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If my hymen it too tight for sexual intercourse, what can I do? #339/12

I am 28 years old and still a virgin.  Last week we tried to have sex, but my body didn’t let him enter.  I mean, my hymen didn’t break.  Is this normal?  What can we do?

Please tell me what happens to you each month.  Do you have periods?  If you have been having periods, have you had a very slight flow?  Do you use pads exclusively?  Please tell me more.  Fortunately, it will be possible to help you in any case.


Her email reply on 3-19: “Hi, here is some more information.  I don’t know if it is enough or not.


I do have periods regularly, actually the very first day there are stains.  The next 2 days everything is okay and then a pause.  The 4th or 5th day, some other flow arrives, but at most, for a day.  I remember it was the same since my first period and I have just been using pads, no Tampons. 


On the actual day of the sexual act, it was about 10 days ago and I’d been suffering from a very bad cold.  Let’s say I’d recovered, but still using tablets.  Can this be the reason?

By the way, three months ago I had some itching problems, added to some bad smells.  I used vinegar and some lotions.  Then it was over.  Generally speaking, until that happened, nothing touched my hymen.”


 Reply from RAH on 3-27

It sounds to me as though you have a tight hymen, but that it is open to a certain degree.  For most women the hymeneal opeing is large enough and elastic enough to be able to stretch for insertion of a tampon or a penis without any danger of serious tearing.


If the opening is too small for intercourse, it can usually be enlarged by sitting in a warm bathtub, putting a finger up into the vagina canal and pressing back gently for a minute or so.  After doing this a number of times you may be able to switch to two fingers.  Usually surgery is NOT necessary.  Then use a vaginal lubricant when you next try to have vaginal intercourse.  You, based on the amount of pain, you are experiencing, not he, should be the decider as to whether to proceed with intercourse.


Does this make sense?



Her email reply on 3-27: “Dear Dr. Hatcher, I deeply appreciate your help and concersn.  Zillions of thanks!”


Email from RAH on 4-3: How is it going today?  Please do let me know.

Email from RAH on 4-16: I really would like a follow-up.  Hope all is going well!  I know this will be resolved successfully.


Below is additional information from page 7 of the 20th edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collection:


Vagoma; Corona (or what you may know as the hymen)

The vaginal corona-generally known as the hymen but renamed by a Swedish sexual rights group in an attempt to dispel many of the myths surrounding hymens-is made up of thin, elastic folds of mucous menbrane located just inside the entrance to the vagina.  The vaginal cornon has no known funtion; it is probably a remnant of fetal development.


Many people wrongly believe that the vagina corona is a thick menbrane that entirely covers a woman’s vaginal opening and ruptures when you have intercourse or any kind of insertive vaginal sex the first time.  The myth goes like this: If a bride doesn;t bleed from a ruptured hymen on her wedding night, this means that she has had sex and isn’t a “virgin”.  This is not true.


*Content is adapted from The Vaginal Corona, a booklet created by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, rfsu.se/en/Engelska/Sexpand Politics/Hymen-renamed-vaginal-corona.


In rare cases, the hymen covers the entire vaginal opening.  This is called an imperforate or microperforate hyman.  Young women with an imperforate hymen will experience monthly cramping and discomfort without the appearance of menstrual blood.  In these cases, the hymen can be surgically opened to release accumulated menstrual fluid and to permit tampon insertion or other forms of vaginal penetration.  More commonly, a hymen band may be present across the vaginal opening, allowing menstruation but preventing tampon insertion.  If the opening is very small or partially obstructed, minor surgery can correct this.

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Key Words:  virgin, sex, hymen, break, normal, periods, slight flow, pads, stains, tampons, suffering, bad cold, medicine, tight hymen, open, large, elastic, stretch, insertion, penis, danger, tearing, intercourse, enlarged, bathtub, vaginal canal, pressing, surgery, vaginal lubricant, pain

Posted 4-5-2012, Updated 4-8-2012, Updated 4-17-2012, Updated 5-6-2012, Updated 5-14-2012

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, GA

The directors and owners of this website and any publications and information concerning health matters offered here advise a person with a particular problem to consult a primary-care clinician or a specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, or urology (depending on the problem or the contraceptive) as well as the product package insert and other references before diagnosing, managing, or treating the problem.
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