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You might have been lead to believe your whole life that the hymen is a thin layer of skin over the opening of the vagina that is supposed to “break” when you lose your virginity. Not only is this belief archaic and violent, but it’s also not true at all.


Like any other body part, the hymen looks different for everyone. A great representation of different kinds of hymens is Nina Reimer’s drawing of hymens (the picture above). Hymens don’t completely cover the vaginal opening but they do exist as a thin layer of skin around the opening. 


So since the hymen doesn’t really “break” and your “cherry” is not “popped,” how can someone tell if you’re a virgin? Answer: You can’t!


The hymen is not a definitive way to tell if someone is a virgin or not. So, please, T.I. you need to stop bringing your 18-year-old daughter to the gynecologist and asking if her hymen is still intact. That’s not how this works and he is breaking so many medical confidentiality codes. Leave her hymen alone!

On most occasions, the hymen does not “break.” And having an “intact” hymen does not justify how pure or virginal someone is. 


We need to stop scaring young girls with horror stories of them bleeding for the first time during sex. We need to stop giving people false education about what the hymen is. The lack of correct sexual education is doing more harm than good for women to understand how their bodies work and what should be happening to them when they have sex.


Women need to know about their own bodies, not what an archaic belief wants us to think. It’s time for us to take our sexual health into our own hands and educate everyone about how sex and sexual health work. We won’t get anywhere until we have complete, comprehensive sexual education. Something positive to stop the violent message they teach us about sex.


Sex isn’t something to be ashamed of. Love your body. Love your hymen!


And that’s the #HonestTea.


My name is Parker Howell. I love to spend my time writing (mostly poetry) and cuddling with my cat when he's not biting me. I'm majoring in Creative Writing at Wells College so writing is a major influence in my life. I love cacti, corgis, and chai tea.
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