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Myths About Virginity

virginity, myths, reproductive health, family planning

What Is A Virgin

The word ‘virgin’ is generally used to call a person who has never had sex; but that leaves a lot of gaps filled with different interpretations. If it’s just oral sex, are you still a virgin? If a woman only had sex with another woman, is she still a virgin? In some cultures, a woman who has experienced forced and non-consensual intercourse, or rape, is already considered to have “lost her virginity,” as if it’s her fault—which is absolutely unfair, sexist, and wrong! Rather than focusing on virginity status, remember that there can be a first kiss, first orgasm, first genital touch, and a lot of other firsts in various sexual activities.

Here are some of the most common myths on virginity.

Myth #1 Your first time will be bloody and painful — FALSE!

Each person and each couple may have different definitions of sex. You might bleed, you also might not. Whether you do or do not, it doesn’t determine your virginity status. Everybody is different—some women bleed a lot during their first time, while some don’t shed a single drop of blood. Whether or not it’s going to be painful depends on your partner.

Myth #2 Tampons affect virginity — FALSE!

If first sexual experiences are the basis of virginity, then using tampons definitely doesn’t count. Using tampons occasionally may cause changes in the anatomy of the hymen, but it rarely happens. One possible variation is called a septate hymen, which is a thin band across the opening of the vagina. Another is the micro perforate hymen, which is a very small opening. Out of 2,000 girls, one may have a hymen with no opening, which is called an imperforate hymen. This results in experiencing significant pain every month after the time of the expected first menstrual period (around age 12 to 12 ½ on average), and no menstrual bleeding occurring. Using a mirror to look at yourself before deciding to try tampons is a very good idea—and if any question comes up, a healthcare provider can answer them!

Myth #3 A partner can tell if a woman is a virgin — FALSE!

Even a gynecologist can’t determine if a woman has had intercourse, then how can a partner tell? It’s good to be open with your partner about your sexual history to build trust, and to have a healthy and happy relationship.

Myth #4 A gynecological exam affects virginity — FALSE!

What makes tampons and gynecological exams similar? They both concern health, not sex. Regular checkups (just looking) of the external genitals are advised as part of kids’ and teens’ healthcare. A pap test, an exam conducted to check for precancerous cells from the cervix, typically involves using a speculum to spread the walls of the hymen and vagina, is usually recommended to be done regularly by the age of 21. It may be needed before reaching 21 for those who have specific symptoms or problems.

Myth #5 A broken hymen means you are not a virgin — FALSE!

There are no physical determinants of virginity or past sexual activity—not even the presence or absence of the hymen.

The hymen is a border of tissue surrounding the vaginal opening, but does not completely cover the vagina to allow menstrual blood to flow out. Some are born without hymens or with very minimal amount of tissue, while others are born with more tissue that partly covers the vaginal opening.

Hymens cannot be used as enough evidence of virginity status because they can also be torn in other ways aside from sex, such as riding a bicycle, climbing trees, using tampons, etc.

Definition of sex and virginity may vary for each person, and virginity is not just about the hymen—it cannot be represented by just one body part.

Sources:

https://www.bedsider.org/features/962-5-myths-about-virginity-busted

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/sex/virginity

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