Knowledge regarding hymens and the sex education of parents

J Child Sex Abus. 2014;23(6):674-89. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2014.928399.


The objective of this study was to ascertain beliefs and knowledge of pediatricians and parents regarding the hymen and to evaluate parental and pediatrician attitudes regarding sex education by pediatricians. Surveys were distributed anonymously to parents and pediatricians. Survey questions included knowledge of the female hymen and questions regarding attitudes toward sexual health education. There was a statistically significant difference in mean knowledge scores between pediatricians and parents regarding the hymen (3.7 versus 1.3; p < 0.0001). Almost two-thirds of pediatricians (63%) felt comfortable providing sexual health education directly to their patients, but only 41% felt comfortable educating parents. Pediatricians and parents demonstrate knowledge gaps about the hymen.

Keywords: anticipatory guidance; genital examination; genital injuries; sexual abuse; sexual development; virginity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Hymen*
  • Male
  • Parents / education*
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Sex Education*