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I wrote a paper on this when I graduated from college.
In many European countries, especially in the more Catholic areas, inserting something in your vagina is considered to be a taboo. There are differences among countries of course, but generally speaking the majority of girls in Catholic countries like Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, etc… masturbate less, don’t use tampons, internal exams are only done after being sexually active, etc… Girls are told not to touch themselves down there, it’s a sin, etc…
If my memory serves me right, 80% of all European girls were in pain when they had sex for the first time, vs. 30-40 percent in the States, which is a remarkable difference. The only explanation I could find for this phenomenon was that in Europe, most girls still have intact hymens and aren’t used to feeling something in their vagina. Girls often end up in a downwards spiral thinking the second time will be painful as well, which is sometimes – not always! – a trigger for vaginismus.
I live in Greece myself and over the past years, several articles have been published in youth magazines and newspapers on how girls can tear their own hymen, which is a good thing. I’m convinced a part of the vaginismus cases reported in Europe can be avoided when more girls do this. It’s not difficult to learn and it can take a lot of unnecessary stress away from the first sexual encounter.