Perceived invasions of privacy are always the subject of much media attention and can even cause congressional hearings and changes to the law. The concept of privacy is a wide-ranging one with implications that affect virtually every aspect of our professional and personal lives: including decisions we make in the bedroom. This is a particularly dicey area of concern because, while it’s important to be forthcoming with your gynecologist for the sake of your health, no woman wants to think that every time she consents to an ob-gyn exam that her vagina is telling the tale of her recent sexual activity. So is it? Can your gynecologist tell your sexual history from examining your vagina?
Many women fear that every penetration they’ve ever experienced is somehow etched on the tissues of their vagina for gynecologists to read like a romance novel. But is it so? Do your private parts keep a record of your sexual activity? Can your doctor determine the number of sexual partners you had? How often you have sex? How long those sexual encounters last? Is it all there to be deciphered by the trained eye of the ob-gyn? Drs Anuradha Kapur and Loveleena Nadir, ob-gyns at Max Smart Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi addressed some of these concerns in a recent interview. Below is an overview of what they had to say.
The good news for the privacy-minded is that your private parts are largely immune to interrogation and won’t typically betray aspects of your sexual history. According to both doctors that is because, being an elastic organ by nature, the vagina does a good job of returning to its ‘at rest’ state shortly after the penis is withdrawn. As such, unless the sex was particularly rough and caused tissue damage, there are no tea leaves for the doctor to read regarding your sexual activity when they examine you.
According to the good doctors, the ob-gyn can tell if your hymen is torn but is not able to draw any hard and fast conclusions from that alone regarding whether or not you are still a virgin. This is because the possibility exists for the hymen to break even without any sexual contact. Gymnastics, bike riding, horse riding and other activities can lead to the tearing of the hymen. So again, while the doctor can tell if your hymen is intact or not they cannot determine (without you telling them), if it was torn by sexual contact or by accident.
Again, because the vagina is an elastic organ, it will return to its normal state after sex. Even if you have a multitude of sexual partners, it will still by nature return to its normal state after each encounter. As such, there is no way for the doctor to determine just by looking how many sexual partners a woman has had or how often she has sex.
You may well have heard this, but that doesn’t make it so. The only times the vagina may be expected to stretch and become loose to any degree are in the period immediately after childbirth and during and after menopause. However, where childbirth is concerned, the vagina typically returns to its original configuration within six months. As for menopause: medications are available that can help restore tightness. In addition, there are a number of exercises a woman can do to retrain the muscles down there to return to their pre-menopausal state. So, in answer to the stated concern; a woman doesn’t stay stretched out if she has frequent sex. That’s nothing more than a very popular urban myth.
The above may make some women question if an ob-gyn can tell anything from examining their vagina. Well, of course, they can. And some of those things can suggest things about a woman’s sex life without ever revealing specifics. For instance:
Your vagina is actually really good at keeping private things private so there is no need to worry that every trip to the gynecologist will reveal things about your sexual history you don’t want revealed. Do make sure however that if something is bothering you that may have resulted from a sexual encounter that you inform your doctor right away. Without having all relevant information at hand, it’s impossible for them to make an accurate diagnosis and devise effective treatments.