Expert Speaks: Does masturbation affect a person’s virginity?

By Bhakti Paun Sharma

Masturbation, specifically female masturbation, is a territory less explored and mostly forbidden. As a result, there are many myths that cloud over the clear picture. One of the most common one, for instance, is whether one remains a virgin after masturbating. The question is really not surprising given the honour that is placed on a girl’s virginity in the Indian sub-continent. As the month of Maysturbation kicks off, we at She & You have decided to carry the baton of clearing the mist around the mast of pleasure; all with the help of experts.

So coming back to the topic. Let’s re-frame the question Will the hymen remain intact after masturbation? We consulted Sexologist and founder of Infinity Clinic, Delhi, Dr. Anuneet Sabharwal, MD Psychiatry and he had some interesting this to share with us on the matter.

Rest easy, women, for masturbation does not affect your hymen in anyway, if at all that matters much to you. Female masturbation, in most cases, targets the clitoris and not the vagina. Also, contrary to the popular opinion, the hymen doesn’t determine whether or not you are a virgin. You can have an intact hymen but not be a virgin. You can also be a virgin and yet have a torn hymen (by the introduction of a tampon, a finger, vigorous exercise, or an accident). So, if you need to know if your hymen is intact, get it examined.

Culturally, we have often attributed a symbolic value to virginity; and usually, it is the first sexual relationship that determines the end of it. Masturbation, therefore, has nothing to do with it. The hymen, a thin membrane attached to the walls of the vagina immediately behind the vaginal opening, is very different in shape, elasticity, and thickness, and also differs from one woman to another. Also, did you know that some girls are born without hymen?

There are numerous circumstances that may lead to the tearing of hymen and subsequent loss of virginity. In some women, it perforates more easily than others, according to the characteristics of their hymen (types of perforation, flexibility or rigidity, thickness). Regarding the insertion of a finger into the vagina (by a partner or by the woman herself), different scenarios are possible. The hymen can remain intact, be partially perforated, or more rarely, be torn. It can be accidentally torn during a fall or through vigorous exercise too. Sometimes the hymen is so elastic that it does not break even after several such episodes.

On the contrary, it can happen that certain sports activities, such as cycling or horseback riding, can lead to tearing of this membrane. Of course, the use of a tampon or masturbation can also cause it to break but are not the sole reasons. Hence, the rupture of hymen is merely a symbolic and cultural reference to virginity.

All being said and done, masturbation really has less to no connect with the loss of hymen and virginity. However, we are in the 21st century. It is high time we got off the horse of purity and virginity, and stopped considering sex a taboo or even a benchmark of a woman’s character. Women are much more than a mere stain on the bed sheet, post the wedding night.