The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is similar in structure to the vagina.
a membrane which partially closes the opening of the vagina and whose presence is traditionally taken to be a mark of virginity.
Society defines the presence of the hymen as a testament of a girl’s virginity which is equal to her purity and/or her eligibilty to be the ideal bride.
If you had to go to your doctor and ask about what role your hymen plays in the functioning of your body, they would tell you that there is no specific physiological function. But the hymen simply is a tissue that sometimes fully or partially covers your vagina when your body is still developing.
People, in general, think about the hymen has an unbroken seal of purity—literally like something on a package, if you may. While this thought process is changing in the social-media savvy spheres, there are still a lot of people out there who believe Hymen = Virgin.
For uncountable years now, the hymen being intact was considered a sign of purity A.K.A. the sign of being a virgin, because bleeding after sex was considered proof of a freshly broken hymen. But, it has nothing, I repeat, nothing to do with your sexual activity.
Although I don’t quite know where it all started, but the idea of being “pure” to be “worthy of marriage” has created more reason for the world to question a woman’s identity, ironically, for no reason at all—because, the hymen really, does not signify purity in any way, shape or form.
The hymen can break if you’ve ever gone horseback riding or simply used a tampon—literal everyday activities can cause it to break or tear. But does that make you impure or unworthy? Not one bit.
Talk—starting a conversation about anything “taboo” is our first step to change. When we inform the men and women in our families and educate them about simple things like the function and reality of the hymen—there is much progress that takes place.
The idea of “Popping a girl’s cherry” or “Taking her V-card” is first, medically inaccurate and secondly, rooted in an archaic mindset that only takes us back a hundred years as a community—there is no progress if you’re still using words and phrases like these.
So don’t be afraid to talk about it, because there is no shame in being a woman and educating others about the way your body functions. Let’s begin a conversation right here—what have you been taught about the hymen, and what are your preconceived notions about it? Tell us in the comments below and let’s break the taboo around it, together!