How To Know If You Popped Your Cherry AKA Your Hymen Is Broken

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How To Know If You Popped Your Cherry AKA Your Hymen Is Broken

Phrases like "popping a cherry" are pretty common, yet in the medical field, a broken hymen is the phrase more commonly used. But not everyone knows, that while usually associated with having sex for the first time, what a "cherry" actually is.

The "cherry" is a woman's hymen, and it's called that because when it tears, it will often bleed. So, red will result after it's "popped." According to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Joshua Zuckerman, MD, FACS, “The hymen is a thin, relatively flimsy membrane located inside the vaginal introitus (opening).”

Whether it's your first time having sex, you've noticed bleeding not from your period, or you're just genuinely curious, there are a few things that can cause a broken hymen. 

RELATED: 7 Myth-Busting Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Hymen

1. Sex

Tearing a hymen is most often associated with loss of virginity. But it’s best not to think of the hymen as an object which breaks, but rather, as living tissue which can be damaged or torn.

“If you have sexual intercourse for the first time and have bleeding, the blood is coming from the hymen and you know it has torn somewhat,” says Felice Gersh, M.D.,  an award-winning OB/GYN. 

2. Touching

Sex isn’t the only way to tear a hymen. In fact, it’s one of many, because the hymen is pretty fragile. “It is theoretically possible for a woman to reach up and actually feel the hymen, although it would be difficult, and one would risk breaking the hymen through that action,” says Dr. Zuckerman.

3. Athletics

Strenuous physical activity also has a way of tearing your hymen, and you probably didn't even know it happened. “Breakage can occur outside of intercourse during athletic activity, for example,” warns Dr. Zuckerman. One strong liklihood? Horseback riding.

But if you don't have a broken hymen from touching it, sex, or athletics, sometimes you may not even know how you tore it. According to Dr. Zuckerman, “It takes relatively little to rupture the hymen, and while there is evidence that it can heal itself in young women from minor trauma, often women don't realize that it has broken.”

So, what happens when it breaks? You'll likely see a little bit of blood. And because any blood can also be mistaken for menstruation, if you see bleeding when you aren't on your period, that's another possible reason.

Though you can repair a broken hymen, most of us probably wouldn't want to, as it requires surgery. “There aren't really external manifestations of a broken hymen after the initial event. I have had some interest from prospective patients for a 'hymenoplasty' to repair the hymen surgically for cultural reasons,” Dr. Zuckerman warns.

RELATED: Why The Entire Concept Of 'Virginity' Is A Lie

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at