Examples of Unbroken Hymens

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 17:40
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I never had a hymen...Betty never had a hymen.  When I shared with my mother that hymens thin out and break apart with the release of estrogen during puberty, she was relieved.  She was a virgin when she got married and always wondered why she didn't bleed after her first intercourse.  Her exact words, "why didn't someone tell me this in school?" - I resisted the impulse to rub her nose in her abstinence-only sex ed belief system. 

The hymen is what I call a sex "unicorn" - things that don't really exist but are idealized by the culture (like simultaneous orgasms - yes they happen but they're rare).  However, the hymen is much more lethal.  It's used to instill fear and shame on women in an effort to control their wombs.  I thought I'd set the record straight on all fronts.  Note: all science is based on generalities - when it comes to mother nature there is a range of results and every person is biologically unique. 

The majority of women are born with hymens - it's rare but some women are born without one.  This thin membrane is located at the vaginal opening.  Some hymens completely cover the opening..some look like swiss cheese...some look like fringe along the edges...some are barely visible (like this image of unbroken hymens).  Once a young girl hits puberty, her body starts to release estrogen which thins out the hymen to accommodate menstruation. 

Most often it breaks open with a smidge of membrane left behind at the base of the vaginal opening.  It can break open during penetration or riding your bike.  Just because you don't have a hymen doesn't mean you've had intercourse.  Finally, in rare circumstances the hymen doesn't thin out and must be opened surgically.  It is possible that you could be penetrated vaginally and still have a hymen because your hymen didn't completely cover your vaginal opening and it stretched to accommodate a penis.  However, this is extremely RARE.

During genital show & tell in the Bodysex groups, Betty and I often see small hymenal tags along the sides of the vaginal opening.  They look like a sweet little pink scalloped edge.  I don't have them and most of the vulva we see don't either.  However, we do see them. 

The whole point here is that many women bleed during their first intercourse due to lack of sexual arousal and tearing of the vaginal lining (most men are a bit rough and don't use lubricant).  I guess I resent the hymen because it's another example of the sexual double standard.  Every woman should be penetrating their vagina themselves to claim their bodies as their own.  The whole concept of bloodly sheets on your wedding night makes me sick.  The idea of women reattaching their hymens to relive the night they popped their cherry is ridiculous.

Ultimately, the hymen is a myth...a myth used to subjugate women.  Like Betty says - once you've had an orgasm with masturbation, you're not a virgin anymore. 

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Sun, 10/21/2012 - 14:44

I may not be a unicorn, but I definitely had a hymen. At 17 I feared the pain of it breaking during my first penis-vaginal sex, so I determined I would stretch it myself a few nights before I planned to have intercourse with my boyfriend for the first time. I inserted a couple of fingers in my vagina and started to stretch them apart. I did it several times, then whoops! I felt a sudden sting and release and a rush of warmth and I realized what I'd done. Sure enough, there was a big splotch of bright red blood on the sheet under me. I had an instant of "Uh-oh. Now what do I do?" But then I suddenly felt surprisingly proud of myself. "Ha! I burst my own hymen! It's mine and I did it myself! Wow, now it won't hurt! Hey, every girl should do this!" I felt intuitively empowered.

So when I had penetrive sex with my boyfriend a few nights later, I was right, it didn't hurt and I didn't bleed and he never once asked me why and I never told him. But best of all, I wasn't scared. I definitely think every girl or woman should have her first experiences of penetrative sex with herself first. That way she learns about her body, is in control of what happens at her own pace and feels empowered when she eventually does feel ready to share herself with another person.

Great info. It's stupid how

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 13:47

Great info. It's stupid how much we care about hymens.

mj, I love your story about

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 14:58
Carlin Ross


I love your story about how you broke your own hymen...great lesson for young girls.

...but some hymens do exist...

Thu, 10/24/2013 - 05:35
RG (not verified)

As someone who had my hymen opened surgically - or well, my something. Since hymens that actually precent penetration don't exist in grown women, right? As someone who was opened surgically I feel so sad when I read wellintended texts such as this one. We are few, but we exist. Despite the gospel of today, we are no friggin' unicorns. 

Whenever I see stories of women who can't use tampons or put a finger in and it's explained as "tightness" in muscles, without any suggestion of the hymen being in the way, I get so sad. I agree with most of what you're saying except I don't believe that most women bleed when they have sex first time. Some do. Of these, some may have had so careless sex they were bleeding from that... but come on. The majority? This is no beautiful picture of the male half of the population. I have friends who blead who were horny enough, no doubt. But still bled. 

I wish someone had explained about more complicated hymens in grownups. I wish I had heard about reasons for not being able to insert a finger. I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I was 19 when I had it done. My first boyfriend had heard about the phenomenon, I hadn't. Those who are young today, who are always told hymens don't exist, must have even more anguish over "the hole not being there" than I had. 

SO glad I read 'one more

Sat, 03/22/2014 - 11:41
Jeffrey65802 (not verified)

SO glad I read 'one more article' before logging off. I agree with Ross' Mom 'why don't they teach this?' Isn't often I encounter new information. And the thoughts I called up starting the article all fell over dead very quickly. I've always been terrified a girlfriend of mine would be a virgin and thus the painful first time with me would end up with her associating me with that pain. Looked in this section for a 'how to make it hurt less' sorta article. :) I had no idea about this at all. Will pass it along and point people here to learn about what they shoulda learned about decades ago. :)



Tue, 04/01/2014 - 15:44
AngelsNightmare (not verified)

I always thought my vagina was a little weird because I have this curly piece of flesh in the opening of my vagina and it goes down the middle of it that always catches my tampons and makes it hart to take them out. I still managed to have sex without breakage or bleeding but I have never seen a vagina like mine, even in google searches.

Hmm, masturbated since childhood to orgasm and hymen still there

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 18:42
Tiffany (not verified)

The first time I remember vividly masturbating until orgasm was when I was 7 years old, I used a marker as a dildo, and then as a teenager and into my twenties I masturbated with several fingers inside myself and still, my hymen never broken and my nurse who did my annual paps (even if you're a virgin, if you're over 18 they recommend them) and it was still there. It was not until I had sex with a man my first time that my hymen "broke". There is still a large piece of red thick flesh in the center, but still.

cultural obsession over hymens

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 03:38
Erica Lauren (not verified)

I find it odd that some people (especially cis men) inquire about my hymen after I tell them I've never had partnered sex. I mean, do they really think that at the age of 26, I'd still have a prominent hymen? I don't even remember my hymen breaking, but I'm guessing it happened the first time I tried to use tampons (age 12). I wish there were better sex education programs in schools!

Think the obsession this US

Sun, 07/27/2014 - 10:16
Jeffrey65802 (not verified)

Think the obsession this US culture has with hymens/virginity stems in undo emphasis getting placed on lineage. Goes back to the Bible where a lot depended on who your parents were (mostly the father.)

Plus there's likely some built-in biology involved too. Other animals have evolved methods of ensuring those who get to breed are in fact going to wind up the biological parent by depositing so much semen, and lesser male's gets 'flushed' out. That human animals pay attention to lineage then isn't as surprising when we realize nature's seen fit to develop methods of making sure the strongest and best genes get passed along.


Fri, 12/12/2014 - 03:24
smh (not verified)

MJ, great story for women who do not care about giving the virginity gift to your/their first "Love." I'm beside myself....articles like these are clear examples of the moral breakdown in this country. I refuse to date American women. Too many are more concerned about what she/they want in a relationship and not what she/they have to offer to one. My Gf is not American; she notices young American men literally flocking to her country to snatched up wives. Why you ask??? American men are tired of selfish women who think they are royalty! She and her young friends ALL have their hymens. These women ALL want it broken on their wedding night. 


Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:48

In so far as it has any value at all, female virginity as a "gift" to a presumably male lover is a gift of ignorance. Some men will enjoy this ignorance, will benefit from the lack of comparison and expectation that their untried lover brings to the relationship.

These are not the men that I want my daughters to meet and (eventually after lots of adventures) make a family with. I want them to meet confident, curious, easy-going lovers that are interested in them not their hymen, men who are not scared of comparisons and can put aside their ego occasionally in a relationship.

So in many ways the post from smh is really reassuring.

People like him are not going to marry people like me, and my beautiful girls. We can all be happy.

Virgin myths

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 18:15

I'm not convinced that smh's post is even sincere; to me it has all the earmarks of a troll and is therefore all the more offensive. My first girlfriend and I were both 'virgins' when we met. We were one another's first sexual partner, and equally ignorant about sex. But she was an athlete who used tampons and what was left of her hymen was not any kind of barrier. There was nothing to 'break', in other words. In a different time or place this would have been enough for someone to denounce her as an 'immoral' woman who had clearly had sex before and who therefore deserved to be publicly humiliated if not stoned to death (where's the virginity test for men?). So let's have no more insanity, cruelty, and lies about virginity, hymens, and the evils of sexually active, assertive women. Sexist rubbish, whether sincere or not, is still rubbish.

It's just like driving really :)

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 20:14
Jake E

What if we had the same atitude to driving as we do with sex. 

She's 17 and she's got a new car. But don't worry, she's not gonna take any lessons or get any kind of driving experience before she takes it out on the road. What could possibly go wrong :) 

That's funny, Jake

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 20:33

Teach yourself to drive, and learn as you go! Have another person who also doesn't know what they're doing sitting beside you to assist. And have a safe and pleasant journey . . . Yikes. That's exactly how we send most young people out into the world of relationships. Well said. Not very smart of our society, is it? Not very kind, either.

On the first night.. No pain

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 08:14
monika (not verified)

On the first night.. No pain from the opening.. No bleeding .. So im thnking y is it so n was normal .. Sometimes i would like to experience wat other have

I hated being a virgin!!!!

Mon, 09/07/2015 - 18:12

I kind of was not wanting any guy to know he was my 'first' because back in my time...swinging 1970s....eveybody was doing it. And then guys were so creepy about wanting to be the first to "CRACK" a virgin...I guess the 'tightness' was supposed to be the lure, and the virgin not knowing what to expect from intecourse, would not expect much servicing from the guy in return? Not sure. Some of the older gents here could  help answer that for me, always wanted to know. I could never figure out why men wanted to 'crack' a virgin. But I was 19 and wanted to hide the fact - when I first did it, of course the guy I was in love with was huge and had a lot of girth, I was bleeding terribly. It did hurt...a lot. Thank god he was drunk and I ran out of there first thing in the morning in a rush...he was so bummed out I did that but I was sore and could NOT do it again. It was awful! He never asked me or made comment or even noticed the blood, maybe did not notice at all or maybe he did...I have no clue. But I was all for not talking about it! But now today in this age, I think virgins are a novelty, no? I say do it yourself, in the long run it saves the terrible, dumb feeling a woman can have because guys put those kind of stigmas on virginity......as some men have matured, indeed many have not.

As the owner of a septate

Mon, 10/26/2015 - 21:48
Anonymous4321 (not verified)

As the owner of a septate hymen (Furthest to the right on the top row of hymens) I thoughroughly agree with .'..but some hymens do exist...' As an 18 year old getting hers removed very soon, I wish that I had been taught in sex ed about this. Though I always knew it was there (tampons and masturbation) I just assumed that this was normal and would break later on. It was only when I attempted to break it myself, multipul times, over many years, using various kitchen implements, that I realised this thing would stick around.
I freaked out the fist time I had to use a tampon and couldn't, and then later on when It got caught I comptemplated cutting my hymen myself. (though I have since streached it enough to use tampons) 
I resent the fear around hymens that catalyses the lack of knowledge that some of my doctors have had. Instructing me that virgins shouldn't use tampons, or not even knowing what this type of hymen is. 
I resent the embarrasment around womens bodies that has forced me to hide this problem from my parents, and prevented me from getting medical help until becoming independant. 
Some people do have hymens, some people don;t. I just wish that they could be talked about.

I 100 percent agree with smh

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 07:41
Anonymousselena (not verified)

I'm a thirty five year old female who actually never had the opportunity to share my hymen with anyone..due to reasons Ya all don't wanna hear,long story short it was stolen from me at the tender age of 2...I know we all need to consider the fact that other things can happen to it so it's not necessarily a good indicator as to wether or not a girl is a virgin..I still considered myself a virgin since I did not willingly give up my virginity..but I totally agree with smh...maybe because to me the hymen is so precious..I would love the chance to share the breaking of my hymen with my husband....who would want to do it themselves? Why would you want to miss out on that special moment with your spouse? Or do I just look at it the way I do because of the fact I didn't get to experience that?

a Doctor poped my cherry!

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 21:32
ohknows123 (not verified)

Oh laughs I have a horrible Hymen story. Its probably why I still have Issues with sex.
ok here it goes. I was born with a THICK THICK THick cribriform hymen ( the one with 2 holes only mine were so tinny!). it was so strong I couldnt break it. I 1st found it in 6th grade. I joined the swim team and was having my period. I always used pads, however my coach gave me a tampon told me to pop it in and swim.
it didnt work and she was so mad and said i was doing it wrong so I jammed it up there and well swam my heart out. after i went to pull it out and it was stuck and it hurt! part came out one side of the hole and the other stuck on the other side. oh what a mess it hurt so bad. i went home and showed my mom and balled for help and my mom finally pushed it up there and some how wiggled it free. but NO MY HYMEN DIDNT BREAK!
I went on and there I was 15. and in love for the 1st time I dated my hidhschool boyfriend for 3 months and we started getting hot for eachother finally we decided it was time. we got so excited and started but it hurt and no blood. i pushed through the pain because i thought everyone else felt that way too. until finally i couldnt do it and we broke up. 
i tried again with a new boyfriend that next year... and it hurt so i gave up and turned to masturbation. it hurt too. finally at 17 I told my mom it hurt to do anything. i couldnt even wear a tampon. she made me keep the hyen wouldnt help me by taking me to a dr until I was married... I wont lie I still had sex I was young and hormones made me think about it always so i did it.... FINALLY. 18 years old. I met a man and married him. I shared my story with him and he took me in and we had it removed by an OBGYN. i still think sex hurts sometimes but i ask myself is it just how I associate sex because of this?
its a dailey struggle with sex and I see a physical therapist to help me be comfortable with my husband. Now as a mother I know If my child has this problem Ill help her fix it early and save her the pain. plus tampon use is inportant! Hello!