The hymen—the little lining of organization that partly covers the vaginal opening—is nearly synonymous through a slew the lady-part myths: You’re not a virgin if you’ve popped your "cherry"! You’ll bleed the an initial time you have sex! psychic those from ago in the day?

Sigh. It’s time to gain the story straight. Here, the hymen facts you never ever knew you necessary in your life:

1. The Hymen Doesn’t entirely Cover her VaginaThe most “normal” way the hymen presents itself is together thin tissue simply at the bottom of the quality opening, states Fahimeh Sasan, physician of osteopathy, one ob-gyn at The mount Sinai Hospital in new York. “If someone has actually tissue the covers the entirety opening, that’s called an imperforated hymen,” she says. There room other similar abnormal variants, too, wherein openings in the tissue are too small.

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2. Abnormal Hymens can Require SurgeryIf her hymen is imperforated or separated (where there space two little holes in the tissue), you might need to have a boy surgery, claims Sasan. In fact, one 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 important perforated hymen, a young woman might say, ‘I’ve never had actually a period, yet I feel favor I gain cramps.’” The minor surgery have the right to fix the issue.

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

4. That Doesn’t constantly Break the very first Time You have SexYou’ve heard that as soon as you lose your virginity, you also pop your cherry. “One of the huge myths is that 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 means you can tear it as well as sex. Rigorous exercise, gymnastics, horseback riding, cycling, using big tampons, manipulation with a finger, or a pelvic exam are all possible (but no surefire) methods to tear your hymen, she says.

5. You could Not recognize When the BreaksWhen you break her arm, you know the minute it happens—that’s not constantly the case here, states Sasan. If the organization does tear throughout sex, girlfriend may find intercourse painful and experience bleeding, she explains. Yet if the tear occurs throughout gymnastics or native wearing huge tampons, for example, you might not even be mindful of it. “Someone can say, ‘I bled ~ gymnastics,’ but might just think it’s spotting from she period,” says Sasan.

6. Some cultures Still Obsess about ItDespite the fact that the hymen isn’t constantly a sign of virginity, some still treat undamaged tissue as a sign of purity. “In a lot of cultures, the hymen has come to be a huge thing,” says Sasan. “People even check prior to a women gets married to confirm that she’s a virgin.”

And while it’s by no way common exercise in the joined States, Sasan claims that literature on the topic shows that there is a procedure in i m sorry a doctor deserve to recreate the hymen so the it shows up “intact” for social purposes, perhaps to prove virginity to a future husband, she notes.

7. As soon as It Tears, You never ever Really deal with It AgainRemember: The hymen is a very small fragment that tissue, claims Sasan. And also if friend do an alert it break, it just goes turn off to the next or sloughs off never to be encountered again. “In a woman who’s had actually a baby, you can’t even tell where it would have been,” she says.

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Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a experienced freelance writer and editor with virtually a decade of suffer reporting top top all points health, fitness, and also travel.
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