How do you know if you don't have your hymen? What exactly does it look like?

The hymen is different on every female. If you are curious about what your hymen looks like, you can use a mirror to see inside your vaginal canal. Position the mirror between your legs so you can see your vulva, and slowly spread the inner and outer “lips” (the labia minora and labia majora) of your vulva. If you cannot see into your vaginal canal, use a flashlight to illuminate the area. If you can see a thin layer of skin right inside your vaginal opening that has a small hole (or holes) present, your hymen is most likely intact. If you notice small traces of broken skin surrounding your vaginal canal but no thin membrane, you may have already stretched or broken your hymen. The hymen can be broken during activities such as physical exercise, using tampons, having sex, or masturbating. This is not always a painful occurrence, some women do not even feel it break. The stretching or breaking of the hymen is completely normal and does not necessarily mean that a female is not a “virgin”.

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What happens when the hymen breaks? Does the hymen break during the first time you have intercourse?

When a penis enters a vagina for the first time, the hymen (a small layer of skin that partially covers the vaginal canal) will most likely tear and may cause bleeding. Many females do have a small to moderate amount of blood when they engage in intercourse for the first time, but the bleeding usually subsides within a few hours to a day. If you do not see any blood after intercourse, the hymen may have stretched or broken earlier in life (possibly due to sports, horseback riding, gymnastics, insertion of a tampon, etc.). Many females do not experience pain or bleeding if their hymen has previously broken.  It is important to note that a woman can still be a virgin even if her hymen is no longer intact.

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