It's an outright SCANDAL that women's health is taken so casually. My professors CONSTANTLY rail about it (male and female), and it's a soap box I wholeheartedly climb onto. ((Not seeing a gynecologist until sexually active is only one aspect of the outrage that gets discussed whenever women's health comes up, btw... but I'll just leave the rest for now. <grin> this part will be long enough. It is NOT a critisim on you, btw. It's a critisism on the hugely late 'catching up' women's health faces in a mostly male dominated field, and the miserliness of insurance companies.))
Boys have their genitals examined from day 1. But "OH NO! NOT ***GIRLS***" Heaven forbid.
Along with puberty comes many many many hormonal changes that trigger increased sebatious gland excretions (oils), change in pH, cellular changes, menstruation. All sorts of problem crop up. Untreated yeast infections and vaginosis being the most common, followed by such lovely things as folliculitis, cysts, gynecological cancers (not all gynecological cancers are caused by STDs), PID, endometriosis, dozens of various infections (vaginal or anal)... All things that are EASILY caught, and mostly easily treated by an OB/Gyn.
The idea that vaginas (et al) are only for penises and babies (aka only check when you're having sex or pregnant) is so INCREDIBLY outdated, and completely WRONG.
((From working in a women's clinic, that's one of the constant laments of the docs... how many young women think "But I thought it was SUPPOSED to be/feel like that. These are young women with chronic yeast infections, chronic vaginosis, etc... have had them for YEARS, but never 'knew', becuase they were years past having their diapers changed, and they were the only ones seeing their privates for a good 10-15 years. One gets USED to itching, burning, smell, etc. given enough years of it. The WONDER of these young women, some actually are bouncing up and down at reception, almost glowing at the news they have to share with their doc (no itching, no burning, etc.), or are out and out pissed that they never knew... is frankly astonishing. And waaaay to common (like once a week). Totally preventable. AND ***not serious***. Versus the young women that are several years into cervical cancer, or have been rendered sterile from an untreated infection.))
The things listed above is JUST a short list of things that crop up with the massive hormonal shift that is puberty.
COMPLETELY take sex and sex acts off the table and think back to the 80's for a minute:
Remember all the AIDs from toilet seats and towels and all the nonsense? Know where it CAME from? Other STDs transfer that way. A girl with herpes can VERY easy transfer the virus to a toilet seat, just by missing a bit when she sits and needing to scoot. A shared towel with a girl who has genital warts (the wart virus sloughs off on the towel). Sharing a razor learning how to shape pubic hair... ADULTS with STDs are very very careful (usually) not to spread them. Teens otoh, have a tendency NOT to take the same precautions (for various reasons). Now, of COURSE it's more common to pick up an STD from a sex act or even kissing (did you know you can get genital warts in your mouth and throat?)... but they also spread by OTHER forms of contact.
Vaginas (et al) aren't scary. They're PART of us. If we have a sore throat, we know what to do about it. Because we've been seeing the doc for years.
For most girls... they HAVEN'T been seeing a gynecologist for years. So the first time something 'goes wrong' (yeast infection at a bare minimum) it becomes this big scary ordeal.
FAR better... wait for puberty, and start going. Develop a relationship with a gynecologist. Go once a year for the 15 minute "Yep! All good here! Labs will be back in a week." and go once a year to GRIND IN the habit. Give our girls the comfort of knowing when and where to go when they NEED to. As well as someone who is a BIT more knowledgeable to ask questions than their best friend Mindy, and locker room talk.
And lets ADD sex (and sex acts) on the table.
How often do you examine your daughter's hymen? Probably never. Your daughter's gynecologist, otoh, will be looking at it once a year. ((They also retract, btw, that's how girls bleed for their period. A lot can be easily moved aside by someone who knows how... like for a simple swab test for infection)). Only ONE person, besides your daughter will know when she's had sex for SURE aside from your daughter (unless you have the rare VERY open relationship). The person looking at her hymen and vaginal canal on a regular basis.
Now.. mine broke young (athlete, that's common). And my doctor knew the FIRST time I'd had sex (not the day, but the geography changes up a bit, even with a previously broken hymen). I was mortified, but being in school and looking at pic after pic of girlie parts... yeah. It's really easy to tell.