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Virginity - Myths and Facts

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In this 21 st century, virginity is an often heard and misunderstood word. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Raveendran S R

Published At April 26, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 20, 2022

What Is Virginity?

The term virgin refers to a woman who has not had any sexual relationship. The term virginity refers to a state of a person who has not engaged in any sexual intercourse. Virginity for people with vaginas has often been incorrectly linked to breaking the hymen. People mistakenly think that bleeding during sexual intercourse is the proof of an unbroken hymen; that is, the person has not indulged in a sexual relationship before. But the reality is the state of the hymen does not decide on sexual activity.

What Is Hymen?

The hymen is a thin membrane of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the opening of the vagina. It is a delicate fleshy tissue with no known biological function, and it does not indicate whether the person has had sex before.

There are five different types of hymens, they are:

  • Normal - Hymen with a crescent-shaped opening.

  • Cribriform - Hymen with several small openings (menstrual blood can flow).

  • Imperforate - Hymen with no opening (interferes with menstrual flow and tampon use).

  • Microperforate- Hymen with an extremely small opening (interferes with menstrual flow and tampon use).

  • Septate - Hymen has a thin band of tissue in the center (interferes with menstrual flow and tampon use).

What Is the Relationship Between Hymen and Virginity?

People believe that you cease to be a virgin when the hymen is wide open or notice a tear. Actually, it is not so because some people are born without a hymen, so having a hymen and being a virgin is not the same. It is important to understand that deciding on someone’s virginity by the way their hymen looks or feels is incorrect.

What Are the Myths and Facts About Virginity?

A) Myths - The following are the myths about virginity.

1. The Hymen Is an Indicator of Virginity Status:

This is not true, and it is an often misunderstood body part. Our human body is a collection of body parts, and each person is identified with their unique facial features such as eyes, nose, breasts, and other parts; also, the hymen is different for every woman. The problem is women themselves are not aware of their body and sexual anatomy, and no one can feel or touch the hymen to know that it is broken during sexual intercourse. It is a fleshy tissue, and it can tear or break while playing or cycling or doing any other activities at any age.

2. The Hymen Entirely Covers the Vagina:

This is not true. The hymen is just a delicate flesh tissue surrounding the vagina, and it does not entirely cover or wrap the vagina because it would be difficult or impossible for the menstrual blood to excrete.

3. Do Not Believe in Virginity Tests:

Hymen will not disappear after the first sexual intercourse and stays in the body forever. Many cultures place bloody sheets after a married couple gets for the first time to show that the young woman was a virgin. But all the women do not experience bleeding of the hymen at the first time of sex.

4. Women Will Always Know When Hymen Breaks:

This is not true because hymen can probably break before the first time you have sex; that might be due to,

So, it is mostly unnoticeable when hymen breaks.

5. Hymen Always Breaks and Results in Bleeding at the First Time of Sex:

No, and hymen always does not cause vaginal bleeding during the first sex. Vaginal bleeding can also be due to,

  • Insufficient lubrication.

  • Anxiety.

  • Inexperience.

  • Rough sex.

6. During the First Intercourse, Virgins Will Always Have Bleeding When Hymen Breaks:

No, women's hymens are different for each, and the hymen may tear over time with zero indication. Sometimes there might not be any bleeding or can have very light bleeding or some blood spots. It all depends only on the thickness and rigidity of the hymen.

7. The Purpose of the Hymen Is Only to Determine Virginity:

This is not because many vestigial structures, such as wisdom teeth, appendix, and hymen, do not actually serve any specific purpose. Previously, the hymen was believed to protect the vagina from bacteria, but now it has changed to a myth that it is used to determine the purpose of virginity.

8. Virginity Can Be Affected by Gynecological Examination:

This is not true because the gynecological examination is all about health and the examination of external genitals. This examination helps to prevent genital infections and is conducted by using a speculum that spreads the walls of the hymen or vagina and does not affect virginity.

9. Virginity Is Affected by Using a Tampon:

No it does not affect, because inserting a tampon during the first days of the period will stretch the hymen slightly, but it does not affect the person's virginity. This is because some women do not have an intact hymen, and some women are born without a hymen, so try to relax and be in your comfort before inserting a tampon.

10. By Looking at Your Hymen, Your Partner Can Predict Your Virginity:

It is not possible, because even a gynecologist cannot predict virginity by looking at the hymen, so keep in mind that no one can tell about the female's virginity by just looking at the hymen's tightness and rigidity. In addition, hymen's presence, rigidity, and thickness differ according to the daily regime and vigorous physical activities a woman performs.

11. Virginity Defines a Woman's Character:

Virginity should not define a woman's character because every person has a right to privacy and choice. In addition, losing his or her virginity is one's own decision and desire. So, virginity should not be a ruler for the measurement of character.

B) Facts - The following are the facts about virginity.

  • Whether you are a male or female, virginity is the quality and decision of an individual to choose and change the sexual desire by deciding freely without any other person's decision except your partner.
  • Virginity can be changed only on your own decision, and you cannot lose your virginity or be taken away from you without your permission.
  • There might be many situations where sexual contact might occur, but you did not get to make a decision, for example, when you are,
    • Too drunk.
    • Too young.
    • Too pressured.
    • Someone abused me.
    • Someone assaulted me.

These are not sex, and do not consider you have lost your virginity.

  • Understanding virginity is not a physical thing but a quality that we carry in our hearts. Your virginity cannot be lost or taken without your permission, and in cases where you have lost your virginity without your permission, do not consider it to say that you are not a virgin.


We need to have enough knowledge of our bodies and be aware of the facts despite heeding the myths that are without any validation or reason. In this society, we are not taught about issues of sex, virginity, and body urges that are natural at a tender age. Thus, misinformation only rules all logical thinking.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Indication to Know if a Person Is a Virgin?

A virgin is a person who has never had sex. Some factors are considered indicators of virginity, like a woman with an intact hymen being considered a virgin. But in reality, no physical sign or physical examination by a doctor can evaluate a person's virginity (man or woman).


How Far Is the Hymen Located From the Vaginal Opening?

The structure and thickness of the hymen can vary from person to person. Usually, the hymen is located one to two centimeters (0.8 inches) from the vaginal opening.


How to Identify the Virginity of a Girl Through Physical Appearance?

No physical sign can indicate the virginity of a woman. The hymen is just an elastic membrane in the vaginal canal that can be penetrated without breaking. Hence, an intact hymen is not a scientific sign of virginity.


How Long Does It Bleed After Having the First Sexual Intercourse?

Following the first sexual intercourse, the hymen, a tiny flap of vaginal skin, is stretched and broken, resulting in minor bleeding. The bleeding can last up to one or two days.


Can the Hymen Break More Than Once?

The hymen is a thin and flexible elastic membrane of the vaginal canal. The hymen does not break but stretches and tears eventually. A hymen cannot grow back and, hence, cannot tear or break more than once.


What Is the Color of the Hymen?

The color of the hymen is the same as the color of the skin around the vagina, which is flesh-colored.


Is the Hymen Visible to the Naked Eye?

Yes, the hymen can be seen by the naked eye with the help of a mirror. On self-examination with the help of a mirror, the hymen can be seen as a piece of tissue around the bottom part of the vaginal opening.


Does Every Woman Bleed After Having Sex for the First Time?

Most women bleed after having vaginal sex for the first time as the hymen stretches open. However, the hymen may also naturally tear from playing sports, putting fingers or other objects in the vagina, or using a tampon. Hence, every woman does not need to bleed after their first sexual intercourse.


Does Losing Virginity Affect Periods?

Having sex or losing virginity does not affect periods. The only way having sex can affect periods is when the woman gets pregnant, as periods become absent during pregnancy.


What Are the Types of Virginity?

There are three types of virginity: primary, secondary, and tertiary. However, these are not scientifically approved.


Is It Possible to Check if a Man Is a Virgin?

No test or physical examination can determine if a man has had sex before.


What Is Secondary Virginity?

Secondary virginity is the deliberate decision of a sexually initiated person to refrain from sex for some time.


What Are the Benefits of Having Sex?

The benefits of having sex are as follows:
- Serotonin, which is the feel-good hormone of the body, gets secreted.
- Oxytocin is released, which can make a person feel relaxed and happy.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Better heart health and immunity.
- Better sleep.
- Fewer chances of anxiety and depression.
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Dr. Raveendran S R
Dr. Raveendran S R



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