Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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What is the Church's stand on a woman who loses her virginity due to other factors other than being with a man, for example, masturbation, medical examinations, incorrectly inserting a tampon, etc.? While some reasons are a sin, others are no fault of her own. Does that mean she cannot get married within the Church? Does she have to let her future husband know beforehand?

Preservation of one's virginity is not only a physical decision, but it is also a mental and spiritual choice for celibacy. What you are asking is regarding the physical aspect of virginity, meaning the rupturing of the hymen. The hymen is a thin membrane that can be ruptured via physical exercise, sports, etc., without any knowledge. Some women are actually born without this membrane. The problem is that many men have an inaccurate understanding of the anatomical existence of the hymen, and unfortunately, some have accused their spouses of having pre-marital sexual experiences because of this misunderstanding. In the cases you mentioned in which the hymen is ruptured prior to marriage, of course, the girl may marry in the Church. Even if she made mistakes in her past and had sexual experiences, but repented, she may still marry in the Church. The Church is usually far more forgiving than some husbands. Men ought to be better educated about these circumstances. It is not advised that a virgin, i.e., an unmarried woman, use tampons for such reasons. Masturbation requires a different spiritual approach of counseling. Women need also to inform their physicians to be cautious regarding vaginal examinations. In all cases, it is important that potential spouses are honest with each other. However, neither should request nor offer explicit details, without the counsel of each one’s own spiritual father. If there were relationships in the past, then it is enough to say just that. If the potential spouse cannot accept that, then it is better to part before the marriage. Each person is obliged to repent and confess to his or her spiritual father on a regular basis, especially regarding any issues that could impact a marriage.
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