Health

11 Fascinating Facts About Vaginas

Other than the fact that they literally bring us LIFE.

Posted on

1. Vaginas actually expand during sex.

Instagram: @bedsider / Via instagram.com

Which makes sense if you've ever thought, Oh, there's no way that's fitting up there...and then it did. This process is called vaginal tenting, and it means your vaginal canal literally expands to make penetration more comfortable.

When you're aroused, increased muscle tension actually helps draw the uterus upward, giving you more space to work with, says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., author of The Coregasm Workout. Pretty cool.

2. Your vagina can tell you when you're most fertile.

Instagram: @plannedparenthood / Via instagram.com

If you're not using hormonal birth control, your vagina will actually give you cues when you're ovulating, which is when you're most likely to get pregnant. "You'll notice a huge amount of clear liquid-y type of mucus coming out," says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, an OB-GYN and co-author of V Is for Vagina. "This is secreted mostly by the cervix, partially by the vagina, and may have a slightly different odor than usual."

FYI: If you have a pretty regular 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs around day 14 (14 days after the first day of your period).

3. The vagina basically cleans and regulates itself.

theglossdotcom.tumblr.com

Think of it as a self-cleaning oven. "The vagina is an incredibly balanced ecosystem of bacteria, yeast, and secretions," says Dweck. It's also acidic, with a regular vaginal pH level between 3.8 to 4.5, which is ideal for keeping that balance of bacteria for good vaginal health. Ironically, all those douches and scented wipes can actually throw off that pH balance and make you more prone to infections and irritations.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't keep the outside area — your vulva — clean, but all that takes is some water (if you must use soap, make sure it's a simple, unscented one with very few ingredients). More info on all that here. And if you do notice an unusual odor or discharge or itching, check with your doctor to rule out an infection.

4. Vaginas make their own lube.

Instagram: @look_at_this_pusssy / Via instagram.com

Not many other body parts can say that. When you get aroused, more blood flows to your genitals, which cues you to get wet. That lubrication primarily comes through the vaginal walls, though you also get some wetness from the labia minora and from cervical discharge, says Herbenick.

(Keep in mind that lots of things can affect your ability to lubricate — like birth control, allergy medicines, breastfeeding, and menopause — so don't worry if you need to use store-bought lube, too. Totally normal.)

5. Vaginas and vulvas come in all shapes and sizes.

etsy.com / Via instagram.com

It's not just the vulva (the external area) that varies from person to person. Vaginas can have a little variation, too. Some vaginal canals are longer, some are shorter, some are wider, some are narrower, says Dweck. Regardless, they're all wonderful.

6. Your vagina won't let you lose anything in there.

Instagram: @plannedparenthood / Via instagram.com

At the very back of your vagina is the cervix, which is basically like the doorman at an exclusive club that doesn't let just anybody in. "The size of the cervical opening is very tiny," says Herbenick. You even have to dilate your cervix to insert an IUD, and those things are small.

So what about that search-and-rescue mission you went on for a rogue condom or tampon? Think back to what we said about vaginal tenting: The vagina can expand when aroused, so it's certainly possible that something can get pushed a little out of reach, says Herbenick. But with time and patience you'll get it out. If you're ever worried, your doc can help.

7. There are lots of different places in and around the vagina that can give you pleasure.

Netflix / Via artyucko.tumblr.com

Whether you prefer vaginal penetration, clitoral stimulation, or something totally different, let's celebrate the fact that there are lots of different ways for vaginas to elicit orgasms.

There are thousands of pleasurable nerve endings in the clitoris, which extends far past what you can actually see, says Dweck. There's also erectile tissue on the front vaginal wall (the area usually referred to as the G-spot), says Herbenick. And the labia, vaginal opening, and even the cervix can all feel good for some people, too. So think of the vagina as an amusement park, where you might need to do a few laps and go back again and again to figure out what you like best.

8. You can actually strengthen your vagina.

Cards Against Humanity / Via dollyhardon.tumblr.com

Beast mode: vagina version. The muscles and ligaments that make up your pelvic floor are the ones that support your vagina, uterus, bladder, and rectum. And you can tone them with Kegels (learn how to do them properly here), which can improve your bladder control and your, um, gripping capabilities.

9. Vaginas can get high.

Instagram: @foriapleasure / Via instagram.com

Weed lube is a thing that exists, and it reportedly gets your vagina stoned. Kind of. "The active ingredient in marijuana is naturally absorbed through the vaginal tissue, which is very vascular," says Dweck. Most people report increased sensations around their genitals, rather than actually feeling high, but it makes sense that it may help with ~relaxing~ your vaginal muscles, says Dweck.

10. Vaginas can be created and lengthened through surgery.

Instagram: @mindfully_jackie / Via instagram.com

A neovagina is one that's created through vaginoplasty. One of the most common surgeries is a single-stage penile inversion vaginoplasty, where skin from the shaft of the penis and skin from part of the scrotum are sewn together and inverted to create the neovagina, explains Dr. Kathy Rumer, board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Part of the head of the penis is preserved as a clitoris, along with the neurovascular bundle that makes this area super sensitive and involved in arousal.

After a week, the patient is put on a dilation schedule to lengthen the neovaginal canal, which can typically lengthen to about 6 inches or more in depth and 1½–2 inches in diameter. Since the neovagina is made of skin rather than mucosal tissue, it won't self-lubricate the way vaginas do, so lube during intercourse is key. "I tell patients neovaginas are like snowflakes," says Rumer. "They're all going to be very similar, but also very unique to you."

11. Vaginas can allow a literal human to pass through it, and then bounce back like a champ.

etsy.com / Via etsy.com

Most of what happens during childbirth is facilitated by uterine contractions, which help push the baby through the vagina, explains Dweck. But, to be fair, those flexible tissues in the vagina also deserve a medal for their part.

"The wonder of childbirth to me is that the vagina itself eventually does go back to your pre-pregnancy size," says Herbenick. Research shows that there's really no significant difference in vaginal size after you've given birth. "The only part that's really different for women who have had vaginal birth is the appearance of the opening," says Herbenick. But fear not: Your vaginal canal is pretty much the same even after an actual human makes its way through it.

In conclusion: Vaginas are epic.

Comedy Central / Via giantmonster.tumblr.com

"I just would love in my lifetime to see the taboo and the negative connotation from the word 'vagina' go away," says Dweck. "I don't feel like the organ gets all the credit it's really due!"

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss