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I didn't bleed, and now everyone is saying I wasn't really a virgin.

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confused asks:

This site is amazing. I've followed many of the articles here and they've helped me alot throughout my questioning days.

But now, I've heard a lot about womens hymens being the maker and/or breaker of their virginity but in my case it wasn't. I lost my virginity to my boyfriend of 2 years a few days ago, and I didn't bleed like my friends told me I would. I had the tiniest spot of blood on my panties when I got home that night. My boyfriend is trying to question if I was a virgin or not to begin with, my friends are trying to say I must have had sex before. Now my boyfriend is starting to feel bad because he doesn't feel like he was "big" enough to break my virginity. I don't feel like losing my boyfriend because I might have a stretchier hymen that didn't need to be "popped".

How could I make them all realize this without sounding like a know-it-all pervert ??

Heather Corinna replies:

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this, confused.

You know, most of what many people think about virginity just isn't accurate. And really, in so many ways, most ideas about virginity, and dynamics of virginity are sexist, have done a lot of women real harm through history and are...well, really icky. Considering any kind of first-time sex a big deal doesn't have to be any of those things, and it is something that's emotionally and interpersonally important for most people.

Sex with a partner isn't supposed to be about social status, it isn't supposed to be about one or both partners feeling like they marked one another as territory, it isn't supposed to be about proving anything to anyone. Sex with a partner also isn't about your friends: it's about you and the person you've had it with, and ONLY those two people. Even if you talk to others about it, those others -- if they really are friends -- should not be using what you tell them to judge you or malign you. Both your boyfriend and your friends are turning something that should be something pretty lovely -- sex with someone you care about -- into something pretty gross and awful. And that really, really stinks.

We already have addressed a lot of the questions you're asking here in previous articles and questions, so let's get that information to you first.

About why ideas about hymens as "markers" of virginity, and other myths about virginity are outdated, and the real facts about hymens, your sexual anatomy, and virginity:

Have a look at those links, then read on.

Some women do experience bleeding with first-time vaginal sex (be that manual sex, with fingers, or intercourse). Some do not. For some women, first-time vaginal intercourse is painful or uncomfortable, and for others, it is not. And some women experience bleeding or discomfort from vaginal sex for reasons that have nothing at all to do with virginity or it being their first time, like because they're just not relaxed or aroused enough, because their male partners are being too rough, or because they're not using lubricant when they need it. Of women who experience bleeding, while how rough or gentle their male partners are being can make a difference, the size of a man's penis is a non-issue.

Maybe a couple of your friends did have bleeding, and only know from their own experiences what to expect. heck, maybe NONE of them experienced bleeding either, but are saying they did because they're misinformed and think that if they say THEY didn't, someone will say the same things to them they're saying to you right now. No matter what, they aren't acting like friends right now, and their being ignorant about sexuality doesn't make that okay. At this point, I'd suggest telling them what is accurate and then letting them know that if they really are your friends, they'll start acting like it.

I'd also suggest you ask your boyfriend why on earth he would WANT to "break" the person he cares about in any way. His penis shouldn't be for hurting, and he should be pretty delighted, not disappointed, if it didn't cause you any injury. Seriously, who would want to do that to someone they cared about? For sure, we've a long, sordid history of plenty of men (but not all, even way back when), valuing themselves by "taking" a woman's virginity or "breaking" a woman, but that was never about love or respect for women: it was about men seeing women as objects and sexual property. Yuck. We're supposed to be living in a different world than that now when it comes to how women are valued (and we also know way more about female anatomy than people once did), but we can't do that if the same sexist standards are applied.

Sometimes, do even caring, loving partners have first-time sex with a woman who either does still have some hymen and/or who does bleed and experience more hymenal tearing than you might have? Sure. Does that happen because those men are jerks or aren't being gentle partners? Sometimes, but we can safely say that more often, it's just the way it goes, and that those male partners by no means intended to hurt their partners. For some women, for any number of reasons that aren't about men trying to "break" them -- from having a partial hymen to a medical condition to not knowing to use lubricant to both folks just being nervous and awkward -- pain and bleeding may happen. But while it's okay when it does, when we're talking about something that should be about two people being close and two people's pleasure, no one should be idealizing pain or bleeding or trying to make that happen to make themselves feel dominant or important.

I hear that right now your boyfriend is feeling bad about himself based on ignorance about your body, butcha know, that's no excuse for him to take it out on you and question your integrity, just like it isn't for your friends. You're not responsible for his ignorance, and how it's making him feel, but he IS responsible for putting all this on you. So, I'd not only share this information with him, I'd also let him know that it's very hurtful to you for him to mistrust you, and make accusations against you because he's feeling insecure about his penis or his masculinity. If he's a good guy who cares about you, once he realizes that's what he's been doing and that it's hurting you, he'll apologize, and knock it off pronto. He can talk to you, his partner of two years, about his insecurities in a way that is more constructive for you both, and hurts neither of you.

If he won't let this go and would even consider not being your boyfriend anymore because of something like this, then as much as that would seriously stink, anyone deserves better than someone who would ditch them because something about their natural body didn't make their penis feel big enough. Seriously: that'd just be outer limits, and not the way someone who cares for someone else and has an inkling of maturity behaves.

So, how do you tell everyone about this stuff without sounding like a "know-it-all pervert?" They said what THEY did -- even though it wasn't truthful -- without worrying about that, so I don't see any reason for you to worry about speaking from an accurate, informed perspective. You can just let them know that rather than relying on hearsay, you did what smart people do when they don't know something, and did your research. There isn't anything perverse about being informed, instead of seriously ignorant, about sexuality.

One last thing? I'd make sure that both of you really are ready for the sex you're having together. For instance, it sounds like your boyfriend really might not be. One "risk" of partnered sex is that being that vulnerable with someone else can also drum up our insecurities. If he's so insecure about his body or masculinity that he'd behave like this after sex with you, it sounds to me like he's really not yet in the headspace sex with someone else truly requires. Another part of readiness is being able to own our own insecurities, and be aware of them so that we don't hurt partners with them, and another still is being trustworthy and trusting your partner. So, you might consider the two of you stepping back for a little bit while you both sort these issues out. And if he's not ready (don't forget, boys aren't always ready just like girls aren't), it's going to be better for both of you to hold off before you go there again. A look at our readiness checklist might help you see more of what I'm talking about: Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist.

That was a lot to look at, I know, but hopefully enough so that you know the real deal, and can pass it on to whomever you'd like. Just know that no matter what, even if your friends and boyfriend WERE right, none of their behavior is justified right now, and none of them are being a very good friend to you at the moment. You deserve to be treated with care and respect by the people you extend the same to, and I really hope everyone around you comes to their senses and realizes how badly they've been behaving very soon.

written 23 Dec 2007 . updated 07 Aug 2013

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