What We Think We Know About The Hymen Is All Wrong

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 Demystifying The Misunderstood Hymen

H-Y-M-E-N! Not well-understood by men! And maybe some women, too.

Here’s a question: What comes to mind when you think of hymens? Virginity? “Cherry popping”? Or perhaps even, some sort of “freshness seal”? You’re not alone, but oof have we been misled.

This CollegeHumor video explaining the real truth about hymens is actually pretty fantastic, hilarious AND educational. Yes, we said CollegeHumor – who knew they’d be the ones demystifying our body parts for us?

The truth is, the hymen is NOT a “freshness seal” and it does not even indicate virginity (or lack thereof) because it doesn’t necessarily get “broken” due to sex. The hymen is more of an arch, not a barrier. It can tear from just living your life – again, not just from sex – and it can also heal. Some hymens will even stay intact – one study found that 52% of sexually active teenage women had intact hymens, as noted in the video.

So, once again…intact hymen does NOT equal virginity. And vice versa.

Besides the general lack of public knowledge, this misunderstanding of what a hymen is and how it works has had some major negative repercussions. In some parts of the world women are subject to virginity exams (read: sexually assaulted) by their governments and are persecuted for it or not taken seriously when making rape claims.

Education is key. Unfortunately, this video likely does a better job explaining the female body than your average health class. Thanks, CollegeHumor! And thanks to “Adam Ruins Everything” creator Adam Conover, CollegeHumor writer Emily Axford, and writer of this episode, Melinda Taub, for this gem.

Video bonus reminder: Women do not pee out of their vaginas.

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