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What Losing Your Virginity Is Like: 3 Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

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The first time I ever had sex was when I was a senior in high school. I didn't cry, but my boyfriend did.

I am not going to lie to you, it hurt a lot. I also bled. I bled so much that my bedroom looked like a murder scene.

I also had no idea about lubricant at the time (thank you, sex education), so I used a tub of Vaseline and ended up getting a yeast infection. (Don't do that.)

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I remember being terrified before I did it. Were my parents going to be able to tell just by looking at me? Would my vagina ever feel the same again? What was that hymen thing I had heard about?

I asked Kristin Marie Bennion, licensed mental health therapist and certified sex therapist, to bust some common myths about losing your virginity, because there are a lot of them out there.

1. Myth: You're A Different Person Now

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Bennion says, "Overall, our society has perpetuated a lot of mistruths and negativity in the way it has talked about a woman having intercourse for the first time. The biggest myth about virginity is that a woman is somehow changed, in a sense."

No, sex will not change who you are as a person. You don't lose your virginity and suddenly become a dinosaur, a butterfly... or an adult.

I remember fantasizing when I was younger that when I lost my virginity, I would finally become a woman. That's fiction.

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"True, [a girl] has now had an experience she has never had before, but she doesn't change in any fundamental sense, as is often implied in the cultural discourse," Bennion continues. "She still likes the same things, wants to accomplish the same goals, and has every other aspect of her personhood still perfectly intact."

All that happens once you've had sex is... now, you've had sex.

2. Myth: You Actually Lose Something When You "Lose Your Virginity"

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Losing your virginity? Yeah, that's actually not a thing.

Virginity is just a word, not a medical term.

"A very frustrating aspect about the term 'losing your virginity' is that, in reality, having had intercourse for the first time has no medical implications, whatsoever. No part of her is lost, as the term implies."

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As Bennion says, virginity isn't a "thing" someone loses.

Rather, she explains, "[It's] an idea which stems from a time when women were thought of as property and 'sexual purity' was valued as a woman's most valuable asset. It's from this same time that our society adopted terms defining women who've had sex outside of marriage as 'sluts,' 'fallen women,' and 'used goods,' amongst so many others."

But you are absolutely not someone's property, and therefore, no one can "take" your virginity from you.

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She summarizes, "The way 'virginity' has been talked about in society has been quite inaccurate and damaging."

3. Myth: Bleeding During Your First Time Only Means You Tore Your Hymen

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"Another huge misunderstanding that's still hanging around in 2017 has to do with the hymen, which is a thin membrane located around the opening of the vagina," Bennion says. "Many are surprised to learn that some women are born with a hymen and some are not."

OK, now this I actually did not know.

Bennion even explain that even if you do have a hymen, it's totally unique, as "no two are alike." Like snowflakes!!!

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So then how do you explain the bleeding that might occur during your first time?

"If there is bleeding during first intercourse, it's much more likely that there is tearing due to a lack of lubrication in the vagina. If the hymen itself tears — it heals, just like the rest of the vagina," she explains. "Finally, any pain experienced during first intercourse is most commonly associated with a lack of lubrication and the fear that it's going to hurt."

So, the fact that I bled during my first sexual experience was most likely because my vagina was scared and dry, not because I tore my hymen. Reminder: When you're having sex for the first time, use lubricant.

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When it comes to losing your virginity, remember, there's actually no such thing. Virginity is a societal term we made up. Not a medical one. It's not going to change who you are, and you aren't defined by your sexual partners — whether you've had zero, one, or 30.

And finally, while you might bleed during sex, it's not necessarily because you broke your hymen. In fact, not all women have hymens.

And of course, much like snowflakes, no two vaginas are the same.

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