The vagina is a beautiful, but oftentimes misunderstood part of the body, and one that tends to be the subject of many myths and rumors when it comes to its inner (and outer) workings. Even those of us who have a vagina are often subject to the same confusion as a result of what truly amounts to vaginal fake news. Can your vagina get loose from "using it too much," you may ask? Is it supposed to look like the vaginas I see in the movies? And for goodness' sake, shouldn't I already know the answers to these questions by now?
Whether you have a vag yourself or you simply love someone who has one (or both!), you've likely asked yourself these, and many other similar questions. Fortunately, I am here to provide you with a list of things to stop believing about your vagina in the new year. I'm declaring right here, right now, that 2018 will be the year you are going to let your vag flag fly, and free it from all those ridiculous and much-too-common stories about everyone's favorite private part.
So go forth and dispel all that misguided information and spread vaginal truth, my friends. Remember, it's always encouraged to ask a pro (aka an OBGYN) a few questions, but hey, if you already have, you can always do a little hands-on research too, if you catch my drift.
1. Your Vulva Is Your Vagina
Whether you have female reproductive organs or not, there is still a very general and common misconception that what is actually your vulva (the inner and outer labia) is your vagina.
In reality, your actual vagina is simply the "tube" that leads to your uterus. And here's a fun fact: The vagina spends most of its time with its walls touching when nothing is inserted.
2. There's Such A Thing As A "Perfect" Vagina
Fine I take it back, there is such a thing as perfect private parts — the ones you've got!
No matter the color, the style of hair, the size of your clitoris or labia, your vulva — it is all utterly perfect as is. While people often worry about whether or not their vagina looks "normal," trust me when I say that all is as it should be. And really, if you are ever worried, take a nice look for yourself with a handheld mirror, and see an OBGYN you trust and like for any questions you might have.
3. You Need To Clean The Inside
Much like the oven in your kitchen, your vagina is a self-cleaning organ. So you can roll your shopping cart right on past the douches, the floral sprays, and fresh wipes in the pharmacy aisle, because the truth is, you're more likely to disrupt the pH level of your vagina when you clean the interior than when you just let it do its own cleansing thing.
If you really want to do something cleansing for your vag, eat some foods that support its well-being, like yogurt and cranberries.
4. The Material Of Your Underwear Doesn't Matter
This is a PSA you might want to read before you take advantage of a Victoria's Secret panties sale. The best thing to wear for your vaginal health is absolutely, positively, 100-percent cotton panties, according to OBGYNs basically everywhere — not a cotton blend, not a polyester thong, but actual cotton underwear. They're breathable, and they help prevent the build-up of moisture, which is what can lead to things like yeast infections.
5. You Can Lose Things Up There
Nope, you can't really manage to do that. While it's possible to get something stuck, theoretically, you aren't going to lose it entirely to the rest of your body. Your vag does not open itself into your tummy, rest assured.
And there are definitely things you can do if it feels like something (a condom, tampon, or heck, one of those jade eggs, perhaps?) has wedged its way into a precarious position and can't easily be taken out.
Step number one? Breathe, and try to relax. Like I said, it can't get stuck up there forever.
6. Your Vagina Gets "Loose" Over Time
In all honesty, it's almost hard to believe just how darn elastic the vagina is. If you're penetrating it with sex toys, penises, fingers, or tampons, for example, it will be just fine, thank you very much. None of those things permanently affect the elasticity of the vagina, whatever that may be.
And may I remind everyone that freaking babies come out of vaginas?! If that's not elasticity at its finest, then I don't know what is.
7. You Should Orgasm When You Have Sex
When it comes to sexual pleasure, there is no "should," other than you should do what feels good for you on an emotional, physical, and yes, even spiritual level.
If you don't orgasm from sex, that's very common, and it doesn't necessarily mean that something isn't right with you or your vagina. Your own pace, and your own personal sexual guidelines to exploration and comfort, are all that matter in the end.
8. You're Supposed To Smell Like Flowers And Lollipops
Your vagina is supposed to smell like your vagina. If you notice that it smells particularly strong or different than it does on any usual day, that might indicate there's an infection and it could be time to see a doc about it. Some people say that what you eat can really affect and shift the scent down there, so if that's something that interests you, give it a shot!
Otherwise, try to embrace your natural scent. It's what makes you you!
9. Vaginal Discharge Is "Gross" Or Abnormal In Some Way
Nope! Discharge is completely normal. It's actually a sign that everything is working well down there, and oftentimes, it's simply indicative of where you're at in your menstrual cycle.
Any other beliefs or fears about the vag? Just do more research, friend, and all hail this wonderful and truly not so mysterious organ.