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There are a few presumptions underlying this question that need to be addressed before even trying to answer it. The first and foremost one is “rupturing the hymen equals losing your virginity”. If that’s the presumption you’re coming to this question with then yes, a girl can very easily “lose her virginity” by cycling. Having said that, taking that presumption as a given… is where things start going astray. Let’s talk about how that is.
Can A Girl Lose Her Virginity By Cycling?
Let’s clarify some of the facts and topics that will help us understand this question better.
What’s exactly is the hymen?
Okay so to start things off, we need to know what the hymen is. The hymen is a relatively thin tissue that is supposed to surround or partially cover the opening to the vagina. The reason you would add “supposed to be” to that sentence would be that not all hymens cover the entire opening to the vagina and even when they do there are different types of hymens to take into perspective. This tissue isn’t easy to identify on your own since it’s supposed to be somewhat of the same color as the surrounding tissue so it isn’t very distinct. Its thickness and design vary which we can discuss below.
What does a normal hymen look like?
The most common form of the hymen is the crescentic shape. The overall shape of the hymen here resembles the crescent moon. In this type of hymen, there is no tissue at the top of the vagina (which means that’s the opening) and the tissue continues from around 2’0 clock to 10’O clock of the ovular opening although there’s a multitude of ways in which healthy hymens can differ among different individuals. The hymen is supposed to tend to retain its shape before the onset of puberty. At puberty different hormonal mechanisms come into play which makes the hymen more flexible and causes it to fimbriate.
Conditions related to the hymen:
There are a few other conditions that can be discussed when we mention the hymen.
Imperforate: A hymen can be extremely thick which makes it hard to rupture or perforate. This is an extreme condition that isn’t healthy at all since it will tend to block menstrual blood and the build-up will be pushed back causing vaginal mass or abdominal pain.
Microperforated: Sometimes hymens can have small holes spread across its surface. The holes though they do provide some flow, don’t provide enough passage, and can make it difficult or impossible to properly use tampons without rupturing the hymen or to regulate blood flow from the uterus to the outside.
Septate hymen: Some hymens may develop a line of tissue running down the middle which effectively divides the hymen into two, each of which would later develop separate openings.
Parous introitus hymen. During childbirth, all or most of the hymen is torn and/or dragged out leaving almost no remnants of the hymen behind. This type of hymen is usually associated with mothers.
Wearing down and rupturing of the hymen:
The hymen is not a tissue that’s only ruptured during sexual activity.
According to research articles related to the British Medical Journal (BMJ):
“In several studies of adolescent female rape victims, where patients were examined at a hospital following sexual assault, half or fewer of virgin victims had any injury to the hymen. Tears of the hymen occurred in less than a quarter of cases. However, virgins were significantly more likely to have injuries to the hymen than non-virgins.”
Hymens can be worn-down during everyday activities, especially around the onset of puberty where the release of estrogen causes the hymen to become more flexible and fimbriate. A flexible, fimbriated hymen could, in theory, be worn down potentially just by walking in a certain way.
As for rupturing or breaking, it can be ruptured during various exercises like:
- Certain Yoga poses
Basically, anything that exerts pressure on your crotch in a certain way can cause the hymen to become thinner. That is to say that the hymen isn’t a tissue that’s only prone to being damaged by sexual activities. Some females can be born without hymens while others can have hymens that don’t properly cover the vaginal opening. Sexual activity would not damage such hymens.
Tearing of the hymen:
When the hymen “tears”, it can be accompanied by bleeding though that isn’t necessary especially if it was done in spontaneous circumstances i.e other than sexual activity.
“Research on women in Western populations has found that bleeding during first consensual intercourse does not always happen or is less common than not bleeding.”
And apparently, some individuals can’t even tell when their hymen is broken. That is to say……. It isn’t necessary for you to be in pain when your hymen is torn. That depends on multiple factors like the thickness, design, and flexibility of the hymen, among other factors.
Should the breaking of the hymen constitute loss of virginity?
In any reasonable society, the loss of virginity is associated with the initiation of sexual activity. It isn’t the breaking of the hymen that’s supposed to constitute the loss of virginity, it’s what breaks the hymen in the first place.
As mentioned above, there’s a number of things that can cause the hymen to wear down and ultimately rupture. The only times the hymen totally or almost totally covers the vagina is in a medically unhealthy condition i.e. Imperforate or micro-perforated hymen.
“In a study of adolescents who had previously had consensual sex, approximately half showed evidence of trauma to the hymen”
-Child: Care, Health and Development.
So to say that a broken hymen must always equal sexual intercourse is simply illogical. Some people are born with incomplete hymens, others have hymens designed in such a way that it can withstand sexual intercourse without breaking or rupturing. So is an individual with an unbroken hymen that has had sexual intercourse (possibly multiple times) a virgin? Shouldn’t they be since their hymen’s intact? If that’s how loose our definition regarding the loss of virginity is, we could be better off with a new definition. That being said, there is currently no biological confirmation test for virginity. The fact there isn’t any actual logical/scientific test to confirm the loss of virginity (at least for the time being) helps you see why questions like the one this article addresses are still being asked. Though that may not be the only reason.
It’s not impossible to see a world where asking such questions made actual logical sense. If societies had rules that prohibited or discouraged physical activities liked horse-riding, bike-riding, and dancing, maybe it would be a statistically accurate thing to say that a broken hymen is relative “evidence” that an individual has lost their virginity. Maybe there still are societies where such statements make sense.
But increasingly there’s empirical logic to say that such societies are disappearing especially in the developed world like North America. And so it’s become a weaker and weaker statement to say “If you’re hymens torn, you’re definitely not a virgin”. Even in the past, when such statements were started being used, either expressly or impliedly, it might not have been a statistically backed statement. But especially now when women as a whole are allowed to do pretty much anything they can reasonably ask for (and in some cases, even unreasonably ask for), that kind of a presumption is becoming a sandcastle which can be attacked viciously by scientific data and simple logic.