Myths and facts about virginity

12 July 2019 12:21 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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If at all here what someone is losing is the intact hymnal ring which is of course some times not present from birth

The truth about virginity gives the power and control back to them to make decisions about sex

 

A lot of traditional views on virginity are based on religious and cultural beliefs that are not related to facts. In some cultures, a show of blood after the wedding night, ‘virginity tests’, and hymen examinations are still in practice.


However, medical knowledge has progressed a long way since then and it is important that we reframe our beliefs on virginity based on what we now know. For some of us, this means challenging our religious and cultural beliefs.


The definition of virginity is complicated, and it’s really up to you to decide what you believe in. Some people don’t even care about what ‘virginity’ means. But in general, virginity is often presented in simple terms by asking this question: have or haven’t you had sex?


But virginity is actually a complicated concept that has more than one definition. That’s because virginity isn’t a medical concept. What you consider as virginity usually depends on your cultural background and religious upbringing.


A lot of people think that having ‘penis-in-vagina sex’ for the first time is how you lose your virginity. If at all here what someone is losing is the intact hymnal ring which is of course some times not present from birth.

 


Q What’s a hymen?
The hymen is a stretchy collar of tissue just inside your vaginal entrance (the passage to your womb). Just like other parts of our body, hymens are a little different for everyone. The hormone oestrogen changes the appearance of your hymen over your lifetime.  After puberty when you develop breasts and get periods, the hymen becomes stretchier  
Just like the shapes of our noses are slightly different, our hymens are too. Many people think the hymen totally covers the opening of your vagina until it’s stretched open, but that’s not usually the case. Some people are born with so little hymenal tissue that it seems like they don’t have a hymen at all.


Most of the time, hymens naturally have a hole big enough for period blood to discharge.


 In rare cases, people have hymens that cover the entire vaginal opening in which case the imperforated hymen or the hole in their hymen is very small. Hence they may need to see a doctor for a minor procedure to remove the extra tissue. 

 


Q Does having a hymen mean you’re a virgin?
Some people believe that you’re not a virgin if your hymen is stretched open. But having a hymen and being a virgin are not the same thing.


Some people are born with hymens that are naturally open. And many other activities besides sex can stretch your hymen. So you can’t tell if someone has had sex by the way their hymen looks or feels.

 


Q Who are virgins?
People often talk about virginity like it has a hard and fast definition: You’re either a virgin or you’re not. But virginity is an idea and it means different things to different people and its meaning is different in different cultures.


For example, some think that people are virgins until they’ve had penis in vagina (PIV) sex, while others argue that any other form of sex also can lead to loss of virginity. And some others think you are no longer a virgin after you’ve had your first orgasm. Different people think of virginity differently. Its definition is not set in stone. That means that you can think of virginity in the manner you want to think of it (if you want to think of it at all)! Stressing about whether you’re a virgin is way less important than how you feel about your sexual experiences.


All these ideas about virginity (combined with a lack of sex education in general) means that there is a whole lot of misinformation out there about virginity and who is or is not a virgin.
Many people believe rape and sexual assault aren’t sex and add that it can be called sex only if both partners have consent. So if someone was forced or pressured the first time she had vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex, they may not see that as ‘losing their virginity.’

 

 


Q What really does female ‘virginity’ mean
Virginity is a quality and is not a physical thing that we carry either in our heart or our head that cannot be lost or taken. It is a quality that we can choose to change. An individual (male or female) may choose to change by deciding, freely and without coercion or impairment, to experience sexual intimacy with another person of her choice. So only the particular person chooses to change it – no one else!!


Someone can’t lose virginity or have it taken!
There are many situations where sexual contact might have happened, but we did not get to make a decision – like we might have been too drunk or too young or too pressured or someone abused or assaulted therefore it’s not consensual sex and for this reason virginity cannot be lost.

 


Q What does this all mean for anyone who has been sexually abused?
People who have been abused have had the control taken away from them. This information about the truth about virginity gives the power and control back to them to make decisions about sex that they want to make.


Someone who has been sexually abused may believe that her virginity has been stolen or taken away. This individual’s family might think on the same lines! It is unreasonable to think that someone who has been abused has made a choice about what has happen. And therefor an individual is still a virgin until the time she chooses to have sex with someone.

 


QCan there be male ‘virgins’?
According to the above definition, this realty applies without exceptions.

 


QIs it possible to say whether you are a virgin or not?
Many people think that doctors can tell whether someone with a vagina has had sex by looking at their hymen, and seeing if it’s been torn. But this is completely false. What they can only say is whether it has been torn and if so whether it is very recently or not. It is difficult to make a statement about the time of older tears or whether to say whether they were caused by sexual activities. It is important to note that a certain percentage of females are born without hymens and in some people it can be stretched out.
After all they can comment on the hymnal ring but not on the virginity which is under personal control.

 


QCan a partner assess the virginity?
Sexual partners cannot tell whether you’ve had sex before. Many people with a vagina do not bleed the first time when they have PIV sex and vaginas do not ‘get loose’ from sex. Again, the only way your partner will know if you’re a virgin is if you tell them. 

 


Q What’s the average age for people to lose their virginity?
Choosing to have sex for the first time is an important decision; one that’s very personal. People think about lots of different things, religious, spiritual and moral beliefs, family and personal values, desire, love and/or relationships. Whatever your reason is, it’s important to wait until you’re sure you’re ready to have sex.

 


QDoes it hurt when losing your virginity?
The first time you have vaginal sex, it may hurt, or feel good, or both. There might be pain and bleeding the first time a penis or fingers go into your vagina, but it doesn’t happen to everybody. Some people naturally have more hymenal tissue than others — this pain and bleeding can happen when their hymen stretch.


Some hymens may develop a small tear when stretched. The hymenal tissue is well supplied with blood, so it will bleed.  Most people heal very quickly and there is no sign of damage within a few days. This is the same story for other little splits that might happen anywhere at the vaginal entrance.


If pain and bleeding don’t subside after the first time you have vaginal sex (penis-in-vagina), you can slowly stretch your hymen tissue with your fingers over time to make it less painful when you have sex the next time. In rare cases, people may need to see a doctor for a small procedure to open their hymen; when it is too thick to stretch open. If you’re worried about your hymen or have pain during sex, talk with your doctor.


You may also have pain or irritation during vaginal sex if your vagina isn’t lubricated (wet) enough. It’s totally normal to not have a lot of vaginal lubrication, and it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you or your partner. Using lube can help make sex more comfortable. It may also help to wait until you’re fully turned-on before putting anything in your vagina.

 


 After losing virginity
It is you that have to determine if you have a sex life and what it’s like—whether or not you’ve had sex before. People choose to have sex for all sorts of reasons and they choose to stop having sex for all sorts of reasons too. Sex is not a train that you get on and can’t get off. 

 


Hymenal repair
It is not uncommon to see people deciding to go back to “As it was”. Like other reconstructive procedures there is growing tendency for  reconstruction of hymens though restricted in some setting by low. This can be best done by reconstructive and cosmetic gynecologists and results are far superior when surgery is couple with specially prepared blood based injections.
(The writer holds a Fellowship in Cosmetic Gynecology by American Aesthetic Association and possesses an MBBS MD (OBS&GYN) MRCOG (UK) MSLCOG FMAS MESAG, a Diploma in Advanced Gynecological laparoscopy (Germany) and is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist at DGH Nawalapitiya and Asiri Hospital Kandy)

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