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Vaginas and Vulvas 101.

Vaginas. They are so mystical and incredible with their abilities. Vaginas have the ability to take a penis of any length, give birth, menstruate, and are affected by so many things in a woman’s life such as childbirth, hormonal changes, and even sexual activity. The anatomy of a vagina owner is complex and intense, and the beauty that is a vulva is truly underappreciated.

So, you think you know what a vagina is?

If you’re like many, you call anything between the legs a vulva. The entire female genital area is not just the vagina. The female genital area consists of many parts- from the vulva, which is the external portion between the legs, the glans clitoris, the labia, the opening of the vulva and urethra, and the surrounding area! The vagina is just the tube that connects the vulva and cervix. This tube is what connects the uterus and what babies go through when giving birth. It’s also what menstrual blood comes out of. The vagina is the tube that penises, sex toys, condoms, and tampons enter as well. During sex, the vagina is what allows ejaculation to enter the uterus through the cervix. All of these different things make up a woman’s anatomy and calling them all a vagina is a disservice to actual vagina owners and the beauties of this mystical part of the body’s anatomy.

The vagina’s anatomy.

It’s crazy that the vagina is not only able to pass a baby through it, but also hold a small tampon in place. The vagina is a tube, yes, but it has muscles and walls. When the vagina is not aroused, the walls of the vulva are flattened by pressure and organs in the pelvis. They often make a shape like a H or W, that is caused by the vaginal canal or vaginal lumen. The side of the vagina has support and pressure, which keeps a tampon in place when you are menstruating.  The walls of the vagina are also textured, with folds that are called rugae. These allow the vagina to stretch when there is pressure, like an accordion, such as during sex or while giving birth. There are many layers to the vagina of different kinds of tissue, such as mucosal tissue (like what’s in your mouth), muscle, collagen, and fibers that help to give the vagina structure. These also allow it to stretch. There are fluids that are released that help keep the area wet, and even more released during sexual arousal, which help lubricate it. So, all of these different things inside of the vulva are what actually comprise it! It’s incredible to learn about the vagina’s anatomy.

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Does your vulva age?

The short answer to that question is absolutely. The average vagina has a bit of a curve, and there’s no right or wrong size for a vagina. Everybody is different, creating a wide variety of vagina sizes. Your vagina is affected by menstruation, menopause, and etc. It can also be affected during pregnancy due to hormonal levels fluctuating. This can change the color of your vulva. During pregnancy, the tissue begins to relax in preparation for childbirth. After you give birth, about 2-4 months to be precise, the vagina will return to its pre-childbirth size typically. Every one’s healing time is different, and there is no right or wrong time frame.

As you age, your vagina also becomes more relaxed, and may become wider. This is often referred to as looseness. However, “tightness” and “looseness” actually have more to do with your pelvic floor muscles. You can easily exercise these to help with incontinence and sexual satisfaction. Kegel balls are widely sold to assist in this.

Once you go through menopause, your hormone levels change as well, and many women experience vaginal dryness. This can cause uncomfortable sex, as the walls are thinner, but lubricants are sold to assist with this problem. Certain forms of medications can also be administered vaginally, since there are mucosal walls that allow for easy penetration.

The vulva also changes during your menstrual cycle. 

The vagina also changes in response to hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. Around the time that you are mid-cycle, which is typically when estrogen is highest, your vaginal tissue becomes thicker and fuller.

The vagina changes frequently when your hormones fluctuate. When estrogen is the highest, mid cycle, your vaginal tissues are much thicker and fuller than at other times. Your cervix, which is at the top of the vulva, will change shape slightly. During the fertile time frame, you’ll notice the cervix seems to move. Before (and after) the most fertile time of your cycle, the cervix is lower in the vagina. During the very fertile window, the hole of the cervix is more open to allow sperm to enter the uterus. This assists in egg fertilization. Your body is constantly going through changes to prepare you for childbirth, which is absolutely incredible. You may even notice during your most fertile time that you are more lubricated and aroused much easier.

The vagina during sex.

During sexual activity, the vagina typically increases blood flow when aroused. This helps to produce arousal fluid and keep you lubricated for sexual activity. It also expands and widens to allow for the entrance of a penis. The cervix will move upwards. The vagina allows lubrication to enjoy pleasure from sexual activity, and the folds, or rugae, create a very pleasurable and intense feeling for your partner. Again, some women feel much more aroused during their fertile window, and your partner may find sex during this time even more pleasurable since you are so lubricated and ready. Your body also releases pheromones to attract your partner.

It’s important to remember that the vagina changes so frequently throughout a woman’s life and is incredible with its abilities and capabilities. Don’t be ashamed of it! If you are a culva owner, remember, that thing works wonders! Own the incredible anatomy that you have and be proud at what your body is able to do.

 

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