When I was a toddler we lived in a yellow painted house in Steenberg, Cape Town. I do not remember the street name anymore, but it was close to Military Road. We had a neighbour who was about my age and he would come over now and again to play. On one of these occasions he uttered the inevitable toddler words: 'show me yours and I'll show you mine'. After a quick calculation of risk by looking around to see where my mother was, I flashed him my vagina. We both laughed and a few seconds later, he flashed me his toddler penis. After that day, we never did it again and for years I had actually forgotten about this incident.
What I did not forget though was what my vagina looked like. What I had looked down upon in the few seconds of observation was thrilling. The top of my vagina, that I would later come to know as my vulva, looked soft, like a piece of dough. There was a long slit and I didn't know what was inside of it. Come to think of it, I didn't know much about my vagina until I reached University, purchased my first vibrator and started having adult sex. You know, the type of sex that makes you google things because you actually start wanting to know what you are doing. In order for you to skip that whole experimental process I have taken the time to list 10 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOUR VAGINA
1) Vulva VS Vagina
The Vulva is the outside. This includes, but is not limited to the labia or affectionately known as the lips, clitoris, the opening to the vagina, the urethra (more on that later). It is basically everything you cans see. The vagina is the pathway that leads to your cervix (more on that later).
2) 3 holes, Not 2
You have 3 holes in your pelvis area, not 2. You may be shocked, but it's true. There is the vaginal opening and the anus, what else could there be? The Urethra. The Urethra is a small hole or incision like opening slightly underneath your clitoris. This incision is where you pee from, contrary to popular belief people with vaginas do not pee from their vaginal openings.
3) STIMULIT MY CLIT!
The clitoris, which is a muscle that looks like a little (or in my case big) knob can be found somewhere around the top of the labia, but under the pubic bone. Although from the outside it looks like a knob, the clitoris is actually a giant muscle that goes under the skin and runs down and around either side of the vaginal opening. To explain the magnitude of sensitivity of the clitoris I will compare it to the penis. The clitoris has around 8000 nerve endings whereas the penis has 4000. Do not be afraid to go in search of the clitoris as most people with vaginas orgasm from clitoral stimulation and not penetrative stimulation. No wonder lesbians have reported that they experience more orgasms than those with vaginas in heterosexual relationships.
4) Your vagina and your clit enlarge when aroused
When you are aroused your vaginal tissues become more sensitive and can even double in size. Similar to a penis, the clitoris' enlargement is because blood is flowing to its tip and therefore the clit becomes 'erect'. Vaginal enlargement due to arousal is called 'tenting'. Tenting is when the upper section of the vagina enlarges. This can cause discomfort in some people until it becomes stimulated because of its heighened sensitivity. The scientific reason for tenting is to assist sperm to travel through the cervix so that implantation can occur. In my life, I don't give two ticks about that! Tenting just means I want you to stimulate my insides!
5) The Hymen Myth
Having a hymen, which is a small piece of flesh somewhere inside of your vaginal opening does not mean you are a virgin. Many people have no hymens at birth, this is because the hymen mostly raptures when you are born. So society's idea that having a supposed 'in tact' hymen means you are a virgin is an outdated way of trying to manage our sexual freedoms. Just like there is no way of testing someone with a penis' virginity, there is also no way of testing someone with a vagina's virginity. No matter what any culture, parent or society says. Virginity testing is evil.
6) No, you can't lose a tampon up there
The vagina is a pathway. On top of that pathway there is something called the cervix. The cervix has a small opening called the internal os that leads to the uterus. It kind of feels like the tip of your nose. That opening is extremely small and can only be penetrated by three things: your menstrual flow coming from your uterus, a doctor doing an operation and childbirth. The opening is so small that nothing else can pass through. So relax, if you cannot find your menstrual cup or feel like your tampon is 'lost', just take a breather and relax your vaginal muscles, then reach for whatever you are looking for. It is inside somewhere. It is definitely not lost amongst your stomach contents, it is physically impossible. See image below:
7) No Vagina or Vulva is the same
All Vulvas and vaginas are different. Some have bigger clitoris's, others have smaller clits. Some have soft and lots of skin and fat around their pelvic bones, others don't. Some have long labia (lips) that hang outside of the parting we call this an 'outie', while other people's labia remain inside the parting, we call this an 'innie'. No vagina or vulva is the right one. We need to celebrate vulva and vagina diversity.
8) Our vaginas clean themselves
Yes, our vaginas clean themselves. Therefore it is important not to use any soap on the inside. Wash with clean water to get rid of any discharge. Discharge is normal as long as it doesn't sting or hurt in any way. Which brings me to my next point:
9) Your vagina can tell you if anything is wrong
If your vagina is having discharge that burns or stings, contact your doctor immediately.
10) Take a mirror to it
Do this to inspect what your vagina and vulva looks like. Get to know your genitals. Whether you masturbate your way to knowing your genitals or spend a few minutes a day in front of the mirror with your legs parted.
GET TO KNOW WHAT IS BETWEEN YOUR LEGS.
references: Kylstra, C (2014, October 24); Alice (2015, April 12); Cosmopolitan (2010, April 7)