Are you worried about your virginity? Are you worried that someone is going to know that you’ve had sex before and use that information against you?
Let me answer all of your questions right now and set your mind at ease.
There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to virginity and I’m here to tell you the real facts. Take this information from a medical doctor who has seen hundreds, if not thousands of vaginas.
By the end of this post, you will be able to check your virginity and the virginity of others, by answering one simple question.
The 3 big myths about virginity and the hymen
Myth 1: The hymen is a seal over the opening of the vagina
This is not true at all. The hymen is not a membrane that covers the entire entrance of the vagina. Otherwise, how would menstrual blood flow out each month?
The hymen is actually more like a scrunchy. It surrounds the entrance to the vagina but still has an opening that can stretch quite wide (like a scrunchy) and then go back to it’s original shape without any problem.
Myth 2: The hymen breaks or tears during penis-in-vagina sex for the first time. That’s how you lose your virginity
When we grow up, we are are lead to believe that if a penis goes into your vagina, the hymen will burst or pop (Hence the term “popping your cherry”).
This is definitely not the case. Like we just mentioned, the hymen is like scrunchy and will simply stretch to accommodate anything that goes into the vagina.
Even big-headed babies can come out of there without tearing the hymen!
Myth 3: You will bleed when you have sex for the first time
Once again, this is a huge myth!
Most people do not bleed the first time they have sex. Most of the time the hymen will stretch without any injury. The blood supply to the hymen is very limited.
If you do bleed, it could be for a range of different reasons.
That first bleed is usually due to an inexperienced couple not warming up or including foreplay before sex.
When this happens, the bleeding could be caused by tense vaginal muscles, inadequate lubrication, rushed entry, or vaginal abrasions not related to hymenal tears.
There is no anatomical basis for virginity
There are different types of hymens
There are different types or variations of hymens which cover only PART of the vaginal opening.
They can have a circular or semi-circular opening or many small openings. In the majority of people, it simply looks like a small fringe of elastic tissue surrounding the vaginal opening.
If you would like to get more information about the different types of hymens, including images, check out this post.
If your hymen completely covers the vaginal opening, there’s a problem!
There is a rare condition called an imperforate hymen, and that’s when the hymen actually does seal off the vagina.
With the vagina totally sealed off, no menstrual blood can pass through. Usually this is only discovered because the girl hasn’t started menstruating yet and she’s getting late into her teen years.
In this case, the hymen needs to be surgically opened to allow for normal function.
Everyone’s hymens are different
For some people it is a very fragile tissue that can easily tear
This is why some people say that their hymen was torn while doing athletics, horse riding or falling on their vulva. But even if the hymen tears a little bit, it is still very much present. It doesn’t simply disappear forever.
For other people, the hymen is very durable
If your hymen is durable and doesn’t have significant blood supply, it wont bleed or tear even after significant force – this includes sex or even childbirth!
We have known for over 100 years that the hymen is not indicative of virginity
In 1906, in a Norwegian study, Dr. Marie Jeancet examined a middle-aged sex worker and noted that her hymen was still intact and looked similar to a young girl who has never had sex before.
You can have sex (or a lot of sex) and still have an undamaged hymen!
There was also a study done in the US in 2003 where 36 pregnant teenage girls were examined for evidence of sexual abuse and penetrating trauma to the vagina. Only 2 out of the 36 girls had any sign that penetration had taken place.
And this wasn’t normal sex, this was forced, violent, rape.
This shows that the hymen and the vagina are very elastic and durable. It proves that there is no way to reliably tell whether someone has had sex or even been sexually assaulted before by examination alone.
There is no medical definition of virginity
We have proved that there is not anatomical basis for virginity. Looking at the hymen gives us no information about whether someone has had sex before or not.
This means that the definition of virginity is only a social or cultural one.
This means that the definition of virginity can vary from person to person, depending on how they were brought up.
What is your definition of virginity?
For me, it is someone who has never had sex before.
But this leads us to asking a more important question, what is your definition of sex?
Is it only penis-in-vagina sex? What about anal sex or oral sex? What about the LGBT community?
If only penis-in-vagina sex “counts”, then what about homosexuals? Are they destined to be virgins for the rest of their lives? That’s ridiculous, and it negates the experiences of a signification portion of the population.
The definition of sex can be different for everyone, and that’s a good thing! Sex is so much more than penis-in-vagina sex or penetration of any kind.
So what about virginity testing?
As you know by now, you cannot tell someone’s sexual story by looking at their hymen.
Can you check whether a man is a virgin by looking at his penis? No. Well it’s the same thing for women!
And yet, virginity testing is still practiced in at least 20 countries worldwide, including South Africa and the USA.
In South Africa, every year thousands of young women gather and are tested to find out if they are virgins as part of a cultural custom.
Some respect the cultural practice, others find it degrading. I’m sure you can imagine why!
How does the virginity testing work in South Africa?
It is usually done in a small room or enclosed area, where the virginity tester sits on a grass mat wearing gloves.
The women being tested lies down with your legs spread open.
The tester then spreads open the labia to see whether the hymen is intact or if the vaginal opening has been enlarged by a penis.
Most testers use the two-finger test where they insert two fingers into the vagina to determine the difficulty of penetrating the vagina. If the fingers go in easily, she’s not a virgin. If it is difficult or impossible to insert the two fingers, she is a virgin.
During the test, some testers take a small amount of liquid and pour it into the vagina. If only a little trickles into the vagina then she’s a virgin, if it flows easily into the vagina then they say the vagina has been opened by sex.
Do I even need to tell you how ridiculous that sounds?
In South Africa, virginity testing is still legal
It’s hard to believe but it’s true. There are even formal guidelines for the practice of virginity testing:
- The girl must be over the age of 16
- She must consent to the test
- She must be given proper counselling before and afterwards
- The results of the virginity test may not be disclosed without the consent of the woman
- The body of the girl being tested may not be marked in anyway after having the test done
In 2018, the WHO and the UN called for a ban on all virginity testing
They reported that virginity testing is “medically unnecessary, painful, humiliating and traumatic”.
But throughout the world, it is still being practiced.
Believe it or not, the tests are done at the request of the girls’ parents or future husband, or even their employers!
In the Indonesian military, all women have to undergo virginity testing in order to be eligible to work in the military.
How is that okay? How is that relevant to the woman doing her job or serving her country?
Virginity testing after rape
All of this is invasive and traumatic in its own right. But what about victims of rape and sexual assault?
Virginity tests are still being done to victims of rape to determine whether there is any evidence that she was raped.
This unnecessary and completely unreliable virginity testing can then cause additional pain and trauma. It only causes them to reexperience the trauma and be victimised once again.
Virginity testing is not restricted to developing countries, it is still being performed in the USA today
In the US, it is still legal for a doctor to perform hymen checks as proof of virginity.
How is it possible that a supposedly educated doctor would not only not know that the hymen cannot show you whether there is any penetration, but actually offer these sorts of services?
A doctor’s responsibility and loyalty is to the patient, not the patient’s parents or family. This is completely unethical and harmful.
You may have even heard about this in the news last year. The rapper, T.I., came out and spoke about how he makes sure he takes his teenage daughter to the gynaecologist every year to check her hymen to make sure she is still a virgin.
There are so many problems with this!
Firstly, as we discussed, virginity tests aren’t real and based on science. You cannot tell whether someone is a virgin by examining their genitals.
Secondly, I have questions about the doctor’s morals and ethics.
Thirdly, he says he accompanies her. This is a major invasion of privacy! And he made a public statement confirming that his daughter is still a virgin!
To be honest, whole thing is ridiculous and creepy. No man should be that concerned about their daughter’s genitals.
“Failing” a virginity test can have severe consequences
Just because virginity tests aren’t “real”, it doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences.
Women are worried that they will not bleed on their wedding night, even if they are virgins, so they have to fake it. They do this by using fake blood or artificial hymens they buy online. Many women are even undergoing a “revirgination surgery” called hymenoplasty.
Have you heard of artificial hymens before?
I hadn’t heard of it either!
Women buy these products online and then place the artificial hymen inside of their vaginas before sex. With penetration of the penis it breaks open and squirts fake blood.
Sometimes the husbands are in on it and know they will be using fake blood, just so that they can show their bloody bedsheets to the family!
Young women are afraid
Young girls are afraid of ruining themselves, they wont even use tampons for fear of losing their virginity!
They are afraid of their own bodies, their own genitals! They are worried that their genitals can betray them during a virginity test even if they haven’t had sex before.
The huge focus on virginity can lead to female genital mutilation
In certain parts of Africa and India, female genital mutilation takes place as a means of ensuring that women stay virgins until marriage, and stay faithful to their husbands.
They think that by cutting off the parts of her that feel pleasure (the clitoris), she won’t be tempted to have sex before marriage. It’s barbaric!!!! (How many exclamation points do I need to use?!)
In Pakistan, if you’re a woman who’s not a virgin, you can face divorce, social ostracism or even be murdered!
The sexual oppression of women is so much more than a hymen myth
It is only one of the powerful tools used to control women.
The yardstick for measuring whether a woman is good or bad has always been associated with her virginity.
We are brought up this way: good women abstain from sex until marriage. If you deviate from this, you’re considered a bad woman and your morality is questioned.
Men have even argued that they feel emasculated if they lose exclusive access to their partner. Women are treated like property, not human beings!
The concept of virginity is the result of a patriarchal society that is trying to control women’s sexuality
The concept of virginity is sexist because these standards only apply to women and not to men.
For women, her virginity is valuable and it determines her worth.
Men are free from shame and judgement when they lose their virginity, their virginity doesn’t mean anything. In fact they are rewarded for having sex and it’s better for his social status if he’s not a virgin.
Society has come to associate a flimsy piece of tissue surround the vaginal opening with purity and morality. It’s ridiculous.
The concept of virginity came about because of the commodification of women
Women have been and still are seen as property. That’s where the wedding tradition comes from when the father walks the daughter down the isle and gives her away to her husband. That is an exchange of property. He is literally giving her away.
By telling women that their worth is determined by their virginity status, we reduce them to objects instead of people.
When women lose their virginity, they are labelled as damaged or ruined, and worth less.
Virginity is seen as a sign of purity, so even if you are raped, you are considered less pure and worth less. And it wasn’t even your fault! It wasn’t something you could control, so why does it bring your morality into question?
Women are shamed for enjoying sex the same way men do, they are called sluts or whores. Society seems to see a woman’s worth as inversely proportional to how much sex she has. The more sex she has had, the less she is worth – and the less pure she is.
How dare a women enjoy sex?!
Let me make this very clear right now: women are not objects for men’s pleasure.
So how can you tell whether a woman is a virgin or not?
Knowing all ALL of this now, we can answer the question, the reason why you are here: How can you tell whether a woman is a virgin or not?
It’s very simple.
You ask her.
But know that she doesn’t have to give you an answer.
And it’s absolutely none of your business!
There is no anatomical basis for virginity. You cannot tell whether a woman is a virgin by looking at her genitals. If you really want to know whether she is a virgin, ask her. It’s that simple.
Virginity testing is not only fake and has no value, it is unethical and harmful.
Your worth is not dependent on your virginity status or the number of people you have had sex with.
Women are not objects that only exist to provide pleasure for men and raise children. Women are full human beings who deserve to give and receive pleasure, and enjoy sex just as much as men do.