Vaginas: How Much Do You Really Know?

Vaginas Aren’t A BluePrint!

Most of us have had Sex Ed classes and Biology lessons at school, but how much did they really teach you about vaginas beyond periods and its reproductive qualities? You’re never really taught about the pleasure a vagina can receive, and when to know when your vag is healthy or not – so hopefully this article will give you more of an insight into the magical world of vaginas.

There’s also a lot of myths and misinformation out there regarding orgasms and what a vagina should look and smell like, which may bring unnecessary shame and stress to many women out there, but you’re not alone! However, this article isn’t just for those with vaginas, it’s also for men that don’t know as much about vaginas as they should do. Porn is renowned for giving unrealistic expectations and a woman’s privates are amongst them.

Vagina’s aren’t a blueprint, like you see in porn.

What’s a Vulva?

Right, so a womans ‘bits’ isn’t just a vagina. In short – the vagina is the inside, and the vulva is all the bits on the outside which includes; the inner and outer labia, perineum, clitoris, urethra, and vaginal opening. The vagina is a 3- to 6-inch-long muscular canal that runs from your vulva to the cervix, the lower part of the uterus.

Labia Diagram

Labias Come in All Shapes and Sizes.

The labia majora, which are the external lips can vary from around 2.7 to 4.7 inches (7 to 12 cm) in length and the clitoris also ranges from about 0.1 to 1.3 inches (5 to 35 mm) in size but swells and enlarges if a woman is aroused.

Vaginas and Vulvas Can Also Change Colour

When you’re horny, blood rushes to your vulva and vagina. This can make the color of your skin in that area appear darker. Don’t worry though, it’ll go back to its normal shade after sexy time is over.

75% of Women Can’t Orgasm from Penetration Alone

75% of women can’t orgasm from penetration alone, that means only one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm during intercourse – no matter how big your penis is, no matter how long it lasts, and no matter how the woman feels about the man or the relationship.

This statistic comes from a comprehensive analysis of 33 studies over the past 80 years by Elisabeth Lloyd in her book ‘The Case of the Female Orgasm’ (Harvard University Press).

Regardless of how shocking this low statistic may be for some, there’s actually some people out there who can experience both a vaginal and clitoral orgasm at the same time, also called a “blended orgasm,” which may sound rare but it’s totally possible for some. There are also plenty of perfectly healthy bodies that rarely or never get all the way to orgasm, especially via penetration. Read our article ‘The Female Orgasm and Squirting: The Truths’ to find out more about female orgasms.

Female Orgasms Aren’t What You Think They Are

Most orgasms aren’t earth-shattering and that’s ok (and they’ll probably be A LOT better doing them yourself). However the media and porn’s overly theatrical portrayal of what it looks like to have an orgasm has created an unrealistic standard for what an orgasm should be. The truth is, orgasms come in all shapes and sizes – and that means intense lip-biting, back-arching, or having your soul sucked out of your body doesn’t have to be involved (every time).

Some orgasms will be short and light, while others may feel more powerful and intense – I’m sure this is the same case for men also.

The Size and Location of Your Clitoris Can Matter for Orgasm

Studies have revealed that the anatomy may be key to female orgasm; the reason some people with vaginas have trouble orgasming during penetrative sex could be because of a relatively small clitoris that’s located a bit too far from the vaginal opening. So if you’ve got a small clit that’s relatively high up from your vaginal opening and you don’t orgasm during penetrative sex – that’s probably why.

Is the Female G-Spot a Lie?

According to a recent Cosmo investigation, a team of researchers officially coined the term “G-spot” in the early ’80s; they named the thing, which they described as a “sensitive small bean,” for German researcher Ernst Gräfenberg (yes, a man). And just like that, your most frustrating fake body part was born. Dozens of trials used surveys, pathologic specimens, imaging, and biochemical markers to try to pinpoint the elusive G-spot once and for all.

“I don’t think we have any evidence that the G-spot is a spot or a structure,” says Nicole Prause, PhD, a neuroscientist who studies orgasms and sexual arousal. “I’ve never understood why it was interpreted as some new sexual organ. You can’t standardise a vagina – there is no consistency across women as to where exactly we experience pleasure.”

The orgasm expert Prause continues, “For some women, there is sexual sensitivity where the G-spot is supposed to be. But for others, there’s none. Or it’s to the left. Or it’s in a few places. And that’s kind of the whole point. It’s all okay. It can all feel good.”

Yes Vaginas Can Tear When Giving Birth

Yes, vaginas can tear when giving birth, but it’s actually a really common thing. So common that up to 9 in every 10 first time mothers who have a vaginal birth will experience some sort of tear, graze or episiotomy.

Tears can occur inside the vagina or other parts of the vulva, including the labia. It is however, slightly less common for mothers who have had a vaginal birth before. These ‘injuries’ can be minor tears or a longer cut (called an episiotomy) made intentionally by a healthcare provider when, for example, the baby is positioned feet-first or the delivery needs to happen faster. Scary? Yes. Irreparable? Nope! Your vagina is resilient and due to ample blood supply, actually heals quicker than other parts of the body.

The A-Spot

We’ve all heard of the ‘G-spot’ , but have you heard of the A-spot? Also known as the anterior fornix erogenous zone, the A-spot is believed to be located deep inside the vagina, between the cervix and the bladder.

According to Medical News Today, the A-spot is a relatively new discovery by Malaysian researcher Dr. Chua Chee Ann. In a study, he reported that 10-15 minutes of A-spot stimulation led to instant orgasms and vaginal lubrication in 15 percent of women who reported pain and dryness during sexual intercourse.

There Is No Cherry to ‘Pop’

‘Popping the cherry’ otherwise known as losing your virginity and tearing your hymen, is actually a myth. Some women are born without one, but most people with vaginas are born with a hymen, a thin piece of skin that stretches across part of the vaginal opening. Despite what you may have heard, at no point in your life will this piece of skin ‘pop.’

Hymens often tear before a person ever has penetrative sex, during some unsexy activity like riding a horse or putting in a tampon. But it’s also common for the hymen to tear during sex, in which case a bit of blood is to be expected. Like anything body related, amount of blood etc will vary from person to person. But not having a hymen doesn’t mean you’re not a virgin and that you’ve had sex before – it’s merely a fake construct created by society. You can be a virgin and not have a hymen – for numerous reasons.

Vaginas Aren’t Supposed to Smell of Strawberries

Vaginas aren’t supposed to smell of strawberries, but they are supposed to have a smell. This should be common knowledge by now but it’s not. The bottom line? The vagina contains a highly specialised cult of bacteria that work 24/7 to keep your vaginal pH healthy and balanced and at an optimal level to ward off other hostile bacteria. And like other bacteria, these do have a smell. After all, the vagina self-cleanses, so let it do it’s thing. But if the odor becomes strong, unpleasant, or is accompanied with an unusual discharge, it’s time to see the doctor.

Vaginal Discharge is Totally Normal!

It’s totally normal to see discharge – which may be thin or thick, clear or white-ish – in your underwear at the end of the day (it can vary from person to person). This is the result of your vagina’s cleaning efforts. Cleaning techniques like douching are a bad idea because they can throw off this natural balance, leading to problems like bacterial vaginosis and infection. Discharge also changes throughout your cycle, right before your flow it’s creamier and thicker.

Dr. Boyle for Cosmopolitan says, “The change in your discharge during ovulation creates a hospitable environment for the sperm to travel up to the egg. If it ever itches, burns, smells foul, or looks like cottage cheese, see your gyno.”

Your Vagina Doesn’t ‘Fart’

All women have experienced it at one point or another: that embarrassing yet uncontrollable emission of air from the vagina, which is commonly known as “queefing.” Those little puffs of air that emerge from our lady parts are simply that – trapped air that is being released from the vaginal canal, and can commonly happen during sex if air gets trapped. They are not “farts” in the traditional sense because they are not waste gases, nor do they emit an unpleasant odor. Queefs really aren’t a big deal.

Vaginal Pain

There are two major causes of vaginal pain: Vaginismus, which causes the vaginal muscles to contract involuntarily, which can make it difficult or impossible to have sex, or even use a tampon. Read our article on Vaginismus – which also includes an anonymous confession – here. The other, characterised by vulva pain, burning, or sensitivity/discomfort so intense that direct touch is hard to bear, isVulvodynia. Vulvodynia cannot be linked to a specific cause, but the pain may or may not be triggered by touch and may be felt in one area or across the whole vulva. Us women don’t have it easy!

PEE AFTER SEX!

Too much action in a short period of time may leave you chafed or with a urinary tract infection. Fortunately, drinking extra fluids, cranberry juice in particular, and peeing post-sex can keep a UTI at bay.

Lots of Sex Won’t Stretch it Out.

Lots of sex won’t stretch it out, the vagina is incredibly elastic, so it always returns to its usual tightness after sex. Nor will it shrink if you go through a dry spell. At first, your vaginal muscles may be tense after weeks or month without sex or foreplay, but penetration shouldn’t be painful. You can strengthen it like any other muscle. Your pelvic floor muscles hold your vagina, uterus, rectum, and urethra in place. But doing kegels can strengthen the muscles surrounding your urethral and vaginal openings.

You Can Lift Weights with Your Vagina!!

If you are worried about your vagina potentially having ‘loosened’ then fear not – you can lift weights with your vagina! Have you ever heard of vaginal weightlifting? It is the act of inserting an ‘anchor’ into the vagina that’s attached to a weight on a string and it’s actually a proven way to strengthen your pelvic floor (makes the vagina ‘tighter’). There are also other methods of vaginal weightlifting such as kegels mentioned prior.

Sex and relationship coach Kim Anami is a vocal advocate for the exercise. She says stronger vaginal muscles can make sex last longer and feel better.

Hopefully you have learnt at least one new thing about vaginas through reading this artcle, check out our previous posts on the menu!

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