Something interesting happened last week. I wrote this blog about the vagina and send it to my husband/editor. He said it made him nauseous and decided to edit the Ebola story instead. What happened to our world that we prefer to read about the agonizing deaths of thousands of people instead of reading about a little vaginal discharge?
This week there wasn’t a second option though. Let’s hear what you think!
Oh, the vagina. What a wonderful thing to have. But sometimes it’s not. Half of the population has one but somehow, we are afraid to discuss this very common organ. Better to ask someone how they are recovering from a brain seizure, to explain the pain of kidney stones or to share that you have fungal infection of the foot, then to ask about any kind of infection concerning the vagina. 49,6% of the world population knows about, but rarely talks about. Many of the other 50,4% in the world think they know about and only talk about it platitudes. Let’s share some truths about the vagina: sometimes things get smelly, itchy, red, hairy, floppy, tight, wider, wet or dry. You never know what will happen tomorrow.
There, I’ve said it. Now continue and break some taboo’s!
Act of Pheromones
All grown up women have pubic hair. All of them. Yes, some are enrolled in the tiring fight against hair, shaving, waxing or whatever. But it always comes back. Why do we have it? Pubic hair is said to have two functions. The first is to cause less friction during the “physical act of love” (Friends quote, sorry), the second assumption is that the hair makes sure all the lovely smelling pheromones are nicely distributed to the environment, especially future sexual partners.
A recent study by the way revealed that women who shave all their pubic hair have more risk of STD’s then with pubic hair, implying a protective function. I think this has more to do with the idea that a bald vagina is more likely to be found in single woman with multiple sexual partners. But this could be pure speculation.
All women have two sets of labia. From the day they were born. Two outer labia, and two, more floppy, inner ones. This labia issue is a big thing nowadays. The outer labia, everyone is cool with, but those inner ones… Some cultures encourage girls to pull these labia frequently to increase the floppiness as it is considered beautiful.
In Western countries we have a different labia fashion sense. Influenced by the porn movies we think that any asymmetry or floppiness down there is strange and should be resolved by surgically “correcting” this mistake. That is so stupid. As a famous philosopher once said: “different people, different pussies, especially the men”. Can we please agree that every woman looks different down there and also that there are NO mistakes. Stop cutting up healthy women please!
In the gland scheme of things
Located just in the top of the vagina where the two inner labia meet is a little – for some women bigger, but that’s ok, remember the famous philosopher – nob. That nob is what is left of a possible penis when we were just a fetus and randomness determined whether we would become a boy or a girl, and it turned out to be the latter. That is also why men have nipples.
A woman’s clitoris is just as sensitive as the tip of the penis. But wait, there’s more, at least in most of the penises… A penis consists of two swelling glands. That fill up when aroused and cause the erection. Same for the vagina. Attached to the clitoris are two of these glands that go to either side. When properly aroused – whatever makes you tick ladies, probably not by a man saying ‘doing you wanna?’ – these glands swell and so will the clitoris. Making it easier to find… hint, hint…
Opening up and let go
Further down we first encounter the urethra opening, that is where the pee comes out, and then the actual vagina. It’s the small hole where the penis goes in and a baby head (!) can come out. Amazing right?
In order to keep this opening open and smooth, your vagina makes a discharge. Every woman has vaginal discharge. It’s usually white/transparent, not a strong smell and not buckets full. This discharge is made by the lactobacilli, which is also found in yoghurt and yakult, enjoy your breakfast. The lactobacilli keep the pH of your vagina nice and sour and bacteria unfriendly. Without the discharge you would get bacterial and fungal infections every day. Washing this part with anything other than water will mess up your normal system and increase your risk of infection. Even those “special” soaps are a bad idea. Not needed! You’re not supposed to smell like box full flowers and strawberries down there!
If the discharge gets a color, has a foul smell or different consistency, go see a doctor or a pharmacist. Chances are you have an infection. No worries, it is easily treated. If not treated you get pain, itching, pain during sex, fishy smells and you are more susceptible to STD’s.
Don’t feel ashamed about this. Every doctor has seen young girls and grown up women, itching, nervous and embarrassed, that washed themselves with stuff like lactacid every day and used a vaginal shower after sex. Every doctor heard many of these complaints and are happy to talk about yours and help you.
So there you have it. What have we learned? All women are similar yet somewhat different. Looking like a Pornstar shouldn’t be a goal in life. Water is the best cleaning method for your most precious organ. Oh, and don’t be afraid to discuss these things with your doctor.