Myth 6: The Presence of a Hymen Means that a Woman Hasn’t Had Sexual Intercourse Yet
At this point, we have already dispelled several myths about the hymen. It is clear now that there is no such thing as an “intact” hymen and that it does not break or disappear due to one event. We have also established that the hymen may or may not bleed when it experiences tearing or trauma.
But perhaps, the most important assumption that needs to be clarified is the idea that the presence of a hymen indicates that the woman still hasn’t engaged in penetrative sex.
Remember, hymens are different from one woman to another. Some may bleed, some won’t. Others will feel pain, others don’t. And it is normal. In other words, you cannot use the presence of the hymen as a “reliable test for sexual activity.” Likewise, you also cannot use it to determine if sexual abuse has occurred.
Myth 7: Only Sexual Intercourse Changes the Hymen
As explained earlier, the hymen stretches, thins out, or tears over time. But sexual intercourse is not the only activity that changes it.
Experts explain that the following can also result in hymen changes:
- Menstrual cup use
- Tampon use
- Vigorous exercise
- Gynecological exams
- Penetrative masturbation
Hymen and “Virginity”
After discussing the purpose of the hymen and the different myths that surround it, let us now have a little clarification about virginity. Most people pertain to someone who has never had sex as a virgin. But most experts say that it’s not as simple as it sounds.
This is because the idea of “sex” and “losing one’s virginity” means different things to different people. For instance, a lot of people accept that they have lost their virginity once they have penetrative “penis-in-the-vagina” sex. However, there are also individuals who no longer consider themselves virgins because they engage in other forms of intimacy such as oral sex. This subjectivity further seals the inaccuracy of using the hymen as an indication of “virginity.”
Remember, each woman is different, so it follows that hymens are different, too.
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