Do All Women Bleed When They Lose Virginity?
The dictionary defines the word ‘virginity’ as ‘the state of never having had sexual intercourse’. In our society, ‘virginity’ is still considered a virtue for women. One of the most common among them being, “She’ll bleed.”
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The popular notion that all women bleed when they have sexual intercourse for the first time is faulty on very many levels. First of all, we need to understand the science behind bleeding. A woman may bleed when she has penetrative sex for the first time because of her hymen breaking. For the unacquainted, the hymen is a flimsy membrane-like tissue that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. Its colour is slightly pink but it can also look whitish. When a girl enters puberty and starts to produce the hormone oestrogen, this can cause the hymen to thicken and increase in width. However, it’s important to note that all hymens are different.
They vary in shapes, types, and thickness. Often this hymen can break even before a woman has had her first sexual encounter. It can get ruptured during heavy exercise, cycling, horse riding, masturbation, and even by the use of tampons. In fact, some women are born WITHOUT a hymen.
Whether a woman bleeds during her first sexual intercourse also depends on how aroused and relaxed the woman is. There are cases when women don’t bleed in spite of having an intact hymen because they’re extremely aroused. On the other hand, many women bleed even when they are not virgins because they’re not aroused enough and end up getting injured due to forced penetration.
A woman’s body is full of mysteries that are better left unravelled. There is no way to assess female virginity. Some women do bleed when they’ve penetrative sex for the first time, some don’t. Both are perfectly normal.
One of the major reasons for unawareness around this topic is the lack of sex education in India. Women are still shamed, thrashed, burned, killed on due to the myth of ‘virgin bleeding’. The white sheet virginity test still continues to be a custom in many tribal communities in our country. Well, the sad reality doesn’t end here. Even the ‘well-educated’, English speaking, pizza eating— men living in metropolitan cities are seen seeking a divorce when their wife fails the ‘chastity test’ during their first coital session.
Due to this ignorant attitude of society, surgeries like hymenorrhaphy (a hymen reconstruction surgery) exist in the market. Recently, there was news about pills that help women fake their first. These pills are filled with blood and are to be inserted in the vagina. When the penis gets in contact with it, it pops and the blood oozes out. How disgusting is it? Well, not more than the people who think a woman's worth lies in her vagina.
The only conclusion, we could probably reach is— virginity isn’t a biological phenomenon, but a social construct, fabricated by the insecurity of a society.