The hymen—the little lining of organization that partly covers the quality opening—is nearly synonymous v a slew that 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 facts you never ever knew you essential in your life:

1. The Hymen Doesn’t entirely Cover her VaginaThe most “normal” way the hymen presents itself is as thin tissue simply at the bottom of the quality opening, claims Fahimeh Sasan, physician of osteopathy, an ob-gyn at The mountain Sinai Hospital in new York. “If someone has actually tissue the covers the entirety opening, that’s referred to as an imperforated hymen,” she says. There room other comparable abnormal variants, too, where openings in the tissue space too small.

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2. Abnormal Hymens deserve to Require SurgeryIf her hymen is imperforated or separated (where there room two small holes in the tissue), you might need to have a young surgery, says Sasan. In fact, one imperforated hymen is actually a medical condition—you’re gaining your duration but don’t have the physics discharge because it can’t pass through, she says. “In a important perforated hymen, a young woman may say, ‘I’ve never had a period, yet I feel choose I acquire cramps.’” The boy surgery have the right to fix the issue.

3. Experts Aren’t certain of its PurposeYour nose helps friend smell, and also your urethra is whereby you pee—but the hymen doesn’t show up to serve 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,” states Sasan.

4. That Doesn’t always Break the an initial Time You have SexYou’ve heard that once you shed your virginity, you additionally pop your cherry. “One that the large myths is that whether or no someone’s hymen is detached is a sign of virginity,” states Sasan. “That’s not true.” Why? since there room other methods you have the right to tear it besides sex. Rigorous exercise, gymnastics, horseback riding, cycling, using big tampons, manipulation through a finger, or a pelvic exam room all possible (but no surefire) methods to tear your hymen, she says.

5. You might Not know When it BreaksWhen friend break your arm, you understand the moment it happens—that’s not constantly the case here, says Sasan. If the tissue does tear throughout sex, girlfriend may find intercourse painful and also experience bleeding, she explains. However if the tear occurs during gymnastics or native wearing huge tampons, because that example, you might not even be mindful of it. “Someone could say, ‘I bled after gymnastics,’ but might just think it’s spotting from she period,” claims Sasan.

6. Some societies Still Obsess around ItDespite the fact that the hymen isn’t always a authorize of virginity, some still treat undamaged tissue together a sign of purity. “In a most cultures, the hymen has end up being a huge thing,” states Sasan. “People even check prior to a women gets married to confirm that she’s a virgin.”

And if it’s through no method common exercise in the unified States, Sasan claims that literary works on the topic shows that there is a procedure in i m sorry a doctor have the right to recreate the hymen so that it shows up “intact” for cultural purposes, possibly to prove virginity to a future husband, she notes.

7. When It Tears, You never ever Really address It AgainRemember: The hymen is a very small fragment that tissue, says Sasan. And also if friend do notification it break, it simply goes turn off to the side or sloughs off never to be dealt with again. “In a mrs who’s had a baby, friend can’t even tell whereby it would have actually been,” she says.

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Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a professional freelance writer and editor with nearly a te of suffer reporting on all things health, fitness, and also travel.
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