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Heather Corinna replies:
I'm 14 years old and a virgin. When I explore myself or masturbate I find that I can fit at least 3 fingers inside myself without much discomfort. I haven't had sex and yet it feels like I'm stretched out or something. Could this mean that I really am just loose? I mean I've been fingered by my boyfriend before but never anything else.
Shouldn't my hymen be intact? My friend told me that the heavier your period flow is how wideset you are *downthere*. What could she mean by that? I'm so confused and embarrassed that I don't know better. Please help.
Before I say anything else, understand that you've got nothing to be scared about here, okay? You also don't need to feel embarrassed about not knowing this stuff: not only do plenty of adult women not know either, it's certainly not your fault that no one has given you thorough sex education or asked if you had any questions.
We get a LOT of questions about this whole vaginal "looseness" and "stretched out" baloney, so I won't go on at length here. Instead, I'm just going to tell you that the short story is that the vagina, like your throat, isn't a hole that sits ever open. How wide it is is about what is inside of it, and if three fingers inside you feels good during masturbation, that is just about you being aroused and relaxed (you might also notice that your vaginal muscles clench around less just as strongly). When you take those fingers out, and aren't aroused anymore, your vagina is unchanged. In other words, it goes back in a little bit to the same state it was in before those fingers were in there. Vaginas are muscles, not slack skin. While certainly, they can lose tone over time (usually just with aging and hormonal changes: not for a woman your age), using that muscle -- like using any muscle -- increases tone, it doesn't cause a loss of tone. That would make no sense.
For the longer story on the lowdown on vaginas and "looseness" and "tightness," check out these answers and articles:
It's also always worth a reminder that the vagina isn't an object: it's an integral part of YOUR body, not something for someone else. So, even if there were any stock in all this loose-vagina mumbo-jumbo, or if there is a time later in your life when muscle tone is an issue (like after pregnancy), it's still nothing to get freaked out about. Your organs just need to be healthy, and to feel good to you: you feeling good to someone else is about WAY more than whatever state your body is in, and if to anyone it's not, they're the problem, not your body, okay?
As far as your hymen goes, the hymen erodes slowly over time -- just due to puberty, vaginal discharges and menstruation, physical activity -- and that process is often sped up by masturbation and vaginal sex. Since you insert three fingers into your vagina comfortably, and when the hymen is present, it covers the vaginal opening, it's a given that your hymen is likely only partial at this point, which is totally fine. There's no actual purpose for a hymen, and it's supposed to wear away. It also doesn't matter how it wears away. The idea that women who have not had penis-in-vagina intercourse should all have totally intact hymens is a very outdated and incorrect idea. Plenty of women will have hymens that are mostly worn away without having had any intercourse at all.
Your friend who told you about menstrual flow is also grossly misinformed. The heaviness or lightness of flow has absolutely nothing to do with the vagina, in any way, at all. Menstrual flow comes from the endometrium inside your uterus (which the vagina is a path too, but is a separate organ, inside your body), and how heavy a woman's flow is is about a bunch of things, primarily on your hormones (especially in puberty where estrogens are so high)but even just a woman's height (taller women more often have heavier flow, for instance) or weight, or if a woman is taking aspirin for her cramps can increase flow. It's not about her vagina: that's only the passage menses passes through: it has no influence on flow. So, now you know better and you can also fill her in on the real deal!
Since it's pretty clear you've gone without a lot of vital information until now, I'm also going to toss you a few more basic articles you may find useful.