Myths About How to Tell if a Girl Is a Virgin

No matter what you've heard, you can't tell if she's a virgin. She might tell you, but that's up to her.

Updated October 19, 2023
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There are still a lot of cultural myths surrounding the topic of sexual history and how to tell if a girl is a virgin. This can be very important to some cultures and religions, but it's also a sensitive subject for many people (for good reason).

Learn how to separate the myth from the fact, and find out the best way to communicate respectfully with people about virginity and their sexual history.

Need to Know

Being a virgin means someone has not had sex (although penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse is not the only way people define sex). This is a very private matter, and it's up to the person whether they share information about their sexual history with others.

Can You Actually Tell If a Girl Is Still a Virgin?

Despite a lot of the myths out there about virginity, if you are wondering how you can tell if a girl is still a virgin, it's important to know that there's no way to tell. This is also true for people who were born with vaginas but may not identify as female, and the same is true if you want to know if a boy is still a virgin.

Need to Know

Your best bet for finding out about whether someone is a virgin is to ask them, but when you ask someone this sort of personal question, they may or may not feel comfortable answering you. They have no legal or medical obligation to share that information with anyone or undergo a medical test to determine whether they are a virgin, even if they are a minor.

Myths About Virginity

Despite the fact that a person's answer is the only way to know, there are still a lot of cultures that believe you can tell if a girl is a virgin just by looking at her or in other ways. These are a few of the myths surrounding this issue, none of which are substantiated by science.

Doctor Exam Myth

Some people believe that an in-depth vaginal exam by a medical professional is one method to tell if a woman is a virgin. But not even an examination by a doctor can confirm if someone has had sex in the past, and no one has to submit to this exam if they don't consent. The same is true for guys. 

Intact Hymen Myth

One myth is that if a girl's hymen is intact, she is still a virgin. The hymen is a thin mucous membrane of skin that usually but not always surrounds or partially covers the opening to the vagina. During sexual intercourse, the hymen can sometimes break and tear, causing some pain and light bleeding, but many girls don't have this happen at all.

The hymen can also break through a lot of other means, such as sports like bike riding or gymnastics, using tampons, or through the growth and development of her body. Some girls never have their hymen break at all.

Bleeding After First Time Myth

Some people believe that all girls will bleed the first time they have sex. This is a myth and really depends on multiple factors. If a girl's hymen has already been stretched through the use of tampons or even masturbation, there is less risk of bleeding during first intercourse.

Each person with a vagina is also born with a unique hymen and genital shape, just as each person with a penis has a unique penis. Some girls will bleed when they lose their virginity, while others will not.

Other Incorrect Myths About Virginity

Here are some other myths about virginity that are not true:

  • Once you are a certain age, you likely have had sex. This is not true to any extent. There is no age when people are no longer virgins.
  • A girl looks different after she has sex. Again, this is not true. People who are sexually active look exactly like people who are virgins.
  • A girl will seem to know more about sex after losing her virginity. While some behaviors may change after one has had sex, this is not the same for everyone. In this day and age, there are lots of ways to get good information about sex.

Tips for Discussing Virginity and Sexual History

Sexual experiences are deeply personal, so be respectful in approaching the subject of virginity. No one is obligated to tell you anything, and being asked this personal information can be totally offensive and inappropriate. If you're going to have this conversation, keep these tips in mind:

couple talking
  • Get consent before asking about sexual history. Just like everything else related to sex, you need consent. If you want to talk to someone about their sexual history, ask if it's okay if you ask them a personal question.
  • Respect their right not to answer. You can ask a question, but you need to be okay with someone refusing to answer it. Be gracious and kind if she chooses not to talk to you about her sexual history.
  • Make sure you have an emotional (and physical) safe space. Being asked about your sexual history can feel very vulnerable. Make sure the other person feels safe and comfortable with you before bringing this up.
  • Resist reacting with judgement. No matter what the person shares with you, avoid reacting with judgement or skepticism. An unkind reaction will hurt your relationship.

Get Consent and Feel Comfortable With Your Conversations

Answering the question about how can you tell if a girl is still a virgin is simple: you can't. But she can tell you if she chooses. Remember, the answer may be just as private as what goes on during sex. And just like with all things related to sex, it's all about consent and feeling comfortable.

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Myths About How to Tell if a Girl Is a Virgin