Posts Tagged ‘virginity’

Ask Anything: Seal

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How to break seal of a girl??

This is a question that we often get in classroom workshops, and it’s great that we got this as a web question because there are a lot of myths circulating about this topic.

I’m assuming that by “seal,” you’re referring to the hymen, which is a membrane surrounding the vaginal opening. This membrane tends to wear out as one gets older, through day-to-day activities like walking, playing sports, horseback riding, or masturbation, all of which can reduce the size or consistency of the hymen. To make sure that you have a good visual, in a vast majority of cases, hymens are not like a glass window that has to be broken, but more like a donut or a large spider web.

So, by the time somebody with a vagina decides to have (vaginal) penetrative sex for the first time there are often already openings in their hymen. We often attribute the bleeding during first vaginal penetration to the “breakage” of the hymen, and that’s often what we mean when we say someone has “lost their virginity”. However, the hymen is not the seal of virginity. More often than not, the cause of bleeding during the first penetration(s) is less the hymen itself and more other factors like stress and/or not knowing yet what works for your body. This combination will probably make your body tense and your vagina less lubricated, which can make penetration harder or more painful, and could cause some bleeding. Some ways to counter this would be by letting yourself take your time and figure out what feels right for you, communicating openly with your partner(s) about the process, and having plenty of lube on hand to use…and even after your first few times, lube can be one of your best partners whenever you’re having sex. You can always get safer sex supplies, including lube, for free at Head & Hands!

ask anything: orgasms, pleasure and more ‘first times’

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A couple of questions related to sex and pleasure, answered by our resident sexology stagiaire, Gabrielle!

Q: How many orgasms can you have in a day?

There aren’t any real limits to how many orgasms you can experience in a day.

But…

Different people have different “recovery periods” between orgasms – basically, the time it takes for blood to flow back to those areas that it just rushed out of. Usually female-bodied people are more disposed to get more orgasms or multiple orgasms than male-bodied people. That distinction comes from the fact that male-bodied people have a recovery period that’s longer and different than for female-bodied people – it’s the period after an ejaculation where you can’t get another erection. Female-bodied people also have that recovery period after an orgasm, but it can be shorter or non-existent in some cases. Other factors like stress, mental and physical health, confidence or trust between partners, drug or alcohol use, your age, etc… can have an impact on your capacity to have an orgasm, and by default, many orgasms. Sometimes, focusing on the number of orgasms you are having or trying to achieve orgasm can prevent you from actually “getting there”, because your mind and body are too preoccupied! Just keep in mind that having an orgasm is not the ultimate goal of sexual activity, so the number of orgasms that you have doesn’t qualify the quality of your sexual activity.

Q: My first time with my girl friend, I didn’t last very long, and I think she was disappointed. What can I do?

We say this all the time, but the basic thing in any relationship is communication. If you want to be sure that you’re on the same page as your partner and you really want to know what they’re thinking, you should start a conversation with them. We can stress for a long time about what the other person is thinking, when there might be nothing going on. If you feel like your girlfriend might believe that you didn’t last very long, it might be a good idea to address it with her, instead of letting these feelings grow in the background of your relationship.

I also think that the notion of lasting very long is pretty subjective: how long a person can and should keep an erection is different from one person to another. Usually, our expectations are very high, because we think that sex should be a certain perfect way. (more…)

Ask anything: First-timers

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We are still getting more and more questions in our “Ask Anything” question box to the right! –> Sense volunteer Liam tackled today’s question…

Q: My boyfriend and I are planning our first time. I’ve been looking into birth control and trying to figure out which one will be best, but besides that, we’re both virgins and neither of us really know what to expect. I want this to be special. Advice?

After much time spent dwelling on what I would say to two people about to have sex for the first time, I was able to narrow my characteristic longwindedness down to 3 topics: Communication/Consent; Safer Sex/Birth Control; Pleasure.

–Communication/Consent—

Communicating about sex is really a win-win: you can make sure that your partner is consenting and into it as well as maximize the pleasure of everybody involved. From a super practical standpoint, communicating might look like saying things along the lines of “is it cool if I take off your pants”, “oh my god, what you just did felt amazing”, “Could you go a little slower”, “Stop for a second, I need a break”, or seriously a bazillion other things. I generally shy away from making sweeping generalizations BUT sex will probably be better if you know that your partner is listening and responding to you and would stop as soon you asked. To make communicating easier, some people like to use code words that you and your partner can come up with beforehand. A really common set is the traffic light system where ‘green’ means everything is fantastic, ‘yellow’ means turn it down a bit, and ‘red’ means stop immediately. Coming up with code words can also be a helpful way to start a conversation about sex, consent, and boundaries with your partner.

(more…)

Ask anything: The hymen

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Welcome to the very first “Ask anything” column! As I mentioned last week, Sense now has a formspring account where you can ask us anything – any of your awkward, out-there or just plain practical questions about sex. You can ask your questions anonymously at any time in the box to the right –> or by visiting us on formspring!  We will post answers weekly on the blog. So… off we go with our first question!

 

Q: I have a research term paper with regards to picture of virgin vagina hymen.(colored) Where can I print this kind of pictures. Thank you so much.

A: Thanks for your question, and that’s quite the interesting research topic!  One of our blog contributors posted about the hymen and virginity awhile ago, and there are some pictures there, although they’re in black & white.

 

But wait – there’s more! The hymen itself is the subject of much debate. One thing that’s important to remember is that, contrary to popular belief, you can’t actually tell whether someone is a “virgin” by checking to see if their hymen is intact. First of all, the hymen is a very thin membrane that covers the opening of the vagina at birth. As a person grows, this membrane usually dissolves and what’s left is called the vaginal corona. The corona basically consists of thin folds of tissue around 1-2 cm inside the vagina. This can vary widely from person to person, and in some cases the hymen membrane does not dissolve completely, which can make things like inserting a tampon more difficult or painful. Penetrative sex can also be painful, not because it “breaks the hymen”, but because it can stretch and pull at these folds. One of the ways to make sex feel less painful and more pleasurable is to use lube, and make sure the person is aroused (through foreplay, touching, kissing, clitoral stimulation, etc.!) – and this applies every time, not just the first time!

 

Here are some other online resources that discuss this topic:

http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/my_corona_the_anatomy_formerly_known_as_the_hymen_the_myths_that_surround_it

 

http://sexualityandu.ca//en/sexual-health/female_sexual_organs

”First Time” info : a hymen tutorial

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For those of you who wonder if it is possible to tell if someone is a virgin or not, here are a few things you should know:
There is no way to tell if someone ever had a sexual intercourse by simply looking at their penis.
There isn’t always a way also to tell if someone ever had sexual intercourse simply by looking at their vagina.
You might have heard that there is a skin inside a vagina called ”Hymen”. An hymen is a little membrane that covers a part of the entrance of the vagina.
Here is an illustration of a vulva, so that you all know what we’re talking about
illustration of a vagina

Illustration of a vagina

Illustration of a vulva

So vaginas usually come with this membrane call Hymen, which can break with the first intercourse (penetration). The hymen is usually a quite thin membrane. For that reason, it can also break before any intercourse, during sports, per example.   The hymen is also very different from one person to the other. Sometimes there are holes in the hymen, sometimes there is none. For that reason, some people can insert a tampon without any problem even if they’ve never been penetrated. While others can’t.

Different hymens

Different types of hymens

As I said, Hymen usually breaks (if it hasn’t already) during the first penetration (tampon, finger, toy or penis). It is absolutely normal. Since it is a thin membrane that is breaking and it is part of the body, it is possible that it hurts the first (or first few) time. It might even bleed. All of this is normal.

You have to talk to your partner and feel comfortable, in order to be able to tell them if you want them to stop. Also, if you are relaxed, your muscles will be too, and it will facilitate the lubrification and the penetration.

Remember: Virginity isn’t all about the hymen. You might consider you had your first sexual contact, even tho your hymen is still intact.

If you have any concerns about your virginity, your hymen or your vagina, it is always good to talk to your gynecologist.

In the Forum: DOES ORAL SEX COUNT AS SEX?

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Safety_hugo says:

Virginity sounds like a simple matter to a lot of people. It usually implies having never had penetrative sex, but it can get tricky quickly.

What if two guys have sex together for years but never do penetration, because that’s not their thing – are they virgins?

What if two women have sex together for years, never doing penetration – are they virgins? What if they start using sex toys for penetration?

What if a woman does penis-anus penetration with her partner, but no penis-vagina sex to protect her hymen, is she still a virgin?

Virginity is a label. You decide if it applies to you or not. What becomes an issue is when people are treated poorly because of their sexual experience, or lack of thereof. Or when people feel they’ve wasted something important if they end up having a mediocre first sexual experience (for whatever reason). There’s a good chance that your first time will be less than 0.1% of your sex life, yet people put so much emphasis on it. The first sexual experience that really matters is the first one you truly enjoy.

What matters is whether you are enjoying what you are doing with your partner or not, and whether you want to explore other aspects of your sexuality. People can judge you on what you have done or not, but that shouldn’t be.