Text on the hymen

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    I’m a biology teacher, and in that role I give sex ed to teens once a year. What Patrick and Melissa wrote here about a possible relation between hymens and vaginismus actually made me review a few things I had in my notes on the hymen. What do you guys think, is this okay?

    The hymen is a membrane located at the entry of the vagina. Every woman is born with a hymen, but they come in different shapes and sizes. A hole inside the membrane makes sure menstrual blood can find its way to the outside. The size of the hole and the thickness of the hymen differ from women to women, which means that the state of the membrane cannot always be used to determine if you are sexually active or not.

    In some girls, the hymen will tear after using a tampon, or after inserting fingers or other objects into their vagina. In others, this happens during the first sexual contact. The tearing can cause a stinging, sharp pain and some blood loss. When the hymen is thin or when the hole inside the membrane is large, it’s possible you don’t even feel it tearing. On the other hand, when the membrane is thick, it might take several attempts before it tears, making sex painful the first few times. Both possibilities are normal.

    When the pain persists for several weeks or when sex is totally impossible, it is best to consult a doctor. He or she can make an incision in the membrane, which will make sex comfortable again. Do not wait too long before seeking medical help, since pain during sex can cause vaginismus, which is the involuntary tensing of the vagina. This can make sex totally impossible.

    The hymen can also tear in multiple stages, for instance once when using tampons, and a second time when having sex for the first time. This can also happen when a new partner is more endowed than a previous one. Only when a woman has given birth vaginally, the hymen disappears completely.


    I think this is great info to teach, and I feel very accurate to pass along to high school teens.
    So important to cover this for both the young women and young men!


    I wish my own biology teachers would have used this text. At least it’s a correct representation of what the hymen is. When I was a teen, I was told that the hymen is a myth!


    I love seeing this, Theresa! To be honest some of this info is new to ME and I’m 29! I love that you’re teaching such applicable, helpful information that gives teens (both girls AND boys) a better understanding of how women’s bodies work and how sex should feel.


    Very informative, thanks!

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