I’m feeling really confused about what exactly happens with your hymen. I hear everyone say things about “breaking your hymen,” which sounds so violent and scary. Does it hurt? Do you bleed a lot? Will it definitely happen the first time you have sex? It makes me feel so nervous.
You bring up a really good point here, even if you didn’t mean to. Saying that you “break” your hymen is actually pretty misleading, because you’re right, it does sound violent and scary… and it’s not! When it comes to your hymen, I can assure you that you probably have nothing to be nervous about.
When people say that you “break your hymen,” what they actually mean is that you can tear it. I’m not sure how the term “break” got to be so common in this particular instance, but it did, and now it’s what everyone says. I can see why that kind of violent imagery would make anyone feel freaked out. Here’s the real deal: the hymen is a thin piece of tissue that lines the vaginal opening. The hymen should have a small opening that is typically big enough for the tip of your finger or a small tampon.
The hymen stretches – when you’re gentle with it. If you aren’t gentle, that’s when it can tear (or, as everyone says, break). If it tears, it may cause a little bit of bleeding, which is why a lot of people say you’ll bleed the first time you have sex (we’ll get back to that in a minute). But, it doesn’t have to tear – if you gently work on stretching your hymen, it likely won’t “break.”
There are a lot of different ways your hymen can tear, which is exactly why it’s so ridiculous to look at a hymen as a symbol of virginity (which unfortunately still happens). You can tear your hymen from playing sports, masturbating, putting a tampon in, or just fooling around without going all the way. It’s typically not painful – a lot of girls don’t even realize when it happens.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t stress about your hymen tearing. It’s not as violent as it sounds, and it’s something that happens all the time. It sounds way scarier than it is, trust me!
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