I'm pretty sure I broke my hymen with the dilators.
I'll ask the lady when I go to my next appointment, but I'm pretty sure.
And it didn't hurt.
And I'm furious.
Because now I understand why I got vaginismus. It did have a psychological factor. It was a psychological factor caused by poor instruction by kallah teachers and gynecologists alike.
It came from the following erroneous descriptions: flap of skin and breaking the hymen.
The hymen is not a flap of skin. Neither does one break through it.
The hymen is, in fact, a ring of skin/ tissue around the vaginal opening (which already exists). When a man's penis enters you, he is simply widening or otherwise stretching the opening. In doing this, he may tear it slightly so that your once perfectly circular opening now has a bit of a jagged appearance. But it doesn't hurt and it's nothing like the ordeal that I thought I would have to face.
You see, when people told me the hymen was a flap of skin or a flap of tissue, I literally believed it WAS a flap.
So I pictured a little square of tissue, kind of like flesh-colored saran wrap but a bit thicker. It was tacked over my vaginal opening, attached on top and attached on bottom. It wasn't attached on the sides, which is how my menstrual blood could leak out. And when I was told my husband would break my hymen, I literally pictured him powering through this supposed "flap" of skin or tissue with his penis, using a lot of force in order to break it. It'd be like piercing an earlobe with a needle, except he'd be piercing my hymen with his penis. And just like you bleed when the earlobe is pierced, I figured I'd bleed after he'd ripped through the flap.
Is it any wonder that I would seize up in totally terrified fear and pain when my husband would try to penetrate me? I had incredibly frightening thoughts of him having to pummel through my hymen at high speed in order to get up the necessary force to smash through and rip that tissue away. That flap of skin haunted my dreams.
Try as I might, I couldn't find it, though. I saw the opening, I felt the pain but I didn't see the "flap." So I just figured it must be somewhere deeper down than I could see. I also thought this more recently, when I was able to put my finger inside. I figured I can fit my finger in but I'm still a virgin, I guess that flap of skin must just be further down still (it's kind of funny in retrospect, I sort of conflated the hymen with the cervix). My gynecologist (the first one I saw, the one who made me feel like a freak) just added to my fear when she told me that it's better if the husband just bams on through because it's easier on the girls that way.
Please tell me: why in God's name do we use misnomers like "flaps" of skin or tissue or "breaking" through the hymen when that is simply not what happens?
There's a ring of tissue around the vaginal opening. That ring is the hymen. When the penis penetrates, it widens and sometimes tears that ring, causing the opening to now look a bit more jagged. The End. Not scary at all.
But instead I wasted a year and a half of my life being terrified with that terror just being added to by the gynos and first therapist I saw.
I found these pictures online of the hymen in different stages (as a virgin, when one has had some sexual activity, when one has had a child etc) and they're really helpful in terms of demonstrating how the hymen is a ring, not a flap.
Maybe I'm the only one who took what I was told really literally and envisioned a real flap of skin. Maybe I'm just particularly stupid. But I don't think it helps anyone when the educators themselves are using misnomers and erroneous terms that lead people to get a really wrong idea about stuff.