Does a woman always bleed when she has sex for the first time?

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No, not always. Some women will bleed after having sex for the first time, while others won't. Both are perfectly normal.

A woman may bleed when she has penetrative sex for the first time because of her hymen breaking.

The hymen is a thin piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. It usually breaks during sex, if it hasn't already broken before.

The hymen can break quite easily before a woman has sex for the first time, through:

  • activities such as horse riding and other sports
  • using tampons

A woman may not know her hymen has broken, because it doesn’t always cause pain or noticeable bleeding.

Having a broken hymen therefore doesn't necessarily mean a woman has lost her virginity.

If you're concerned about bleeding after sex, get advice from your GP or your nearest sexual health clinic.

Content supplied by NHS Choices