The only way to be sure that your hymen is intact is to have a physical examination.
However, it cannot be concluded that a missing or damaged hymen is an indication that the woman is not a virgin. In addition, there are no reliable sources indicating the frequency of bleeding or tearing after first intercourse.
Therefore, this cannot be used as a determining factor either to imply virginity.
It is generally considered that a woman is a virgin if she has not experienced penetrative sex. As this often cannot be evidenced many cultures still hold onto the idea of an intact hymen as evidence of virginity.
The hymen itself is a piece of thin fleshy tissue that partially covers the external vaginal opening. It is part of the external genitalia and is similar in structure to the vagina.
During puberty, the woman’s body produces oestrogen which causes the hymen to change in appearance and become very elastic.
After puberty and into adulthood the hymen can be anything from fine and elastic to thick and more rigid. It is different for different women and there is no specific type of hymen.
In some cases, early rupture of the hymen can happen without any sexual activity at all.
This is particularly true for women who are involved in strenuous exercises or physically demanding sports like horseback riding, cycling and gymnastics.
Also, it has been known for minor injuries to the hymen heal with no significant visual or practical impairment to the hymen itself.
On the other hand, some women unintentionally rupture their hymen through the simple manual insertion of a tampon, a sex toy or digital penetration (use of the fingers or thumbs sexually penetrate the vagina) during masturbation.
Remember the hymen is a very delicate fine membrane. In some women, it is perforated and may rupture with very little interference.
Masturbation without penetration can be the safest option in terms of maintaining the integrity of the hymen, providing force is not used. Or by not performing any sexual activity that can impact the membrane.
However, It is important to note that some women are not even born with a hymen, therefore, in such cases, there is no hymen that actually breaks.
If you have concerns about your hymen, you should seek help from a sexual health professional or your medical practitioner.
Lohani Noor is an experienced empathic psychotherapist with a special interest in psychosexual therapies. She is resident at the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy in Chorlton Manchester. Lohani works with individuals and couples covering a wide range of difficulties. She also offers long term group therapy. Details regarding Lohani and her practice can be found on this website.
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