The hymen—the small lining of organization that partly covers the vaginal opening—is practically synonymous v a slew of lady-part myths: You’re not a virgin if you’ve popped her "cherry"! You’ll bleed the first time you have actually sex! psychic those from back in the day?

Sigh. It’s time to obtain the story straight. Here, the hymen facts you never ever knew you needed in her life:

1. The Hymen Doesn’t totally Cover your VaginaThe many “normal” method the hymen presents chin is together thin tissue just at the bottom that the quality opening, states Fahimeh Sasan, medical professional of osteopathy, an ob-gyn at The mountain Sinai Hospital in new York. “If someone has actually tissue the covers the whole opening, that’s called an imperforated hymen,” she says. There space other comparable abnormal variants, too, wherein openings in the tissue are too small.

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2. Abnormal Hymens can Require SurgeryIf your hymen is imperforated or separated (where there space two small holes in the tissue), you might need to have actually a boy surgery, claims Sasan. In fact, an imperforated hymen is in reality a clinical condition—you’re getting your duration but don’t have actually the physical discharge because it can’t happen through, she says. “In a truly perforated hymen, a young woman might say, ‘I’ve never had a period, yet I feel favor I obtain cramps.’” The boy surgery can fix the issue.

3. Specialists Aren’t certain of that PurposeYour sleep helps girlfriend smell, and your urethra is where you pee—but the hymen doesn’t appear to offer any significant purpose. “Physiologically, it’s there—but native a clinical perspective, it’s akin come the foreskin the the penis: We’re not certain why it’s there,” states Sasan.

4. It Doesn’t constantly Break the very first Time You have SexYou’ve heard that as soon as you shed your virginity, you also pop her cherry. “One the the large myths is the whether or not someone’s hymen is detached is a sign of virginity,” claims Sasan. “That’s not true.” Why? due to the fact that there room other methods you have the right to tear it besides sex. Rigorous exercise, gymnastics, horseback riding, cycling, using big tampons, manipulation with a finger, or a pelvic exam are all feasible (but no surefire) methods to tear her hymen, she says.

5. You can Not recognize When it BreaksWhen you break her arm, you understand the moment it happens—that’s not constantly the situation here, says Sasan. If the tissue does tear throughout sex, girlfriend may discover intercourse painful and also experience bleeding, she explains. Yet if the tear occurs during gymnastics or indigenous wearing big tampons, because that example, you might not even be aware of it. “Someone can say, ‘I bled after gymnastics,’ however might simply think it’s spotting from she period,” states Sasan.

6. Some cultures Still Obsess about ItDespite the truth that the hymen isn’t constantly a authorize of virginity, part still treat intact tissue as a authorize of purity. “In a most cultures, the hymen has come to be a large thing,” states Sasan. “People even check before a ladies gets married to check that she’s a virgin.”

And while it’s by no means common practice in the unified States, Sasan claims that literary works on the topic mirrors that over there is a procedure in which a doctor have the right to recreate the hymen so the it shows up “intact” for cultural purposes, possibly to prove virginity to a future husband, she notes.

7. As soon as It Tears, You never Really resolve It AgainRemember: The hymen is a very little fragment the tissue, claims Sasan. And also if girlfriend do notice it break, it just goes turn off to the next or sloughs off never to be encountered again. “In a mrs who’s had a baby, girlfriend can’t even tell wherein it would have actually been,” she says.

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Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a expert freelance writer and also editor with virtually a te of endure reporting top top all things health, fitness, and also travel.
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