Periods & Everyday Life

Q&A: How do you know your hymen is broken if you have never gone to the gyno (I'm still a virgin)?

The hymen is a thin tissue that covers the opening of the vagina. It can sometimes be visible in either a moon shape or sometimes a circle at the opening. It may be difficult to see if you are doing some self-inspection depending on its size. Intercourse and other sexual activity are not the only ways that the hymen can be broken. Sometimes physical activity and tampon use can stretch the hymen out of place.

Some girls experience mild pain and bleeding when their hymen breaks, but others don't have any discomfort. An intact hymen used to be considered “proof” of virginity. But now we know better. Tearing or stretching of the hymen can be caused by intercourse or other sexual activity, but also sports and physical activity (like falling onto that middle bar on your bike frame). You can use a mirror to check it out for yourself (although it can be hard to see sometimes), or you can ask your healthcare provider the next time you have an exam.
Take a look for yourself — like any other part of your body, you’re allowed to look at it! (You might need a hand mirror.) The hymen is located just about a half-inch inside the vagina. It’s a thin membrane that covers your external vaginal opening. Since it is so thin and membranous the hymen could break before you’ve even had intercourse. Some girls aren’t even born with hymen. So whether you are a virgin or not—an intact hymen does not “prove” virginity.