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Sex + Relationships

6 Things You Never Learned About Vaginas in Sex Ed

Before I blow your mind with amazing things you never learned about vaginas, I want to get one thing straight. Although this article was written in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, having a vagina is not the definition of womanhood, nor should it be. Being a woman is about so much more than what’s between your legs, which oddly enough is why I’ve elected to talk about vaginas today. Although there is so much about vaginas that are fascinating, and they are part of an amazing system that literally creates new life, we aren’t taught many of the things that make the vagina extraordinary. This is because, historically, women’s sexuality was stigmatized in a way that men’s was not, and women were expected to be sexually innocent in a way that men were not. Although one would think we’ve progressed past that, society still doesn’t think there’s a need for people to know the amazing things that 50% of the world’s population can do with their bodies. So, in honor of all of the people out there who do not conform with the cis male norm, and in honor of the true spirit of International Women’s Day, here are six facts about vaginas that you never learned in sex ed.

 

1. The clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis.

Of course, my first fact had to be about the clitoris. Not only is the clitoris a ridiculously fun word to say, but the clitoris is also just ridiculously fun. Probably because this sensitive body part has 8,000 nerve endings, compared to the mere 4,000 nerve endings in the penis. It’s no wonder that clitoral stimulation can result in mind-blowing orgasms in a way that vaginal penetration on its own simply cannot. In fact, g-spot stimulation is just sneaky clitoral stimulation in disguise, probably why that’s also a real orgasm hot spot. It’s also no wonder that many people find direct clitoral stimulation uncomfortable with such a large number of concentrated nerve endings.

2. Vaginas get deeper when turned on.

Yep. You read that right. The average vagina is usually about 3-6 inches in length, but when horny, the top part of the vagina naturally expands to make extra room for penetration. Weirdly, this also causes the cervix and the uterus to move deeper into the body. I try not to think about this fact too much, because while logically I understand there’s got to be some wiggle room in there (Babies=exhibit A), it’s hard to picture your insides shifting around as a regular occurrence.

3. Vaginal weightlifting is a thing.

Did you know that vaginas can lift up to 30lbs? Currently, Tatyana Kozhevnikova holds the Guinness World Record for having the world’s strongest vagina capable of lifting 31lbs. Takes the kegel exercise to a whole new level, right? This being said, some sex therapists swear by vaginal weightlifting as the key to great sex that feels better, last longer, and ends with a more powerful orgasm. Having a hard time picturing it? Basically, an anchor is inserted into the vagina and is then attached to weight on the floor by a string. The rest is plain kegel exercises but on steroids.

4. Vaginas can change color.

Yep. You read that one right too. When turned on, blood rushes to the vulva causing it to change color and become darker. This same phenomenon happens to erect penises as well, which are much darker in color than flaccid ones. Since most people don’t know what their vaginas look like for sure, horny or otherwise, many people don’t know that vulvas do the exact same thing as penises when horny. In fact, some vulvas even become engorged when turned on because of the extra blood in the area.

5. The exposed part of the clitoris is just the tip.

As previously acknowledged, the clitoris has a mind-boggling 8,000 nerve endings, and they can’t all fit in just the tip. The clitoris is actually a nearly 10cm long system of nerves that more or less drapes over the internal part of the vagina and tapers off into four prongs. Although the exposed part is notoriously hard to find, internally it would be impossible to overlook. This part of the clitoris is why so many people find stimulation of the vagina’s upper wall so pleasurable because it’s actually clitoral nerves that are getting indirect stimulation, resulting in the infamous g-spot orgasm.  

6. Vaginas are self-cleaning.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles on sexual health, you know this one because I talk about it a lot. VAGINAS CLEAN THEMSELVES! Scream it from the rooftops. Vaginas clean themselves! Vaginas have a natural pH as a result of the friendly bacteria that work there round the clock to help clean the house. The self-cleaning process results in two noticeable and often bothersome things about vaginas for many people: the smell and the discharge. Both of these things are super normal and just part of keeping the system healthy. Having clear or whitish discharge with a slightly sour odor at the end of the day is perfectly normal. If you have a vagina, the final note on the self-cleaning thing is as follows:

DO- learn what is normal for your vagina so that if there is something off, you’ll know to see a doctor.

DON’T- douche or use products (including pads and tampons!) with fragrance. Just don’t do it. It disrupts the pH of the vagina and therefore the natural cleaning system, and will likely make any odor you might be trying to cover up even worse.

BONUS: Periods are worse in cold weather.

I just knew that something about living in Hawaii made me happier overall, and it's probably because my cramps aren’t so bad here. During the winter months, periods tend to be heavier and last longer resulting in more uncomfortable cramps. And it really is the cold, not the seasons, as this is also the case for people living in cold climates overall. It can even make PMS-related mood swings worse. Although nobody is quite sure why, the going theory is that people in colder climates get less vitamin D from lack of sun exposure, which also reduces dopamine. Dopamine is also released during orgasm, which is why orgasms have also been known to help with menstrual cramps.

 

So there it is, six facts about vaginas that you were never taught in sex ed. Did you know any already? If you did, congrats! If not, you’re not alone. Most people make it through sex ed and beyond never knowing the cool things vaginas do all the time. My hope moving forward from this International Women’s Day is that the future of sex ed in this country is a more comprehensive and inclusive one.

Happy International Women’s Day to every one of you! Make sure to tell a woman in your life how powerful and fierce you think she is.

My name is Lauren, I'm currently a senior at the University of Hawaii at Manoa double majoring in Chinese and communications, I'm also a very passionate Planned Parenthood volunteer/intern. In my free time I like to dance salsa and read books on the beach.
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