Hymen Facts – Is Virginity Even REAL?

Image text: Hymen Facts Image shows six sketches of hymens. First, a ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Second a very thin ring of tissue. Third shows a vaginal opening nearly covered except for a sort of slit in the middle. Fourth shows two openings in the tissue. Fifth shows a medium-sized ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. Last shows a hymen with several small holes in it.

Spoiler alert: nope! It’s a construct we made up! Read on for more info on hymens.

Image shows a sketch of a vulva with text labeling the anatomy: clitoris, urethra, vaginal opening, and hymen, also called vaginal corona.

Hymens don’t necessarily break when something is inserted into the vagina (1).
And they can break without any vaginal insertion: through injury, or masturbation, etc (1).
Hymens change in size, shape, and flexibility across a person’s lifespan (1).
The hymen will often tear during the first vaginal birth (2).
Hymens have very few blood vessels and may not even bleed when torn (1).
There is no universal definition of the term “virginity” – its meaning varies by era, culture, and religion (3).
Clinicians are not trained or educated on the complexities of the hymen (1).
The term “intact hymen” has no anatomical correlate and should not be used (3).

If you want this information in the social media formats or in a printable flyer you can use for your clients or students click here.


1) Mishori, R. “The Little Tissue That Couldn’t
2) Frye, Anne “Healing Passage
3) WHO “Eliminating Virginity Testing
4) drawings by Nina Reimer

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