Myth 1: It Serves to Protect the Vagina
According to reports, the hymen is “remnant tissue” from the time when the vagina was still developing. Scientists believe that its purpose is to protect the vagina in the embryonic stage from “external sources of infection” such as germs and dirt.
But for a grown woman, the hymen actually does not serve any physiological or medical purpose. It is just a “vestige” or leftover tissue from vaginal development.
Myth 2: It Completely Covers the Vaginal Opening
The idea that the purpose of the hymen is for the “preservation of a woman’s virginity” probably stems from the misconception that it is a membrane that completely covers the vaginal opening.
Instead of thinking that the hymen is a film or sheet that covers the vaginal orifice, visualize it as a donut or half-moon-shaped membrane that surrounds it. The hymen usually partially covers the opening and rarely does it block the vagina.
A hymen that completely covers the vagina (imperforate hymen) is problematic. This is because it interferes with menstruation and results in difficulty in urinating. Also, an imperforate hymen usually needs surgery to be corrected.
Myth 3: Women Have an “Intact” Hymen
The idea that there is such a thing as an “intact” hymen is a huge misconception.
Every woman is different, and therefore, it is normal for the hymen to vary in size, shape, and appearance. For instance, while it is common for the hymen to have a half-moon shape, some hymen look like a donut, some have fringes, while others have several holes or lobes.
In other words, there is no “intact” hymen because it is not the same for everyone. In addition, some women don’t have a hymen at all!
Myth 4: You’ll Hurt and Bleed When the Hymen is “Broken”
Contrary to popular belief, the hymen is not totally “rigid and penetrable;” many women have a stretchy and flexible hymen. This is the reason why some ladies feel pain while others do not feel anything during penetrative sex or masturbation.