Can sex stretch it out? Is it supposed to have an odour? And why does it feel so freakin’ good when it’s touched and stroked? Our hoo-ha handbook has all the answers plus secrets to staying in top shape down there.
It has more nicknames than possibly any other female body part (sideways smile, anyone?), its own doctor, and the ability to bring you tons of pleasure — not to mention pain, particularly if you plan to have a baby.
Yet the vagina remains a mystery to many. In fact, a Cosmo poll found that more than 60 percent of women say they don’t know a lot about their vadge — which is unfortunate, because a new study reports that chicks who feel confident about their down-there area have more orgasms.
So we’ve put together a list of 15 bits of info to boost your V-zone comfort level.
These are the crucial facts about how it functions, keeping it healthy, and increasing the amount of bliss it brings you.
- IT’S JUST ONE PART OF YOUR DOWN-THERE REGION
Most of us use the word vagina to refer to our private parts.
But technically, the term describes only the narrow canal that runs inside your body from the vulva (the visible area that includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris, and perineum)to the cervix (the lower portion of the uterus).
- VAGINAS GENERALLY LOOK ALIKE
…On the inside, that is. What does vary is the vulva. The clitoris ranges from 1 to 1¼ inches(including the hood), the outer labia can be barely there or a few inches long, and the inner labia, which are reminiscent of butterfly wings, might be hidden or hang past the outer lips. Most women’s labia aren’t perfectly symmetrical — one side is usually bigger than the other.
- THE SURROUNDING AREA OFTEN CAN BE DIFFERENT COLORS
The shade of your southern region isn’t necessarily related to the tone of the rest of your skin. Many light-skinned women have brown or purplish labia, while a darker-hued chick can have a lighter vulva. You also can have different colors in different areas — for example, your labia could be on the darker side yet your perineum could be pale pink.
- ITS WALLS ARE PLEATED
Usually, the walls of the vagina lie compressed against each other.
But when they need to open—to accommodate a tampon or penis—the sides separate and widen, kind of like the way an umbrella opens or a pleated skirt unfolds.
The vagina typically swells from half an inch wide to 2 inches wide. And it can get even bigger — after all, a baby might have to pass through it!
- RELAX — A WELL-HUNG GUY WON’TSTRETCH IT OUT…
As explained above, the vagina is incredibly elastic and can fit a super-size penis — yet it always returns to its usual tightness after sex.
But it might be a different story once you pop out a baby, as some moms say they do feel looser.
You can tighten up by doing certain exercises(see number 7).
- …NOR WILL IT”REVIRGINIZE” IF YOU GO THROUGHA LONG DRY SPELL
There’s a rumor out there that if you find yourself in a no-booty bout, your vagina will become so tight that getting back in the saddle will hurt.
It’s totally untrue. While your vaginal muscles may be tense at first, penetration shouldn’t be painful at all.
- IT BENEFITS FROM REGULAR EXERCISE
Just as working your biceps firms up your arms, working your pubococcygeus muscle — a main muscle of your pubic region — can tone up your vadge.
Besides giving you a tighter grip during sex, it also may make it easier to climax.
Here’s how to exercise your V: Clamp down as if you’re stopping your urine flow, hold for 10seconds, then release. Do2 sets of 10 to 20 a day; you’ll notice a difference in about a month.
- IT’S TEEMING WITH BACTERIA
Don’t get grossed out — they’re the kind that keep bad microorganisms in check so you don’t get an infection.
One of the good bacteria is lactobacilli, also found in yogurt. In fact, some gynos say you can help cure a yeast infection by inserting a tablespoon of plain yogurt with live cultures into your vadge (put some on a tampon, and push it in).
- IT’S SELF-CLEANING
No need to douche or wash the inside — your vagina cleans itself with discharge (yep, that stuff has a function). These cretions flush out cells from the vaginal wall, excess water, and bacteria. The only washing it needs is on the outside between the labial folds and along the perineum (use a mild, scent free soap).
- THE HAIR AROUNDIT ISN’TNECESSARY
Back in caveman times, pubes shielded the vagina from bacteria and trapped odour to attract men. Today, we have clothes to protect us. And as for attracting a guy with your hairy crotch, the opposite may be true: Some guys are turned on by seeing a woman’s bare V.
- ITS SMELL GETS STRONGER DURING YOUR CYCLE
Speaking of scent, every vagina has one. It tends to be acidic before your period and pungent afterward. Your scent also maybe more noticeable post-workout, because of sweat glands, and during sex, thanks to the natural lubrication you produce.
- GETTING IT ON DOES IT GOOD…
Part of the reason sex feels so amazing: Hoo- stimulation, whether or not you reach an O, releases feel-good hormones. Some gynos also say that having an orgasm eases cramps — an awesome reason to hit the sheets with your guy or have solo sex when you have your period.
- …BUT TOO MUCH SEX CAN THROW ITOUT OF WHACK
While regular action can relax you, too much in a short period of time may leave you chafed or inflamed down south or with a urinary-tract infection.
You’re more likely to get a UTI if you do it on top or in missionary, since your guy’s penis is super close to your urethra and can push harmful bacteria in it. No need to give up these poses though; peeing post-sex can keep a UTI at bay.
- DISCHARGE CHANGES THROUGHOUT YOUR CYCLE
Your vadge produces more discharge — up to 2teaspoons a day — during ovulation; it tends to be thinner and clearer at this time. Before your flow, it’s creamier and thicker. If it ever itches, burns, stinks, or looks like cottage cheese, see your gyno.
- THINGS CAN’T GET LOST UP THERE
Your vagina is not a black hole. It’s impossible for anything (like a tampon)to escape into your uterus — the cervix blocks off access.
But a tampon can slip out of reach. If one does, fish it out while squatting and bearing down. If that doesn’t work, make an appointment with your gyno, who will pluck out the tampon quickly and painlessly. Note: Steer clear of putting food, even chocolate syrup or whipped cream, up there. The sugar can lead to an infection.