This is a common belief, sometimes used to shame women - that virgins have 'tight' vaginas and women who partake in more sexual intercourse have 'loose' vaginas due to permanent stretching.
Is this true?
Here are excerpts from an article written for Psychology Today
The Rare Truth About "Tight" and "Loose" Women
Post published by Michael Castleman M.A. on Sep 16, 2011 in All About Sex
Many women complain that their vaginas are "too tight" or "too loose," and many men raise the issue about lovers. Notions of vaginal tightness and looseness are fraught with mythology. Many people believe that (1) the virgin vagina is extremely tight, (2) that loss of virginity permanently loosens it, (3) that frequent sex loosens it further (so don't be promiscuous, girls!), and (4) that childbirth loosens the vagina even more and possibly forever after. The truth is considerably different.
The vagina's tightly folded muscle tissue is very elastic, like an accordion or the mouth. Try this: Pull the corners of your mouth out toward your ears then let go. What happens? The mouth immediately snaps back to its pre-stretched state because the tissue is elastic. Do it 100 times. There's no permanent stretching. The mouth quickly returns to its pre-stretched state and no one would ever know you'd stretched it.
The same goes for the vagina, with two exceptions I'll discuss shortly. When it's at rest–all the time except sexual arousal and childbirth–the vagina's muscle tissue remains tightly folded like a closed accordion. Anxiety makes the vaginal musculature clench even tighter. That's why young girls sometimes have problems inserting tampons.
As women become sexually aroused, vaginal muscle tissue relaxes somewhat. Biologically, this makes perfect sense. Evolution is all about facilitating reproduction.
However, arousal-related vaginal loosening does NOT produce a big open cavity like the inside of a sock. If the vagina feels "too tight" during lovemaking, the woman is either (1) not interested in sex, or (2) she has not had enough warm-up time to allow her vaginal musculature to relax enough for comfortable insertion.
After relaxing during sex, vaginal muscle tissue naturally contracts—tightens—again. Intercourse does NOT permanently stretch the vagina. (my emphasis) This process, loosening during arousal and tightening afterward, happens no matter how often the woman has sex.
The vagina stretches a great deal during childbirth, like an accordion opened all the way. Post-partum does it re-tighten completely? Yes, usually, at least in young women, that is, women in their late teens and early twenties. Within six months after delivery, the typical young woman's vagina feels pretty much how it was before she gave birth.
Now for the two exceptions. If you stretch elastic a great deal, over time, it fatigues and no longer snaps back entirely. That can happen to the vaginas of young women after multiple births. Their vaginal muscles fatigue and no longer fully contract. In addition, aging fatigues vaginal muscle. Whether or not women have given birth, as they grow older, they may complain of looseness.
Michael Castleman MA is not a doctor, however as a journalist he has written about sexuality and sex research for 36 years. He has answered more than 10,000 sex questions for Playboy, other magazines, WebMD, and other sites. From 1991 to 1995, Castleman answered all the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor.
In an answer to a related question in a column written by Dr. Sari Locker about sex with large penises, she writes:
The tightness of a woman’s vagina is not related to the size of the penises that have been inside it. It’s a myth that a woman’s vagina becomes permanently stretched out from having sex with a man with a large penis. After each sexual encounter, the vagina contracts to its original size, and it has no lasting stretching from a large penis. The only way that a woman’s vagina may stretch significantly is after she has a baby.
Sari Locker:, MS, MA, PhD, is a sexologist, sex educator, relationship educator, author, television personality, advice columnist, guest lecturer, and teaches psychology courses at Columbia University.