Science Class: Your Hymen and You

Guys sure love tearing into our hymens. It’s about time we do too. Because, like, it’s part of you…or at least it was until you had pre-marital sex, you tramp! Just kidding, but seriously, knowledge is power. And like Wonder Woman and She-Ra before us, we deserve Powerful Privates, right? After the jump, a crash course in what we like to call “hymenology.”

  • The hymen is a thin membrane not inside the vag but part of the external genitalia. Its presence is often used to determine whether or not a woman is a virgin. However, the condition of the hymen after puberty is not a reliable indicator that sexy time has been had. Hymens can be ripped from vigorous athletics, vigorous masturbation, and even vigorous tampon use.
  • There are four common types of hymens — normal, imperforate (a thin membrane that completely covers the opening), microperforate (thin membrane that almost completely covers the opening) or septate (thin hymenal membrane has a band of extra tissue in the middle that causes two small vaginal openings instead of one). The imperforate and microperforate vaggy varietals can require surgery for menstrual blood to flow correctly or for tampon usage.
  • In the tenth century, an Arab doctor named Ibn Sina determined that there was a ridge of skin inside the vag opening which became damaged at first intercourse. This was confirmed in 1544 dissection by Flemish anatomist Andreas Vesalius. God, if they had female anatomists back then, it would have taken a day to figure that one out.
  • In the 16th and 17th centuries, people believed the hymen indicated a disease they called womb-fury, which if not cured could result in death. The cure was sex and consequentially marriage. Though, hm. If the cause of womb fury is lack of sex, then my womb actually is full of rage.
  • Hymenaeus (the inspiration for the name hymen) was a gorgeous manboy who rescued a group of women, including the girl he loved, from a band of pirates (not the sexy kind though). As a reward he obtained the girl in marriage and because they were so frickin’ happy, Hymen was forever invoked in marriage songs (also known as a hymenaios). Hymenaeus was made into the Greek god of marriage and subsequently the cause for my evening embittered crying sessions…no one will ever love me!
  • Many animals have hymens too, the weirdest phenomenon is guinea pig hymen, which dissolves when the female is in heat and grows back after mating.

    The Top 5 Funniest Animals With Hymens: Bush babies, Clams, Shrews, Ladybugs, and Narwhals.

  • Funniest Hymen-related Blogs: Iron Hymen, Scarleteen, and Hymen Holocaust (the band!)