Do you know your vaginal angle? Knowing your body literally like the back of your hand happens gradually, decade after decade. We all started somewhere when we learned about our vaginas…. Correctly. It might have been in middle school during sex-ed or when you flipped through your first few Cosmopolitan magazines. Some of us got the “birds and the bees” talk, even at an age where it was gross to think about. It is not taboo to talk about vaginas, you are encouraged to ask questions, and it’s ok if you don’t know everything about your lady bits. Here are 10 things a woman needs to know about her vagina.
1. We Should be Using the Term ‘Vulva’ Instead of Vagina
The term “vagina” is often used to refer to the external female genitalia, which is wrong. The vagina is the elastic, muscular canal that connects the vulva to the cervix and uterus. This means that we wash our vulva, not our vagina; we insert tampons in our vagina and not our vulva. After doing a little bit of general public research, many people opt for the term “pussy” to include both the vagina and the vulva.
2. The Vagina is Positioned at a 130-Degree Angle
It’s not like an upright shot to your uterus. It’s more backward and up, leaving room for the organs in front of it. When you insert a tampon, for example, you need to do so at an angle. Also, this angle is why certain sex positions feel better, too.
The vagina is an elastic, muscular tube about 7.5–9 cm long, located between the bladder and rectum in the pelvis. It consists of several parts:
- Upper two-thirds of the vagina: This part of the vagina is relatively narrow and surrounded by the cervix and uterus.
- There is a surgery where the uterus is the area that is removed during a vaginal hysterectomy. The benefits of vaginal hysterectomy include reduced pain, quick recovery, faster return to work, lower expenses, and decreased morbidity.
- The lower third of the vagina: This part of the vagina is broader and more flexible and is the part that is penetrated during sexual intercourse.
- Vaginal opening: This is the external opening of the vagina, which is covered by the labia minora and majora.
- Hymen: This is a membrane that partially covers the distal opening of the vagina. The hymen can be stretched or torn during sexual activity, but it does not “break” or disappear altogether.
- The uterus’s lower part (the cervix) is connected to the sacrum (the bottom of the spine) by the strong and supportive uterosacral ligament. This ligament is an important part of the network of muscles and ligaments that protect and support the pelvic organs.
4. Being Loose or Blown-Out Isn’t A Thing
Having a petite body, a voluptuous body, having birthed 3 kids or no kids, there is no direct or long-lasting effect on the width of your vaginal canal. Back in the day, being told you were loose was like a derogatory statement. The reality is that your vagina does relax, lubes itself up, and welcomes its guest. If a woman’s vagina is tight and/or not lubricating itself during arousal, it’s a good sign that the woman isn’t really being aroused at all.
5. Vaginal Angle Becomes Flatter Over Time
Knowing that your vaginal wall can contract and expand is somewhat like your skin. They both have the elasticity to be able to comfortably stretch and snap back to shape. Again, somewhat like your skin, this “snap back” tends to lose its snap as you age. During menopause, some women experience dryness, which can have an impact on sexual pleasure.
Due to the reduced estrogen levels, the vaginal tissue may become less elastic and dry. The vagina typically has wrinkles known as rugae, which indicate moisture and the ability of the tissue to stretch. However, these wrinkles tend to flatten out during menopause due to the lack of moisture.
6. Functions of the Vagina
The vagina has three main functions:
Sexual intercourse: A vagina is a welcoming home for penetrable items.
Menstruation: It provides a passageway for blood and mucosal tissue from the uterus during a woman’s monthly period. The vagina can stretch to accommodate menstrual products like tampons and menstrual cups.
Parturition: It serves as a passageway or ‘vaginal vault’ for childbirth. The vagina will stretch to accommodate the baby’s head and body during delivery.
7. Purpose of Pubic Hair
Now ladies, let’s not suggest that we bring back the 70s bush, ok? But being completely bald down there isn’t the best way to keep a healthy vagina. Just like the little hairs in our nose, the pubic hair is meant to shield away unwanted bacteria, dirt, sand, whatever is in the ocean water, etc. Another main purpose of pubic hair is to add a little barrier between the friction coming from skin-to-skin contact during sex. The hair our body instinctively produces to keep us warm just happens to grow… everywhere. If you think that having pubic hair is gross and unclean, it’s actually the exact opposite.
8. Similarity Between a Penis and a Clitoris
We aren’t comparing apples to oranges here. We all know that the clitoris is a highly sensitive, erogenous zone that contains more nerve endings than any other part of the female body. It is similar to the penis in terms of sensitivity and arousal. Plus the clitoris has glans, and its own foreskin (the clitoral hood). Like the penis, the clitoris can become erect during sexual arousal. But did you know that a woman’s clitoris has only single purpose? Pleasure, that’s it; it contributes nothing else other than pure pleasure.
9. Vaginal Farts Are a Real Thing… Kinda
Vaginal farts, or “queefs,” occur when air is trapped inside the vagina and released. This can happen during activities like sexual intercourse or exercise. Many different variables come into play when this happens. It can be something simple as your pelvic floor being too tight and causing a suction type situation, or your pelvic floor can be too weak, causing air to get trapped and released during penetration.
Since there is no actual methane gas (like a butt fart) involved and just air that comes with some sort of poot noise. Don’t let a queef embarrass you or ruin the mood, just switch positions. It’s literally an armpit fart.
10. Vaginal Discharge Changes
If you have never noticed some sort of sauce in your underwear, you’d be lying. This is your vagina letting you know, “Hey! I am healthy and just cleaned the house”. This can happen more or less frequently in others, so don’t try to compare your vagina’s cleaning habits to anyone else. There are also many colors, consistencies, and even smells of your discharge which will change in response to hormonal changes, sexual activity, and certain medications.
Q: Can I lose something in my vagina?
A: No, it is impossible for a menstrual cup or tampon to move up through the uterus and into the abdomen. The cervix acts as a gatekeeper at the top of the vagina, with an opening so small that it can only pass fluids. However, objects like sex toys or foreign bodies can become lodged in the vagina, which may require medical attention to remove.
Q: How can I keep my vagina healthy?
A: To maintain good vaginal health, practice proper hygiene, avoid douching, wear breathable underwear, and have regular check-ups with a healthcare provider. It’s also important to practice safe sex and to use lubrication during sexual activity if needed.
Q: Is it normal for my vulva to look different from others?
A: Yes, everyone’s vulva looks a little different, but they’re all made up of the same basic parts. Labia can be short or long, wrinkled or smooth, and one lip may be longer than the other. It’s important to remember that there is no “normal” or “ideal” vulva, and that all vulvas are beautiful and unique.
Understanding the anatomy and functions of the vagina and vulva is essential for maintaining good reproductive and sexual health. By being informed about your body, you can make better decisions regarding your well-being and feel more confident in your skin. If you have any concerns or questions about your vaginal health, don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider.