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Is my hymen blocking my orgasm?

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My boyfriend and I started having sex a couple months ago. Before that, I was a virgin. Since then, we have done it about 4 or 5 times. Well, tonight, he was fingering me and while he was I felt slight pain but it went away pretty quickly. Afterwards, I realized I bled some. It wasn't like period blood though, it just looked like regular blood. Is there any way possible that he could have just now "popped my cherry" even though we have done it a few times before? I thought that happened the very first time. Also, is it possible for a female to have an orgasm if her cherry isnt popped? We talked about the reason I haven't had an orgasm and we have been trying to find the right spot, but after this incident...I was thinking maybe that was the reason I haven't orgasmed.

Heather Corinna replies:

So you understand, the hymen isn't something that gets popped, broken, or torn in one fell swoop, or by one given thing.

Rather, it's a very thin membrane, just around the vaginal opening, that erodes over time, from childhood onward. Most young women, around the time they'll start becoming sexually active, will not have fully intact hymens. By that time, estrogens, menses and other vaginal fluids, general physical activity, mastubration and tampon use will have done a part of their own. So, plenty of young women, when they start to have sexual partners and if they engage in vaginal entry, won't have major bleeding at all, and some will have exactly none.

Might your bleeding be due to some of this gradial hymenal wearing-away? Yep, it might. But know that your hymen also has no influence on whether or not you orgasm. Not only does orgasm mostly occur in the brain, but the hymen isn't blocking any of your anatomy most likely to bring you to orgasm via sexual activities: for a majority of women, vaginal intercourse alone doesn't usually result in orgasm. And while manual sex -- "fingering" -- is a bit more likely to bring more women there, that's only if a) it's usually (not always, but more times than not) combined with whole body and clitoral play as well, and b) if it's done in a way that feels really truly good to you.

(And if it's painful, that's a strong vote against it feeling good.)

That bleeding also might have been from some abrasion or small injury: during the fingering, was your partner using a lubricant for you? Had he at least washed his hands, and clipped and smoothed his fingernails? Were you really, really sexually excited during this, or not so much? When he was doing this, were you telling him what DID feel really good, and was he responsive to those cues or not? Any of these things can result in an abrasion -- if that's the case, it's nothing to lose sleep over, you'll likely heal up just fine, but that IS stuff to pay attention to when you're going to engage in manual sex.

Per your concerns about reaching orgasm, if you're not going to learn about what gets you there yourself first, you should at least be exploring your own body as much as your partner is through masturbation. It's just minus some factors with partners (worries about hurting their feelings, having to find out what you both have interest in doing, nerves, the works) that can make it easier to find out what you like, if not first, then at least at the same time. And bonus: when you start figuring that out more yourself, you can tell your partner, too.

For both of you, do just make sure you're not focusing overmuch or entirely on sex INSIDE your vagina.

The vaginal canal doesn't actually have many sensory nerve endings once you get past the first inch or two, and even then, but your clitoris (which really is, when it all boils down to it, the real sexual center of the female genitals, not the vagina -- that's very secondary) has thousands of them -- more than your boyfriend's whole penis does, to give you an idea. And don't forget that orgasm really is WHOLE body: most of it happens in your brain, not your genitals, so intead of seeking out one magical spot, realize you've likely got a handful of "spots" you enjoy having touched and engaging, and more than one sexual activity you really like (making out counts, by the way: anything you enjoyed doing before intercourse that really turned you on aren't things to dump or only do now and then now that you've started), and that those spots aren't just physical: how you're doing emotionally, what you're thinking about, if you're relaxed and seriously excited -- this stuff carries a very big weight, too.

So, explore on your own, and be sure your partner knows the stuff I've just told you here, too. Lastly, just make sure neither of you are putting pressure on you about reaching orgasm: nothing buzzkills orgasm more than those feelings of pressure. You not having reached orgasm yet shouldn't be about anyone needing to be validated or to feel normal, and also shouldn't be seen as some awful problem: it just means that clearly, you both still have some more exploring to do, and you know, that's a lot of the fun part. :)

Here are a few links for you I also think might help you out:
10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self (at Any Age)
Pink Parts - Female Sexual Anatomy
Yield for Pleasure

written 18 Jun 2007 . updated 06 Dec 2012

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