Virginity is a funny thing in our society. There are many double standards, myths, and general misconceptions about having sex for the first time. Everyone has different cultures, beliefs, and thoughts surrounding virginity, and while there’s no “right time” to lose it, make sure that you feel ready.
MYTH: The only way to lose your virginity is penis-in-vagina sex.
REALITY: There are many different types of sex, and they mean different things to different people. This heteronormative ideal surrounding virginity excludes people who are in same-sex relationships, or people who don’t have opposite-sex partners. Virginity is a very personal thing, and there’s no “one way” to lose it.
MYTH: Using a tampon or masturbating means I’m not a virgin anymore.
REALITY: The hymen being broken or stretched by a tampon or your fingers doesn’t mean that you’re not a virgin anymore. You’re not a virgin anymore when you feel you arent; there are no definitive markers for virginity.
MYTH: You can’t get pregnant the first time.
REALITY: If you have a vagina, you can get pregnant any time you are having sex without protection.
MYTH: If you have a vagina, first time penetrative sex is going to hurt.
REALITY: While pain might happen during first time sex, but this is different for everyone. The hymen (or “cherry”), is a thin piece of membrane that covers the opening of the vagina. For most, it wears away over time, and usually there are only remnants of it when becoming sexually active. But for others, the hymen hasn’t worn away much, or the parts that are left have never been stretched as much as they are during sex. This can cause some pain.
But, most of the time, pain during first time sex has nothing to do with the hymen. It’s usually about feeling nervous, scared, not being aroused enough, or not communicating to your partner that something hurts. Communication is ridiculously important in a sexual relationship, especially when having sex the first time.
MYTH: The intactness of the hymen is THE marker of virginity.
REALITY: As I said in the myth before, for most people, the hymen stretches and wears away over time. Common things like bike riding, exercising, tampon usage, and masturbation can stretch and tear the hymen. There are zero, I repeat zero, physical characteristics of virginity.