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Hymenoplasty, a procedure that restores the hymen, is growing in popularity. Why would you want this procedure, what is a hymen, really, and what can you expect from hymen repair surgery?

Hymenoplasty, the repair or reconstruction of the hymen — the bit of tissue many believe proves female virginity — is rising in popularity. Are you interested in undergoing hymenoplasty, are you just curious about the procedure, or do you have questions about what the hymen is, what types of hymens exist, and whether it really proves virginity? Here, we'll take a look at those issues.

SteadyHealth has readers from around the world. Personally, I'd love to see the cult of the hymen go extinct, and the obsession about female virginity right along with it. However, it's clear that many women's futures depend on having an intact hymen that can bleed on their wedding night and can even stand up to visual inspection by elder women in their communities. This information is provided for those women, and for those who would like to have new hymens for stritcly personal reasons.

Types Of Hymens

A hymen is a membrane that partially covers the vaginal opening, from the urethral opening inwards. It isn't deep inside the vagina, contrary to what some people believe, and it's basically a pinkish bit of fairly thin and often wrinkled tissue. Hymens vary in size, shape and structure rather a bit. While they tend to be shaped like a half moon, all kinds of varieties occur. Some of these can lead to real medical problems:

  • Imperforate hymen: This type of hymen completely covers the vaginal opening. It is sometimes diagnosed at birth or during early childhood, but more commonly brought to a doctor's attention during the teen years. This is because imperforate hymens do not allow menstrual blood to flow out, leading to menstrual symptoms without bleeding. This can lead to infection and requires surgical intervention.
  • Microperforate hymen: This kind of hymen has only a very small opening. A girl may be able to insert a tampon but not be able to remove it. Minor surgery can easily widen a microperforate hymen.
  • Septate hymen: One or more bands of thick tissue cover the vaginal opening with this type of hymen. Inserting a tampon or having sex may be impossible, but not necessarily.
It is also important to note that, though most women were born with a hymen, some never had one at all. 

What Your Hymen Says About Your Virginity

In short, your hymen says absolutely nothing about your virginity. It's not only possible for a hymen to break during entirely non-sexual activities, but actually quite likely. Some women's hymens also stay intact despite sexual intercourse.

How exactly can the hymen rupture without sex? Any of the following activities may do it, at any age:

  • Inserting a tampon
  • Riding a bike
  • Riding a horse
  • Dancing
  • Gymnastics
That is not an exhaustive list. Yes, a hymen can also break during sexual intercourse and even through digital sex ("fingering") or masturbation. When a hymen breaks, there may be a fair amount of blood, a little bit of blood, or no noticeable blood. 
Some women's hymens are so flexible, or on the other hand so rigid, that these women can have sex regularly for years without breaking it. There you have it. The state of your hymen has absolutely nothing to do with your virginity, whatsoever.
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