February 19, 2013

Q&A: Does It Hurt To Tear Your Hymen?

Some women find initial penetration to be just somewhat uncomfortable and others find it painful.

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woman hiding face

woman hiding face

Question: Does it hurt when you tear your hymen?

No, it doesn’t necessarily hurt when a woman’s hymen tears.

It’s Different For Everyone

Some women experience the gradual tearing and wearing away of their hymen as they engage in vaginal penetration as part of masturbation, or vaginal fingering with a partner.

Other women tear their hymen for the first time when they experience penile-vaginal intercourse or use a sex toy use as a dildo or vibrator that’s inserted in the vagina.

Some women find this initial penetration to be just somewhat uncomfortable and others find it painful.

In part this is probably because there’s considerable variation from woman to woman in regard to the size and thickness of the hymen, which is the blood vessel filled tissue that covers part of the vaginal opening.

The level of discomfort or pain also probably varies a bit because women also vary in how they perceive pain.

Just as some women and men find dental procedures to be very painful or scary, and others don’t, the same is true for sex.

Thanks to different pain thresholds, and different ways our bodies are built, people will always experience discomfort and pain a little differently, even from the same kinds of experiences.


To learn more about readiness for sex, and what to expect early on from sex, check out S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna.

You might also find it helpful to check out the Scarleteen website which is aimed at younger women and men, and features a number of discussions related to virginity, first sex, and tearing of the hymen.

Next Question:I Tore My Frenulum, Should I Be Concerned?

I recently realized that portions of my frenulum are detached from the tip of my penis and there’s white scar tissue on the head of my penis and my foreskin. At times, I experience slight pain and irritation. Is the situation serious?

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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