Q&A: Why Didn’t I Bleed When I Lost My Virginity?

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QUESTION: I had sex recently and have heard that most girls bleed when they have sex, but I never bled. I'm 17 years old. I am scared that there is something wrong with me. Can you please help me? My boyfriend is always asking me why I am stressed out and I want to tell him but I need an explanation for the cause of me not bleeding after I had sex. Also, it didn't really hurt when I had sex for the first time ever in my life. I am stressing my self out to the point I am making my self sick over this simple but upsetting thing.

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naked woman on a bed

Photo: Madilyn Peiper (Flickr)

As girls grow up into women, some of the hymen may wear away gradually over time, and young women would never even know it.

I’m sorry to hear about how stressful this has been for you.

The good news is that there is nothing wrong with a woman if she doesn’t notice any blood the first time she has sex. Not all women bleed when they have vaginal intercourse for the first time. Here’s why.

No Two Hymens Are Alike

Female babies are born with different amounts of hymen that cover part of the vagina.

The hymen is a tissue that’s filled with blood vessels that typically covers part of the vaginal opening.

Some girls have a thick hymen or a hymen that covers a lot of the vaginal opening. Other girls have a very thin hymen or a hymen that covers very little of the vaginal opening.

As girls grow up into women, some of the hymen may wear away gradually over time, and young women would never even know it.

There are many things that may help to wear away the hymen over time, including certain activities such as gymnastics or horseback riding, as well as using a tampon, fingering oneself during masturbation, or being fingered by a partner during sex play or foreplay.

Let It Bleed—Or Not

When a woman first has sex, she may notice lots of bleeding, only small amounts of bleeding, or no bleeding at all. Whether or not a woman bleeds when she first has sex has nothing to do with her virginity.

Bleeding during sex is also not a sign of being healthy or unhealthy; it’s just a reflection of how much hymen tissue a woman has, which varies from woman to woman.

Of course, if you have questions about your sexual or reproductive health, it’s always a good idea to meet with a nurse or doctor, especially when you become sexually active with a partner. But rest assured that it’s okay to bleed when you first have sex – and it’s also okay NOT to bleed when you first have sex.

You can learn more about your vagina, vulva, and bleeding during sex in Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva. You can also learn more about women’s bodies and health issues in Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers.

Next Question: Using Vibrator Caused Vaginal Bleeding

I am 18 years old, and recently bought a vibrator shaped like a penis to start “experimenting” with sex toys. I have never had sex, and have never done anything that involved penetrating my vagina. The first time I used the toy, I barely “put it in” and my vagina started bleeding. I am worried that this could be an infection of some sort that I never knew about.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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