Myths about virginity

Virginity is a dodgy concept. It comes from the patriarchal oppressive need to control women's sexuality, i.e. it's a load of rubbish. So, we're here to dispel those damaging virginity myths...

teen girl in bed looking worried

"There goes my hymen, running off into the sunset."

‘Losing your virginity will really hurt’

If you’re shoving something up your fanny (gently does it) for the first time then it may get a shock, but you can lessen the chances of a sore chuff. Make sure you’re well lubed up (either with actual lube or foreplay – this goes for anal sex too) and, more importantly, be relaxed. It’s normal to be nervous, but if you’re super tense then it will probably hurt.

Speaking of ‘losing it’…

‘You lose it’

No. Nope. The idea of ‘losing’ your virginity comes from a historical concept that women who had sex were not pure. This goes for someone ‘taking’ your virginity too. Your body is your own, your choices are your own, and your sex life is your own! Down with that nonsense.

‘You’ll bleed’

Vaginas are wonderful things and come in all different shapes and sizes. Yours may be smaller and more sensitive, so might bleed when you first have sex, but if you’re relaxed and aren’t an eager beaver, you should be fine. Go slow. Use lube.

‘The hymen will tear/disappear’

The hymen is not part of a magic act. It doesn’t just disappear. It’s stretchy and, if you’re careful, shouldn’t tear when you have sex.

Willies can’t ‘pop’ anything either, and you definitely can’t steamroller through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes. Vaginas are clever and keep everything safe. Just know your dick limits. Once you start having sex, you’ll know what feels right, safe, and comfortable for all involved.

‘You can lose it doing sport’

Knocking your fanny about, whether it’s through sport or using tampons, may interfere with your hymen, but that doesn’t mean you ‘lose’ your virginity. Your hymen is not a virginity marker. Your sexual debut is about your own feelings, choices, and experiences, not that stretchy bit of skin which society gives all the attention to.

‘Your first time has to be special…’

Nope. You choose how, when, and who you do it with. If you want to wait and do it with a long term partner? Cool. If you want to just fool around with a no-strings-attached friend? Cool. As long as you’re communicating your desires with your partner, it’s all good.

‘…but you should just get it over and done with’

Argh, so many contradictions! If you want to have your sexual debut to just ‘get it over and done with’, then sure, go ahead. Just be sure that you’re not doing this to bow to pressure, otherwise it won’t be a nice experience.

Guys especially are pressured into having sex sooner rather than later, but having sex just to please your mates definitely doesn’t make you one of the cool kids.

‘You fall in love with the first person you shag’

Some say that hormones released during sex mean that you fall in love with the first person you sleep with, which is not true. Sex can strengthen connections between people, but it can also just be a bit of fun, so don’t worry about getting caught up in lovey dovey feelings.

‘You will smell of sex’

Um. No. Unless you have a bit of an issue with your willy or fanny, you shouldn’t smell after sex. Sex doesn’t have a smell that lets everyone know that you’ve just done the do, unless you had an energetic session and are sweaty. In which case, have a shower.

‘You can only lose it once’

What about if you’re raped? Or come out and realise that past experiences weren’t right for you? There is no marker for virginity so you choose what counts as your sexual debut. Similarly, it doesn’t have to be about penetrative sex. It can be oral sex, or just kissing, or a quick finger behind your garden shed. Your sexuality is yours to define.

‘Virginity exists’

The big one. Virginity is merely a social construct, and an old, rusty, mouldy one at that. The idea of ‘losing your virginity’ should be left alone in the sexist, oppressive olden days. Stick two fingers up to it and then up your fanny, or someone else’s. Hey, we have an article on that…

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Rape Crisis offers support and advice to victims of rape and sexual assault, no matter how long ago the attack was. 0808 802 99 99
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 05-Apr-2016

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