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

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

1. The Hymen Doesn’t completely Cover your VaginaThe most “normal” method the hymen presents chin is as thin tissue just at the bottom of the vaginal opening, claims Fahimeh Sasan, physician of osteopathy, one ob-gyn at The mount Sinai Hospital in new York. “If someone has tissue that covers the whole opening, that’s referred to as an imperforated hymen,” she says. There are other comparable abnormal variants, too, whereby openings in the tissue room too small.

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2. Abnormal Hymens can Require SurgeryIf your hymen is imperforated or be separate (where there are two little holes in the tissue), you might need to have actually a boy surgery, claims Sasan. In fact, an imperforated hymen is actually a medical condition—you’re acquiring your period but don’t have actually the physics discharge since it can’t pass through, she says. “In a truly perforated hymen, a young woman may say, ‘I’ve never had a period, however I feel favor I gain cramps.’” The minor surgery can fix the issue.

3. Experts Aren’t sure of its PurposeYour sleep helps friend smell, and also your urethra is wherein you pee—but the hymen doesn’t appear to offer any major purpose. “Physiologically, it’s there—but indigenous a medical perspective, it’s akin come the foreskin the the penis: We’re not certain why it’s there,” says Sasan.

4. The Doesn’t always Break the first Time You have actually SexYou’ve heard that once you lose your virginity, you likewise pop your cherry. “One of the big myths is the whether or not someone’s hymen is detached is a authorize of virginity,” claims Sasan. “That’s no true.” Why? due to the fact that there are other ways you can tear it as well as sex. Rigorous exercise, gymnastics, horseback riding, cycling, using big tampons, manipulation through a finger, or a pelvic exam room all possible (but no surefire) means to tear her hymen, she says.

5. You might Not understand When the BreaksWhen you break your arm, you understand the minute it happens—that’s not always the case here, claims Sasan. If the tissue does tear throughout sex, friend may discover intercourse painful and also experience bleeding, she explains. However if the tear occurs throughout gymnastics or indigenous wearing large tampons, because that example, you may not also be mindful of it. “Someone might say, ‘I bled after gymnastics,’ however might just think it’s spotting from her period,” claims Sasan.

6. Some societies Still Obsess around ItDespite the reality that the hymen isn’t always a sign of virginity, part still treat intact tissue as a sign of purity. “In a the majority of cultures, the hymen has come to be a large thing,” states Sasan. “People even check prior to a ladies gets married to check that she’s a virgin.”

And if it’s by no means common exercise in the united States, Sasan states that literary works on the topic reflects that over there is a procedure in i beg your pardon a doctor can recreate the hymen so the it shows up “intact” for cultural purposes, perhaps to prove virginity to a future husband, she notes.

7. As soon as It Tears, You never Really address It AgainRemember: The hymen is a very tiny fragment the tissue, states Sasan. And also if you do notification it break, it just goes turn off to the side or sloughs off never ever to be encountered again. “In a woman who’s had actually a baby, you can’t even tell wherein it would have been,” she says.

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Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance writer and editor with virtually a te of suffer reporting ~ above all things health, fitness, and travel.
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