Will My Teen Still Be a Virgin if She Uses a Tampon?

The Truth About Tampons, Hymens and Teenage Girls

Mid section view of a young woman showing a tampon
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When it comes to teens and the use of tampons, there are many questions and misconceptions. Parents and teens have the same questions and often wonder whether tampons can be used during virginity.

This is not as easy to answer as you may think because there are a few factors that go into answering it. In general, yes, a teenage girl can use a tampon before she loses her virginity. Also, using a tampon does not necessarily mean that she is no longer a 'virgin.'

You will want to discuss this with your teen so she understands exactly what is happening with her body. She may hear kids at school discuss this with terms like 'pop her cherry' or other crude phrases and it can cause worry and embarrassment.

It is also a good idea to talk about what it means to be a virgin and the values your family has when it comes to sex.

Will My Teen Still Be a Virgin if She Uses a Tampon?

In a word: YES. But the question is really asking about two separate issues.

  • The first question is what makes a virgin and what “takes” virginity.
  • The second question is asking about the hymen and how it relates to virginity.

What is a Virgin?

This is a complicated question and you might get different answers depending on who you ask.

For women, the technical definition of a 'virgin' is someone who has not had sexual intercourse where a man's penis penetrates her vagina. So if this is your definition of virginity, then a woman is still a virgin after using a tampon.

What is the Hymen?

The hymen is a thin membrane that stretches across the opening of the vagina. The hymen in newborn girls is thick and this naturally thins and opens up over the years.

This membrane does not usually cover the entire opening of the vagina. By the time a girl reaches puberty, there is often enough space to allow menstrual blood to pass.

If the hymen completely covered the vagina, menstruation would not be possible.

In most women, by the time she reaches adolescence, the hymen tissue is thin enough to allow for safe the use of tampons.

What Does the Hymen Have to Do With Virginity?

The hymen has been looked at as the mark of virginity in many cultures. In some cases, when a virgin who has an intact hymen has sexual intercourse for the first time, the hymen will tear and bleed.

It was thought that if a girl didn't bleed after the first time she had sexual intercourse, she must not have been a virgin. This is completely incorrect.

This myth has gone to such extremes that in some cultures, newly married men would have to produce bloody sheets after their wedding night. It was believed to be proof that his new wife was indeed a virgin and that he had actually consummated the marriage.

In other societies, women might be physically examined prior to marriage to ensure her purity. If her hymen were damaged, the offer of marriage may be revoked and she may have lived her life with the stigma of impurity.

In some of these cultures, this was a high price to pay, even if that girl was indeed a virgin.

The Hymen Myth Debunked

As mentioned, it is not typical for any woman's hymen to remain fully intact so its presence alone cannot be the only proof of a woman's virginity.

  • The hymen can stretch to cover most of the opening of the vagina or it can be very flexible and resists being torn, even after having intercourse.
  • The hymen can be damaged by tampons, medical vaginal exams, even certain kinds of vigorous physical activity.

Whether or not a girl still has an intact (undamaged) hymen, does not indicate if she is a virgin or not. Virginity has to do with sexual activity, not the presence of a hymen!


Behrman, RE, Kliegman, RM, and Jenson, HB. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 2004.

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