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

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

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

The hymen is a thin piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. For some women, it may stretch or tear when they start having sex.

Having a stretched or torn hymen does not necessarily mean a woman has lost her virginity.

The hymen can also stretch or tear quite easily before a woman has sex for the first time, through:

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

A woman may not know her hymen has stretched or torn, because it does not always cause pain or noticeable bleeding.

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

Find a sexual health clinic

Further information