On my blog entry Date Rape: It Was NOT Your Fault, Grace posted the following comment:
I was wondering if others had their virginity “in tact” in adulthood. I read in my early healing research that a minor medical procedure can repair the hymen. Also, I have such a clear memory of a miscarriage as a preteen so I know I wasn’t a virgin.
The type of abuse I most separated myself from was the memories of the vaginal rapes. I told myself repeatedly throughout my teens and early twenties that I was a virgin. I was the “poster child” for “waiting until marriage.” I looked for the whitest wedding gown I could find, and I only had white flowers in my bouquet. I was certain that I was a virgin.
The first time that I was “fingered,” I had very light bleeding. I would call it “staining” – nothing really heavy but definitely some blood. When I first had intercourse with hub (the first intercourse I remembered), I only saw traces of the tiniest bit of blood. I held onto those incidents as further “evidence” that I was never vaginally raped. Throughout my first 18 months of healing, I told myself repeated, “At least I was never raped.”
However, I kept having dreams/flashbacks of being raped, but I pushed them aside. I “knew” that could not be true because of the bleeding.
Then, I came across this passage in Chrystine Oksana’s book, Safe Passage to Healing:
Some survivors are baffled by memories of repeated rapes, yet they also remember bleeding during their first conscious experience of intercourse. This would seem to imply that their hymen had not been broken. Like other genital tissue, hymens can heal and regenerate very quickly. While they may not return to their original intact shape, the regenerated hymen and scar tissue may bleed after a period of sexual inactivity.
Reading this passage forced me to face my truth.
Also, when women talk about bleeding after their first sexual experience, they generally do not get into the details of how much actual blood is involved. For all I knew, a tiny bit of staining was normal. I was truly shocked to learn that it was possible to bleed after having been raped, doubly so after being raped repeatedly over a period of years as a young child.
So, the answer to the question is yes – a hymen can regenerate after a rape and even after repeated rapes. The fact that you recover flashbacks of vaginal rapes is not inconsistent with bleeding after your first conscious sexual experience.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt