This teensy piece of tissue, usually no more than a few centimeters in diameter , is the subject of so many sexist, slut-shamey, virgin-shamey rumors, and the real kicker is it's not something most people ever see or notice in their lifetimes. The big hymen myth—the one I heard over and over again as a pre-teen, before I even knew that sex was anything more than passionate kissing—was that the first time a woman has sex, it breaks or, more colloquially, "pops" , which is painful and causes a lot of bleeding. While bleeding and pain are accompaniments of first-time sex for some people , they're not a guarantee, and definitely nothing down there does any popping. Your hymen is just a thin piece of membrane that sits about two centimeters inside the vaginal opening, says Dr. Rebecca Brightman, an ob-gyn in New York. It has no purpose, its existence is baffling to doctors and scientists, and it's widely considered an evolutionary mystery.
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First-time sex can be intimidating. Fear of getting intimate, the possible pain or simply not knowing what you should be doing Check out our advice so you can feel more comfortable about losing your virginity. In the UK, the average age at which both boys and girls lose their virginity is