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 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.  

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 22/10/2015

Next review due: 22/10/2017