You’ve probably seen countless movies and TV shows that use the phrase “pop your cherry” in reference to a woman losing her virginity. It’s a popular phrase that I’ve probably heard at least 100 times without really thinking about it. But if you’re new to the phrase, or maybe you’ve never thought of it, you might be wondering where does the expression “pop your cherry” come from?
In short, according to Vogue teens, cherry refers to a woman’s hymen, which is a small membrane just inside the opening of the vagina. When the cherry is burst – or the hymen is broken – it means the woman is no longer a virgin. The hymen, however, is a much more complicated subject than the simple phrase “pop your cherry” would suggest. On the one hand, according to Jezebel, not all women bleed when they pop their cherries. Some people bleed, some people don’t, and some can bleed a lot.
To complicate matters even more, your hymen has never technically “pop”, as the phrase suggests, according to Medical Daily. When a woman is born, her hymen is thick and contains a small opening to allow menstrual blood to flow when the time comes. However, the hymen membrane thins and stretches over the years and can wear or tear due to strenuous exercise, use of tampons, and masturbation. By the time a woman is ready to have sex, the elasticity of the hymenal tissue has widened enough to allow entry of the penis. So it’s not that your hymen is breaking or bursting, but that it has simply been stretched or torn.
Not only is the phrase “pop your cherry” technically inaccurate, it also has a shaky and uncertain history. According to New Health Advisor, no one is entirely sure where does the expression “pop your cherry” come from. The earliest references to “cherry” can be found in the 16th century when the word may have referred to a woman’s black pubic hair. The more modern version of the phrase became popular in the 19th century, however, when a woman was considered “ripe for the picking” if she was a virgin (and her “cherry” was intact).
So if the hymen does not “burst”, where does all this blood come from? According to GURL, one of the things you must know your hymen and your virginity is that the blood from your first sexual intercourse is probably coming from not relaxing the muscles in your vagina and being too rough. Really, the tired old phrase “pop your cherry” should probably be taken out by now because it’s not really physiologically accurate anyway. But hey, at least now you know, right?