Get to know your body through a better understanding of your anatomy and find the answers to some of your most common questions.
Let’s unpack them together.
Society’s Definition: A word used to refer to a woman who's had no sexual relations. Therefore, she has an "intact" hymen.
The Science: The hymen is an elastic tissue inside the opening of the vagina that’s left over from how the vagina forms during embryonic development. Hymens don't just break during sex; rather, they stretch due to their elasticity.
Some women's hymens stretch due to physical activity, others don't tear at all during sex, and in very rare cases some women are born without one. Therefore, an intact hymen does not serve as evidence of sexual inactivity; and the opposite is also true.
Unfortunately, in most Arab societies, self-pleasure is perceived to be shameful, dirty, and reprehensible. Women are discouraged from exploring their bodies on their own and encouraged, instead, to only discover that part of themselves through the lens of a partner.
In reality, seeking pleasure is an inherent aspect of being human. Self-pleasure is a huge part of that. By exploring and touching ourselves, we discover where and how we like to be touched — which is also proven to have a positive impact on relationships.
The short answer: Most kinds of self-pleasure, such as clitorial stimulation, nipple play, non-insertive pleasure products, and exploring erogenous zones won’t have any impact on your hymen.
If you’re engaging in penetrative vaginal stimulation, your hymen may be impacted, but it can also be elastic enough to handle vaginal insertion without sustaining any damage. Some hymens are naturally more flexible, while others may be more delicate.
The long answer: An intact hymen ≠ virginity. No one, including doctors who claim to perform “virginity tests”, can tell your sexual experience by looking between your legs.
As we explained, a woman who has never engaged in any sexual activity (alone or with a partner) may have an impacted hymen, just like a woman who has engaged in self-pleasure and sexual activity with a partner can have an intact hymen. Which one of these two women would you describe as a virgin?
Just like sex means different things to different people, so does virginity. It’s something that only you can define for yourself based on your preferences and choice of sexual activity.
You can choose to define virginity as the first time you engage in penetrative sex with a partner, the first time you explore self-pleasure, or anything else. That’s totally up to you!
We believe that every woman should have the right to make choices about her body and sexuality based on what feels right for her, so whether you choose to engage in self-pleasure or not, your decision is valid and should be respected.