Contrary to what most girls have been led to believe about the hymen being a flat tissue that covers the vagina and is ripped during penetrative intercourse, the truth is that hymen is a fringe of tissue around the vaginal opening. It is not an intact tissue draping across the vaginal wall because without any outlet for the menstrual blood, girls would get periods only after they lose their virginity. (Know more about Irregular Periods)
Here are a few mind-boggling facts about the hymen.
- Just like labia, every woman's hymen varies in color, size and shapes.
- It is elastic and stretchy in most cases. Vaginal delivery makes the hymen less visible by smoothening and stretching it.
- Despite popular belief, the pain women experience when they have sex for the first time is not due to your hymen breaking, but because your vaginal muscles are too tense and/or you're going at it too rough and fast without adequate lubrication.
- Simple exercises such as walking, riding bicycles, doing splits as well as horseback riding may rip your hymen long before you have had intercourse.
- Hymens should not be perceived as the indicator of sexual activity because they are extremely stretchy and stay with you your entire life. Even sexually active people have hymens.
- If you do not resort to any sexual activity (including penetration during masturbation), the hymen returns to its default position in your vulva.
- Very few women have an imperforate hymen in which the opening is too small for penetration whether by tampons, fingers, sex toys or an erect penis. A simple surgery needs to be conducted in such a case where parts of the hymen are snipped away.
- There is a growth in hymenoplasty, also known as hymen reconstruction surgery, in the past few years because hymen is viewed as an indicator of virginity and there have been cases of annulment, public humiliation, torture and even death because they believe that the hymen is not intact due to sexual activity; therefore making hymenoplasty an effective solution.
- Although, not an indicator of the amount of sexual activities performed, one must seek immediate medical attention after being sexually assaulted because it can be examined to prove sexual abuse. (Learn more about Sexual Activity Affects Vaginal Health). If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Sexologist.