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Are you thinking about losing your virginity or have you recently had sex for the first time? You may wonder whether it's normal to experience symptoms after you lose your virginity. Time to separate myth from fact!

Are you a young woman wondering if you are ready to lose your virginity, or have you recently lost your virginity and you're now feeling a bit, well, different?

It's common to wonder whether sex will hurt the first time and whether you'll bleed when you lose your virginity, but many newly post-virgin ladies also report experiencing symptoms after losing their virginity. This SteadyHealth user, who posed a question on our community boards, is one of them:

I lost my virginity a little over one week ago, and I've been gaining weight in my mid section and my breasts have gotten significantly larger and have been very sore. I've also been feeling a little nauseous. I didn't bleed when I first had sex, but since then I've been having strange discharge, kind of like the first day of my period. I'm not supposed to have my period for another week... judging from all of your posts, I think this is normal. but I may take a pregnancy test just to make sure. sex is so stressful!!

"Sex is so stressful?" Yikes! Here at SteadyHealth, we know that knowledge is power — and being informed about what's going on with your body can take some of that stress away, hopefully leaving you to enjoy good sex in a safe manner. 

Virginity itself can easily be said to hold a kind of "mythological status", with views about female virginity being heavily influenced by religious ideas and notions of "female honor and dignity" [1]. Urban myths surrounding the loss of female virginity are also doing the rounds, so in this case, "knowledge is power" starts with debunking common female virginity myths. 

Virginity Isn't Really A 'Thing' At All, But Then Again It Is

Ask a dictionary, and you might be told that virginity is "the state of never having had sexual intercourse" [2]. Since that's also still the most common popular definition of virginity, we'll stick with it here.

As many young women ask if it's possible to lose their virginity to a tampon, a finger, or even a carrot (yes, really!), and whether they're still virgins if they've given or received oral sex, however, we probably ought to point out that virginity isn't some special physiological state

It's true most women are born with hymens — more about that in a bit. It's also true that virginity, particularly female virginity, can be a huge deal, socially. Anything that can lead to invasive physical inspections, cause the desire for plastic surgery, and even trigger "honor killings" in some cultures is all too real to those people affected by the myths surrounding it. 

Just consider these questions though:

  • Are lesbians who have had lots and lots of sex but never penile-vaginal sexual intercourse still virgins?
  • Are female babies born without a hymen (it happens) not virgins?
  • Does inserting anything into the vagina cause a loss of virginity, and if so, could so-called "virginity inspections" actually lead to a situation where a woman isn't a virgin going into her wedding night?
Different people will answer these questions differently, and hence, it's really not quite certain what virginity means. Virginity is a cultural concept more than a physical phenomenon.

Symptoms Of Losing Your Virginity: Your Hymen Should Tear, And You Should You Bleed

Most females are born with a hymen — a membrane that covers the vaginal opening to varying degrees and that can have all sorts of shapes.

This hymen has traditionally been expected to tear when a woman engages in vaginal sexual intercourse for the first time, thereby proving that she was a virgin prior to the experience. 

Unfortunately, the state of the hymen is notoriously difficult to assess, even when medical professionals do it [3]. Furthermore, some women's hymens are so elastic that they stretch rather than rupture, making it possible to have an intact hymen even after childbirth, and other women rupture their hymens prior to their first sexual intercourse by using tampons, engaging in sports, or even falling on sharp objects [4]. 

Bleeding after your first sexual intercourse may be a symptom of losing your virginity, but not every woman bleeds — and that doesn't mean she wasn't a virgin.

What About Physical Symptoms After Losing Your Virginity?

Some female SteadyHealth readers report that they feel different after they have had sexual intercourse for the first time, and inquire whether it's normal to have bigger breasts, different-looking genitals, more vaginal discharge, and pimples after losing their virginity. Some also ask whether weight gain is a symptom of the loss of virginity. 

What could be physical explanations for this phenomenon of experiencing symptoms after losing virginity?

Since most US women lose their virginity during their teenage years [5], and pubertal development features such physical symptoms as breast development, vaginal discharge, acne, and weight gain [6], it's quite possible that female teens who've recently had sex for the first time are simply paying more attention to their puberty symptoms and misinterpret them as symptoms after losing virginity

The symptoms you experience right after losing your virginity, meanwhile, are almost certainly simply signs of sexual arousal. Women who are sexually aroused experience increased vaginal discharge, more blood flow to the vulva and vagina and slightly swollen genitals as a result, and an increase in breast size of up to 25 percent [7]. Since these symptoms are new to you, it's quite normal for you to see them as symptoms of losing your virginity. 

Could Your 'Virginity Loss Symptoms' Actually Be Pregnancy Symptoms?

If you had unprotected sex — without a condom or using another form of birth control — it's possible that the symptoms you see as symptoms of losing your virginity are, in fact, signs of pregnancy. Take a look at this list of the very first pregnancy symptoms if you're wondering whether this could be you. 

If you're not there yet, and you are still thinking about losing your virginity, keep these things in mind:

  • The idea that you cannot get pregnant the first time you have sex is most definitely a myth. 
  • If you're a teenager, your ovulation is quite likely to be irregular, making it hard to predict your most fertile days. Assume that you can always get pregnant if you do not use protection. (Not to mention the fact that you can always catch sexually transmitted diseases, if your partner has any.)
  • If you happen to have unprotected sex (you shouldn't!), the morning after pill works if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, but it's best if you take it as soon as possible [8]. 

Are Your Symptoms After Losing Your Virginity In Your Mind?

Having sex for the first time might be a profound experience for you, and the physical symptoms some women experience after losing their virginity could simply be the result of pondering your initiation into sexual activity.

You're most likely to be happy with your first sexual experience if it happened with a partner you really trust, in the context of a committed relationship [9]. Keeping this in mind, it's possible that some of the symptoms you're experiencing after losing your virginity are caused by the effects of increased oxytocin — in other words, you're experiencing healthy partner bonding [10].