The hymen oftentimes, though not always, rips or tears the first time a female engages in penetrative intercourse, which may cause some temporary bleeding and slight discomfort. Some women may not be aware when their hymen tears, especially if it does not occur during sexual activity, because it may or may not cause bleeding or discomfort. The hymen has been and continues to be a source of extreme concern in many cultures , and even now, many myths regarding the presence of the hymen exist due to ancient cultural traditions and a lack of scientific knowledge. The shape and structure of the hymen varies from female to female. The picture below shows the most common configurations.