Is a virgin girl fertile after sex

The social construct of virginity has a long religious-patriarchal tradition and is used to control female sexuality. The myth that there is the relevant quality of being a "virgin" is harmful in many ways. In a comment that caused quite a stir on social networks, doctor Dr. Verena Brown, why one cannot determine anatomically any differences between "virgins" and "non-virgins" and why it is a myth with far-reaching consequences on the scientific-factual level.

For ten years I have been working as a pediatrician with victims of abuse and have looked after hundreds of girls who have been victims of sexual assault. You learn a lot about hymen in this industry1, the female anatomy and the so-called virginity.

Here is my contribution to clarification:

Virginity is not a physical quality. It is a social construct, a tool with which women have been suppressed and kept ashamed for centuries. "But what about the hymen?" Some ask. Doesn't it "tear" when you have sex for the first time?

No.

The hymen is just a thin piece of tissue, a remnant at the entrance to the vagina. It's absolutely useless (unless you're a guinea pig. Their hymen retract when the female is in heat and grow back for protection. To quote Todd Akin, guinea pigs can "shut down completely". But humans are not guinea pigs).

Here are some facts about the hymen:

  1. The hymen serves no purpose. Zero. Nada. Contrary to popular belief, not getting fecal matter into their vaginas does not help infants. It also doesn't protect against infection.

  2. Hymen look like tangled hair ties and, much like hair ties, are stretchy. They expand enough to adapt to a penis and other objects. In fact, they expand enough to make room for a baby.

  3. The hymen is always open. Little girls are born with a hole in them. In rare cases, girls are born without such an opening. It is a medical condition known as "imperforate hymen" and requires surgery to correct it.2 There are some other variations in hymen morphology, such as split hymen (this is where extra ligaments of tissue are where the opening should be), but since the vast majority of women fit into the conventional category, I'll only go here at this point take it.

  4. If hymen weren't open, women couldn't have periods. This is why the operation is necessary for the imperforative hymen.3

  5. Studies show that women who have been pregnant and women who have never had sex have identical-looking hymen.

  6. Only 60 percent of women bleed during their first sexual intercourse.4 Motor-technical problems must also be taken into account here.

  7. If an injury to the genitals occurs from sexual activity (or otherwise), it does not mean that something is "torn". The vulva has many vulnerable areas, not just the hymen. In addition, the vulvar tissue is the same as the tissue in our mouth. If you bite the inside of your mouth, it can swell or even bleed. But a few days later everything is completely healed. A woman's vulva and hymen regenerate in the same way.

So why bother breaking the myth of virginity? Well, first of all, it's a huge pile of nonsense - and women need to know the truth about their bodies. Second, women around the world are still subjected to virginity tests and other dangerous practices to ensure or "restore" mythological virginity.5 Third, the following (trigger warning):

A 13 year old girl is sitting on my examination table. Her uncle started raping her when she was seven years old. I tell her that she looks healthy and that she will not suffer any physical harm. She asks me: "Am I still a virgin?"

I say yes and I tell her why.

Because she looks like any other girl her age. In 95 percent of cases, the hymen heals completely after an attack.6 And because virginity is not an anatomical condition. It's not something that can ever be taken away from you.

It's a mental and emotional decision that you make - a concept. You can give it when you are ready, not when someone decides to do violence to your body.

She cries, her whole body shaking with tears of relief. Then she dries her tears and smiles towards a new beginning.

So let's end the humiliation and shame. Enough is enough.


Note: This post is for information only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please contact a healthcare professional if you have any questions about your body.

I also used the terms "women" and "girls" in the article, but what has been written applies to every person with this anatomy who is affected by this topic.

I have received feedback on various forms of the hymen, particularly septates7 and crib-shaped8 Morphologies. It is important to acknowledge these deviations. This post looks at the most common appearance in people with vaginas. This shouldn't diminish the experience of others. Again, if you have a question about your body, seek medical advice.


1: In the translation, the word "Jungfernhäutchen", which is common in German-speaking countries, was omitted and the term "Hymen" was chosen instead.

2: Emans, ER Woods, EN Allred. Hymenal findings in adolescent women: impact of tampon use and consensual sexual activity. Journal of Pediatrics. 125 (1): 1994; 153-160.

3: Goodyear-Smith, TM Laidlaw. What is an ‘intact hymen’? A critique of the literature. Medicine Science & Law. 38 (4): 1998; 289-300.

4: Paterson-Brown. Should doctors reconstruct the vaginal introitus of adolescent girls to mimic the virginal state? Education about the hymen is needed. British Medical Journal. 316 (7129): 1998; 461.

5: Amy. Certificates of virginity and reconstruction of the hymen. European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care. 13 (2): 2008; 111-113.

6: Birgitta Essén, Anna Blomkvist, Lotti Helström & Sara Johnsdotter (Senior Lecturer Medical Doctor Medical Doctor Senior Lecturer) (2010) The experience and responses of Swedish health professionals to patients requesting virginity restoration (hymen repair), Reproductive Health Matters, 18: 35, 38-46.

7: engl. "septate": Here there are one or more bands of tissue over the hymen opening.

8: engl. "cribriform" or "microperforate": similar to hymenal atresia, the hymen does not appear to be open, but there are small perforations.