The hymen is a soft ring of tissue located just behind the entrance to the vagina. It does not close the vagina.

Woman lying down with her legs spread. The focus is on the visible sexual organs.
Detail of the hymen inside the vagina

Types of hymens

Each hymen is different in shape and size:

  • The skin can be thin or thick.
  • The hymen can be smooth, uneven or wrinkled.
  • It can be tight or wide.
  • The hymen is very rarely completely closed. If it is completely closed, it needs to be opened by a doctor before the first menstrual period.
  • Very rarely, the hymen is missing completely.
Different hymens: hymen with a narrow opening
Different hymens: hymen with a medium-sized opening
Different hymens: hymen with a large opening

Sexual intercourse for the first time

When a woman has sexual intercourse for the first time the hymen can be stretched or torn. But this is not always the case. The hymen can already be stretched or torn, even if the woman is still a virgin. The hymen cannot prove that a woman is still a virgin.

If the hymen is stretched or torn, it can hurt a little. Most women do not notice it though. Some women lose a few drops of blood when the hymen tears. However, most women do not lose any blood at all.

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