Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Teen Health

Font Size

Teens and Virginity

If you're a teen or entering puberty, chances are you've heard the word "virginity." But you might be unclear as to what it exactly means. While "virgin" is often used to refer to someone who has not yet had sexual intercourse, there is no single, clear definition of what talking about sex is. To most teens, virginity is a personal topic that can be embarrassing to talk about.

This article will shed some light on the confusing nature of the term "virginity" and talk about ways to come to terms with your own thoughts and feelings on the subject.

Recommended Related to Teens

Teen Internet Safety Tips

Spend much time surfing the web? If you do, you need to be wary of things that lurk on the dark side of the Internet. Not only are there viruses, hackers and spammers -- online predators and a bunch of evildoers are out there just waiting to pounce on teens in the digital world. You have probably heard of someone’s computer being hacked, his or her identity being stolen online, or even having some embarrassing pictures posted online. “Nah, it can’t happen to me,” you think. Well, if you use...

Read the Teen Internet Safety Tips article > >

What Does Virginity Mean?

Defining virginity can be confusing.

For females, virginity used to be defined by an intact “hymen.” The hymen is located about a half-inch inside the vagina. Not all girls are born with hymens, which makes this definition of virginity somewhat misleading.

Another definition of a virgin is a girl whose vagina has not been penetrated sexually. The problem with this definition is that there are different ways of penetration.

You may need to first figure out how you define "sex" before you define "virginity." For instance, one person might think that any penetration of the vagina equals sexual intercourse. Other people restrict the definition of "sex" to penetration by the penis. Some people believe oral sex is "sex"; others disagree. These concepts depend on both emotional and physical factors. You have to determine what virginity means to you.

Two more terms you should be familiar with are "abstinence" and "celibacy."

"Abstinence" (based on the word "abstain") can refer to voluntarily giving up anything, including eating or drinking. In the context of virginity, abstinence refers to not having sex.

"Celibacy" specifically refers to sexual abstinence. "Chastity" means almost the same thing as both "virginity" and "abstinence," but it comes closer to the word ''purity.''

Virginity, Religion, and Morality

Men and women of various religions follow certain rules about virginity, according to their belief systems. Many Christian denominations encourage women to practice abstinence until they are married, based on certain verses in the New Testament of the Bible. Similarly, Islam requires that females abstain from sex until marriage. Orthodox and Conservative Jewish traditions also place a similar value on virginity.

If you want to know more about how your own religion or belief system deals with virginity, talk to your parents, a religious counselor, an older sibling, or a trusted friend. Because each religion deals with the subject differently, it is important to know that your views on virginity are your own and should not be forced on anyone else. At the same time, it is something that is important to talk about and feel comfortable with, so you will know when you are ready to engage in sexual intercourse.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
mini cupcakes
teen couple
girl running with vigor
Sugary drinks
teen wearing toning shoes
young woman texting
teen boy holding a condom
Teen girls eating ice cream
teen sleeping
couple kissing
Taylor Swift