Being a woman in this society has conditioned us to feel shame regarding our bodies. We have been taught that the act of exploring and getting to know our bodies is a shameful act. Exploring your body and learning to embrace what makes you a woman can be an empowering and liberating experience. Since discussing bodily anatomy has always been shied away from in society, most women aren’t aware of the most important things to know about their own bodies. Knowing your body can help you stay healthy, take care of and enjoy yourself.
It is shocking how little some women know about their own vagina. It is also common for women to feel like there is something “wrong” with their vagina because of this lack of knowledge. A common concern that several women have is that their labia is not “normal” looking. The truth is that the labia majora and minora look different on all bodies. There are several different common types of labias. Some dangle and protrude, some appear small and closed or small and opened. Unfortunately, what is deemed as “normal” for vaginas has been largely defined by porn where vaginas are shown as unnatural.
Another huge misconception about the vagina has to do with the clitoris. When most people think about the clitoris they think about a very small nub-sized structure. The clitoris is actually 3.5 inches in length, it is roughly the same size as a flaccid penis! The clitoris obviously does not appear as large as it is because about four-fifths of it is submerged in the body. It also has about 8,000 nerve endings, making it the highest concentration of nerve endings in the human body. This being said, the clitoris is the center of pleasure for most women. Many women do not climax from vaginal penetration, they only climax clitorally because it is much easier to achieve.
There are also many common myths about vaginas that are just simply not true. One common one is that orgasm can release the body’s natural pain killers. In reality, it’s actually the opposite. Orgasm causes the body to release oxytocin, which is a natural mood booster and can help to relieve pain.
Another common myth is that being wet is tied to sexual arousal. This can be true a lot of the time, but being wet can also be caused by non-consensual physical stimulation. This is important to know for cases of sexual assault.
A topic that is constantly argued about is whether Kegels work or not. Well, guess what! They do. Kegels are awesome for keeping the pelvic floor of your vagina strong. It is a good idea to regularly practice Kegels post childbirth.
Lastly, some very normal and natural things such as boils and discharge can also be bad if not managed. Shaving bumps and boils are very normal, but if they persist and irritate your skin more than usual then you should go see a doctor. Discharge is also more than normal, but it is important to monitor it closely because if it is an odd color or odor that can be a sign of an infection and should be checked out immediately.
It is so easy to learn more about your vagina. You deserve to take care of your body and embrace it for all that it is. Your vagina is such an important part of you so take care of it, you only get one.
Tell us how much you knew about the vagina by tagging us @HerCampusSJSU!