Deidre Mattiske does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. But actually all female mammals have a clitoris, the highly sensitive organ that is linked with pleasure and orgasm in women. And research is now starting to slowly unpack how the clitoris might be involved in sexual encounters in mammals. For example, a research paper presented at a biology conference this week showed that the clitoris in dolphins is very large, and more complex than we previously thought. All babies, regardless of whether they are destined to become a boy or a girl, begin development in the womb with a small bulge called a genital tubercle. Read more: What makes you a man or a woman?
5 Facts About the Hymen | What is the Hymen? | Natural Cycles
The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva , or external genitalia , and is similar in structure to the vagina. In children, a common appearance of the hymen is crescent -shaped, although many shapes are possible. During puberty , estrogen causes the hymen to change in appearance and become very elastic. The hymen can rip or tear during first penetrative intercourse , which usually results in pain and, sometimes, mild temporary bleeding or spotting. Sources differ on how common tearing or bleeding after first intercourse are. Minor injuries to the hymen may heal  without visible signs of previous injury.
Understanding your sexual anatomy and how reproduction works is an important part of getting to know your body! These links explain what the menstrual cycle is, and how pregnancy begins. Every species has the ability to reproduce, which means to make other living things like themselves. Human beings can reproduce or have babies once they go through puberty and their reproductive systems mature. Learning how reproduction works will help you understand how pregnancy happens and how to avoid it.
The hymen made out to be a symbol of virginity and purity when all it really is, is a part of your body. The hymen is largely misunderstood - not only by men but also women all over the world. But the social pressure in some cultures to have an intact hymen at the time of marriage can have a negative impact on mental health. Myths surrounding the hymen are largely to blame for this social pressure.