Some things never change. When I was a teen, and later when my daughters were teens, I’ve been asked again and again about “popping cherries.” What we’re talking about here is the hymen. There is no fruit or popping involved.
Before puberty, the opening to the vagina is often hidden behind the hymen, which can be nearly translucent and stretches across the opening of the vagina. Since the hymen is made of the same tissue as the vagina, it is estrogen-sensitive. Once a female begins puberty, estrogen levels increase, making the hymen become thicker, shorter and more elastic. Think of it being like a cloak covering the opening to the vagina in a child, but during puberty it is shaped more like a ring. Nature seems to be preparing the female for first intercourse by naturally opening the hymen. (This also explains why a female who has never had vaginal intercourse can safely insert a tampon).
I also get asked if a doctor can tell if a girl is a virgin. Countless parents have threatened to drag their daughters in for a virginity check. It’s not possible to tell by a visual exam. The only person who knows for sure is the girl herself.
Another myth is that a hymen can be injured by sports. Research has shown that if there is bleeding, it is probably an injury to the vagina.
There may be stretching during first intercourse, but more than half of females interviewed did not experience any bleeding. If there is bleeding it is probably caused by one of two things. First, there not being enough estrogen to the area. A bit of estrogen can be prescribed. The second reason has to do with lack of sexual arousal. According to “The Guide to Getting It On,” “Another reason why a first intercourse can be painful is when the male partner is inexperienced, rough, has poor aim, is really big or there’s not enough lubrication.”
If a female was molested or the hymen was somehow damaged, it usually heals in a day or two.
Hopefully, this can help put the cherry popping myth to bed … so to speak.