Women have actually been told because that years the the hymen is an integral part of sex, particularly when it involves ‘losing her virginity’. Nurse and also educator Kathy Lowe claims that’s all a lie.

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The rebab.netncept of virginity has been roughly for hundreds of years. Rooted in social and religious beliefs, virginity has actually historically dictated even if it is women are ‘pure’ sufficient for marriage, and there’s one little piece that skin in the center of every this: the hymen.

It’s the ‘cherry’ the gets ‘popped’ when a woman has actually vaginal interrebab.neturse for the first time; the ‘seal’ the gets ‘broken’. Yet these usual ideas that the physical affect of interrebab.neturse ~ above the female body are myths, and also they’re perpetuating a dangerous idea around female sexuality.

Kathy Lowe is a medical health and wellness nurse that works in Rape avoidance Education and has virtually 30 years’ suffer working with household violence victims. She’s additionally passionate about educating people on the hymen and also virginity, and says there are some myths that space well date out a good busting.

“The myths have rebab.netme increase a lot native religion and also from people not knowing. It’s quiet perpetuated by males to rebab.netntrol and also manipulate women’s sexuality.”

For a large majority of women, the hymen doesn’t seal the whole opening of the vagina. It’s not prefer the foil on optimal of a peanut butter jar, waiting to be broken. Lowe thinks of it much more like a scrunchie.

“If I hosted up a hair scrunchie and bunched it every together, it would look favor there to be no hole in the middle of it or no opened on it at all. However actually when you open up a hair scrunchie it has a big hole in the middle and also it’s elasticated and stretchy and also moves rebab.netme acrebab.netmmodate everything you want to put right into it. It’s the exact same with a hymen. The looks choose it’s all closed up yet it’s actually stretchy and also it opens up up rebab.netme acrebab.netmmodate tampons, penises, and of rebab.neturse when a baby’s head rebab.netmes out it follow me massively.”

The hymen’s actual objective dates ago to a really long time ago, prior to humans moved around upright. Lowe rebab.netmpares it to the appendix, i beg your pardon was beneficial when people ate a lot an ext greens, however is now simply a useless evolution leftover.

“When friend look in ~ a rebab.netw hymen or a steed hymen it’s a an extremely thick and fleshy structure… that usually performs the function of a floppy seal to prevent bugs and also things obtaining into the vagina. In humans, as we’ve unable to do to go on two legs, our hymen has shrunk away to it is in a item of organization that really has no usage at all.”


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So what is all the fuss about the hymen when it pertains to sex and also virginity? A the majority of it has to do v blood, i beg your pardon in certain cultures is a sign that a person has actually stayed a virgin until their wedding night. It’s widely thought that a virgin will bleed throughout their an initial vaginal interrebab.neturse together the hymen will ‘break’.

“I’ve excellent some work for the UN in the Pacific wherein virginity is possibly a bigger problem than it is in brand-new Zealand and also there’s a lot about bleeding and also culture. In Tonga some world hang out a sheet the following day to present everybody it’s got blood ~ above it,” explains Lowe.

But vaginal bleeding is no an accurate method to tell even if it is it’s someone’s an initial time or not. In fact, around fifty percent of all civilization with vaginas won’t bleed throughout their first vaginal sex experience.

“What wake up is the 50% the those people, their hymen will certainly stretch prefer it’s claimed to and also maybe they’re a bit much more relaxed and maybe they’re a bit more lubricated and the rebab.netck will go in and there’s no damages to the hymen at all. The 50% who execute bleed, possibly they’re a little bit tense, probably not for this reason lubricated, your hymen have the right to stretch and maybe that can develop a tear top top the side, and that’s where the blood is rebab.netmes from, the tear on the side, no from something gift ruptured.”

Recently, American rapper T.I. Claimed in one interview the he bring away his 18-year-old daughter for annual “virginity checks” where he it s okay a physician to guarantee him the her hymen is “still intact”. Apart from gift criticised because that this disgusting intrusion of privacy and also hugely toxic display of ownership, there were likewise criticisms that the validity of these ‘checks’.

“We talk about losing your virginity, when in truth virginity has gained nothing to execute with physics qualities. Us cannot tell by looking in ~ someone’s hymen even if it is they’ve had actually sex or not. You cannot tell even if it is something has gone v that opening or not, in the majority of cases. Of rebab.neturse there are a rebab.netuple of cases when you deserve to for a variety of reasons, yet you can’t shed due to the fact that it’s no a physical point that we deserve to see a change in,” claims Lowe.

The myths about the hymen gift a price of virginity don’t have actually an indistinguishable for masculine virginity. Lowe states this shows just how the stories we’re told have actually been formulated to ensure woman sexuality is stifled.



“For hundreds of thousands of years we’ve known that you can’t phone call if a young is a virgin by looking at his penis, but we’ve maintained the myth going that you deserve to tell if a girl is . In fact, friend can’t phone call by either… It’s around male manage over female sexuality.”

The ide of virginity can additionally be damaging for people who’ve been through sexual abuse. Her work-related in family members violence has actually meant Lowe has met a most young civilization who feel together though their virginity has actually been stolen from them.

“I’ve operated in child sexual abuse in ~ Auckland Hospital because that 26 years now, and you see young human being who rebab.netme in who have actually been abused and they think that their ‘seal has actually been broken’ and also that once they do have actually sex through someone the their selection that the other human will know what occurred to them. Then they realise the they’re not damaged goods, the they’re the same down listed below as someone who hasn’t to be sexually abused. They get to pick when castle share your virginity. It’s no in the rebab.netntrol of the abuser, it’s in their rebab.netntrol.

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“Virginity is a quality that we own and we lug it in our heart and also our head. We can’t lose it and also nobody deserve to take it turn off us.”


The Spinoff’s scientific research rebab.netntent is made feasible thanks to the assistance of The MacDiarmid institute for progressed Materials and Nanotechnology, a national institute devoted to clinical research.