In our fortnightly column ‘Great Sexpectations’ the Woman Alive panel answer your questions on sex, faith and intimacy. Drop us a confidential email on firstname.lastname@example.org and ask us anything. Here, we tackle; if you could lose your viriginity by having a smear test.
Dear Woman Alive panel,
I’ve had a letter from my GP saying I need to book an appointment for a cervical smear test. I know it’s important to do these tests, but I’m a virgin - so do I have to go? And if I have the test will that mean I no longer have my viriginity? Can you help? I’m confused!
I assume as you’ve had a letter inviting you for a smear test, that you know what one is. But just in case another reader isn’t sure, I’ll start with a brief rundown. A cervical screening, also known as a smear test, is a vital check-up to make sure your cervix is healthy. It’s not designed to diagnose cancer but to prevent it.
In the procedure, a nurse or doctor will take a sample of cells from your cervix – which is where your vagina meets your womb. It is an internal examination and would involve the physical insertion of a speculum with some lubricant into your vagina and a soft brush to collect the cells.
Those who haven’t had sex are less likely to get cervical cancer, but they are in a very low risk category – not a no risk category.
For most people it is uncomfortable but not painful and it is over very quickly. For someone who hasn’t had penetrative sex before it is likely to hurt a little more. Those who haven’t had sex are less likely to get cervical cancer, but they are in a very low risk category – not a no risk category. Also, it’s worth noting that you’re only in that lower risk category if you’ve had no sexual contact whatsoever, that includes with hands, mouths, toys or penetration by a penis.
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Despite this, every woman between 25 and 65 is regularly invited for the test. Some people who have had no sexual contact choose not to go to their appointment but there’s a lot of advice from doctors online that suggests you should still go. If you’re not sure, you can always have a chat with your nurse or doctor about your concerns. It really won’t be the first time someone’s asked them.
Sex is so much more than just the insertion of something inside you.
Now onto the question of your virginity. Sex is so much more than just the insertion of something inside you. Going for this test does not mean you have lost your virginity. Sex is a special act. When you do choose to have it, you’ll see that the connection it builds between you and your partner is so much more than physical. It’s because it’s such an intimate, vulnerable thing to share, that the Bible is clear that it is best in the safety of a strong commitment – a marriage.
So, my advice would be to go to the smear test but if you’re really unsure, speak to your doctor or nurse first. When you’re at the appointment, if you find it uncomfortable, you can always ask to try a different position and ask the nurse to use a smaller speculum. Plus, remember not to be embarrassed to speak to the nurse or doctor and you shouldn’t feel pressured to continue – you can ask to stop at anytime.
Our Great Sexpectations column is written by a number of different contributors who make up the Woman Alive panel.