will be naturally tight.
The hymen will break if I use a tampon or put my fingers in too deep
The hymen is about 1-2 cm inside the vaginal opening. Inserting a tampon or your fingers will not injure the hymen. The hymen can easily stretch out and back again to accommodate a tampon, fingers, or even a penis. You can safely use a tampon and not harm your hymeneal tissue.
A virginity test can detect the presence of the hymen
Some cultures required proof of virginity prior to the marriage of a young girl. However, you can only lose your virginity if you have sex. A two-finger test used to be often carried out by doctors or older women in a community to check for the presence of the hymen, and or the elasticity of the vaginal muscles. This procedure is very subjective and can lead to many errors in judgment. The presence of an intact hymen is not a reliable way of confirming virginity. There is no test that can investigate virginity 100 per cent. The only person that can do that is the individual.
If you don’t bleed when you have sex, your hymen was already torn
In Medieval times virginity was a traded upon commodity. A white sheet streaked with the virgin’s blood was all the proof required that a bride was chaste. Unfortunately, not all women bleed when having sex for the first time. If the hymen had stretched with athletic activities and/or injuries, the woman is highly unlikely to bleed. If a woman is relaxed during intercourse, and is adequately lubricated, she may not bleed during penetration. Lack of blood does not equal lack of virginity.
All hymens are the same
Not true: not all hymens are created equally. Just like all earlobes, noses and labias are different, so are hymens.