Sex (Re)Education: Cherry Popping

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We learn a lot of weird things in Sex Education. Having grown up in the deep south, I was taught a number of inaccurate, if not outright calculated, lies in my public school’s Sex Education and Health classes.

Sex (Re)Education is a space to re-evaluate and correct what may have been taught as “fact”.  Today let’s address something that people often use as the metric for measuring whether you’re a virgin or not: your hymen. Colloquially a lot of people say that your cherry has been popped once you’ve had sex for the first time. This saying perhaps, conjures the image of what is supposed to happen– your hymen, is an elastic membrane that is part of your vulval, is said to “break” during your first time having sexual intercourse.

Not only is this completely and totally wrong, it also presumes that the sex you will be having is penetrative– which, not all sex is. So what really happens with the hymen during intercourse? Although the hymen CAN be torn during sexual intercourse, it doesn’t have to be– not should it.

Hymens are stretchy and when properly stimulated, and lubricated, they stretch to allow the insertion of a wide variety of objects– whether that be a finger, a penis, or a vibrator. This is we can all use tampons without having to “pop” our “cherries” so to speak. The hymen doesn’t cover the vagina entirely, if it does at all. It’s just another part of the vulva. Slow insertion and gradual stimulation during intercourse will allow you to insert whatever you’re trying to get into your vagina with little to no pain or bleeding.

If you’re having trouble with this, may I suggest, lube?

Most women, in fact, don’t experience any tissue trauma or bleeding while they’re having sex for the first time. And that should be a good thing, if you’re trying to avoid painful sex. If you aren’t… you can always try these tips out to incorporate fun BDSM practices safely.

Sex (Re)Education is a weekly series in which we debunk myths you learned during sex education back in grade school and high school. 

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