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Ask Trixie: Will I bleed the first time I have sex?

Will I bleed the first time I have sex? –A.

Hi A–

Thanks for writing. The quick answer is I don’t know if you’re going to bleed or not. Some women* will bleed the first time their vaginas are penetrated by a penis (or a dildo or fingers, for that matter) and some won’t. It depends on various factors, like whether you’re sufficiently aroused and lubricated, how rough your partner is, how elastic your hymen is, or whether you have any medical conditions that might cause bleeding. Sometimes there’s a lot of blood, sometimes there’s some spotting and just as often there’s no blood at all (which is how it went for me).

The myth that all women bleed the first time they have intercourse is so pervasive that it’s used as a standard ‘virginity’ test all over the world. In reality, the whole blood-on-the-sheet thing says absolutely nothing about whether a woman is a virgin, has previously been penetrated by a penis, or anything else except how her vaginal tissue reacted to the factors listed above. As we often point out, there is no way to test for ‘virginity.’

If you want more information on bleeding, I’d highly recommend Scarleteen’s"One Bloody Mess: Myths and Realities of Bleeding with First Intercourse", and while you’re there, consider making a small donation so they can keep doing the amazing work they do.

*This question came from a woman with a vagina planning to have PIV sex for the first time, but for any first-time penetration, make sure it’s slow, gentle and very well-lubricated. If you feel like there’s excessive blood or pain, it may be a sign that something is physically wrong, and you should definitely see your doctor about it.

Got a question about virginity, sex, relationships, feminism or filmmaking?  Ask Trixie here