Ahhh, the vagina, or how I like to refer to it, Earth’s most unexplored and fascinating cave.
Elusive yet straightforward like the people who have them. I use the term unexplored because unlike it’s counterpart, the penis, there has been very little research done on it.
Nevertheless, times are changing, so I am going to teach you the basics that you were most likely never taught when you were younger.
Here we will cover everything ranging from anatomy to how to keep her/it/they happy.
Are you ready?
Anatomy of the Vulva & Vagina
This section is going to be a quick anatomy lesson on the external and internal organs.
As a result, I will not go in-depth because there is no exam at the end of this. I just want you to get familiar with your equipment.
If you want more information, I recommend reading this article by Planned Parenthood (they also have a diagram).
Vulva (External Parts)
This is what most people are referring to when they say ‘vagina.’ The vulva consists of the external genitalia, aka, everything you see if you held up a mirror to your vagina.
Labia: The inner and outer lips around the vaginal opening.
- Outer Lips (Labia Majora): Usually thicker and covered in pubic hair.
- Inner Lips (Labia Minora): The inner lips begin at the clitoris and stop under the opening of the vagina.
Clitoris: Sometimes hiding under the clitoral hood, it’s located at the top of the vulva where your labia minora (inner lips) meet. With over 8,000 nerve endings, the clit is solely there for the pleasure of its owner.
Urethra Opening: Positioned right under the clit, this is the hole where you pee out of.
Vaginal Opening: Located beneath the urethral opening, this is where the magic happens; period blood exits, babies are born, and penises, dildos, fingers, and tampons can be inserted.
Anus: As Tiffany Haddish once said, this is your booty hole. It opens to your rectum and, like the clit has many nerve endings (aka why people like anal sex).
Mons Pubis: This is the cushion for the pushin’ or more accurately described as the “fleshy mound above your vulva” that becomes disguised under a bush of pubic hair once you hit puberty.
Reproductive Organs (Internal Parts)
Vagina: A self-cleaning tube that connects your vulva to your cervix and uterus. It is stretchy and expands as you become aroused. This is where period blood flows down out of, tampons chill, and where various toys go for pleasure. Think of it as the Lincoln Tunnel of your anatomy.
Cervix: Sitting in the middle between the vagina and uterus is the cervix. This donut-hole-shaped organ divides the vaginal canal from the rest of the uterus. This way things don’t magically become ‘lost.’
Uterus: This muscle is right below your belly button. At the size of a small fist it is the first home to many babies.
Fallopian Tubes: These are two narrow tubes on either side of the uterus. Their job is to carry the egg in your ovaries to your uterus.
Ovaries: These babies are on either side of the uterus, and they store potential babies (eggs). The ovaries also produce hormones such as estrogen to control your periods. Once you hit puberty, every month, an egg releases causing you have your period.
Fimbriae: Finger-like organs that help push the egg into your fallopian tube from the ovary.
Bartholin’s glands: Help lubricate the vagina as you become aroused.
Skene’s glands: Release fluid during female ejaculation.
Hymen: A thin tissue that stretches across the vaginal opening that is used by the patriarchy to oppress women’s sexuality.
G-Spot: Located on the front side (towards the belly button) of your vagina, it enlarges when you get turned on.
The pH of Your Vagina
If you are a vulva-owner, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “don’t use that, it’ll fuck with your pH.” However, if you are anything like me, you don’t fully understand what that means.
So I am going to try to explain it.
In its simplest form, “pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance” is on a scale of 0 to 14. With anything below 7 being acidic and anything above 7 being basic (alkaline).
Since your vagina has a pH, depending on how basic or acidic it is can determine how healthy it is.
A “normal” vagina’s pH level can fluctuate between 3.8 and 4.5 in a person’s lifetime. This means that your vagina is very acidic, which is a glorious thing because
Messing Up Your Vaginal pH
As some of us know, the vagina is a high maintenance machine that can be thrown off by almost anything. Including but not limited too
- Douching: DO NOT CLEAN YOUR VAGINAL CANAL! This motivates bad bacteria to grow and increase your vaginal pH, leading to a variety of infections.
- Antibiotics: Great technology for killing bacteria. The problem is that it kills both good and bad bacteria. As you know, you need some good bacteria to keep your pH happy.
- Unprotected Sex: Their dick/fingers may not have been as clean as they swore it was, or maybe they were fucking around with someone else. Either way, your pH can be fucked. Also, semen is more alkaline, which encourages the growth of certain bacteria in your vagina, causing you to have some itchy or fishy issues.
As you read on, I’ll be covering more things that could throw off your pH, so stay tuned.
The Snowflakes of Female Anatomy
Like the fingerprints on your hands, your vulva is unique to you—no two vulva’s look quite alike.
This means that there is no “normal” vulva. They all come in different sizes and colors and are all equally beautiful.
Since society doesn’t teach us about vulvas and how different they can vary from one to the next, I will go over the seven most common types of vulvas.
7 Most Common Types of Vulvas
So beginning in no particular order, we have the
Asymmetrical Inner Lips: This is where one labia minora (inner lip) is longer or thicker than the other, and it hangs past the labia majora (outer lip).
Curved Outer Lips: Described as an upside-down horseshoe, this type of vulva has the labia majora curve round, exposing the labia minora in the front but then meeting evenly at the end. The labia minora may hang lower than your labia majora.
Prominent Inner Lips (Most Common): This is the most common type of vulva (despite what porn tells you). The inner lips (Labia minora) are longer than the outer lips (labia majora). The difference in length can either be subtle or more noticeable, depending on the owner.
Prominent Outer Lips: The outer lips hang lower on your vulva, and the skin can either be “thick and puffy or thin and a bit loose.”
Small Closed Lips (Least Common): Made standard by porn and the media, this type of vulva is actually the least common. The inner lips (labia minora) are entirely hidden and contained by the outer lips (labia majora), which tend to rest up against the pubic bone.
Small Open Lips: The outer lips are apart, exposing the inner lips.
Visible Inner Lips: The labia minora is exposed throughout the entire length of the labia majora. Both sets of lips are typically the same size.
P.S. if you feel bad or out of touch for not knowing this being a vulva-owner yourself, don’t be. It wasn’t until last year that I learned about this, and it was my FWB who explained it to me… in grave detail.
What Is Normal Or Abnormal For The Vagina?
Now that we know that all vulvas are like snowflakes, with no two being the same, let’s talk about what is normal or abnormal.
Keep in mind; everything is usually normal unless it is causing literal physical discomfort, interfering with your day-to-day activities, or accompanied by burning, itching, or a foul smell.
This makes you feel wet during the day or like you got your period when you know, it’s too early.
This is super normal and part of your vagina’s cleaning process (because she/they/it is self-cleaning).
Color and consistency define discharge. It can range from a clear, white consistency to brown after your period. The brown color is due to old blood hanging out in the uterus.
Its color and consistency can change depending on many factors such as your menstrual cycle, the type of birth control you use, or even your sexual activity.
Discharge is nothing to worry about unless it has a
- Cottage cheese-like consistency
- Gray or green color
- A fishy, rotting odor
Other than that, it’s okay, and your vagina is doing its job.
Yes, your vulva has its very own color palette!
For example, the labia majora can be one color while your labia minora is a different color, and your clitoris can be another color.
As you go through different life stages, your vulva changes with you.
Like your signature perfume, your vagina has its signature scent that, once again, is unique to you. And no, it is not supposed to smell like fucking daisies and sunshine.
Factors such as diet and the types of soaps you use can impact your vaginal smell.
Furthermore, do not believe anyone when they say that your vagina is supposed to smell like flowers.
They are wrong. Feminine hygiene products can do more harm than good.
They can throw off your pH, disrupt your (good) bacteria, and give you a host of problems that are not fun to deal with.
REMINDER: THE VAGINA IS SELF-CLEANING
All you need to do is clean your vulva with water and unscented soap.
But if it smells like something has died, then go to your doctor because a cheap feminine wash will not fix that.
Like the stubborn acne you once had as a teenager on your face, you can get on your vulva and vaginal opening.
I know, having a vulva is fucking fantastic, right?
Like the rest of your body, your vulva has numerous glands such as sweat glands and the Bartholin’s glands that, like the pores of your face, can get clogged, leading to the occasional pimple, cyst, or ingrown hair.
On the bright side, like the zits on your face, these tend to go away without medical intervention.
But keep an eye out because not all bumps are just pimples. They could be a sign of STIs such as herpes or HPV.
If the bumps are painful, appear in clusters, and are accompanied by a burning or itching sensation, see a doctor.
Let’s face it; pubic hair gets a bad rap. It’s been said that it looks disgusting, and people who have it are unhygienic because it can hold on to smells and other things.
But actually, pubic hair plays a significant role in your vulva health.
It stops dirt, oils, and bacteria from entering your vaginal canal, helping protect your vagina from STIs, UTIs, and yeast infections.
But if the 70’s bush is not your style, then feel free to groom. While there are multiple ways to groom (waxing, shaving, laser), I recommend that you only trim.
This is because waxing and shaving create tiny wounds that make you vulnerable to infections such as UTIs, vaginitis, yeast infections, folliculitis, boils, abscesses, and more.
It also makes it easier for STIs such as HPV, herpes, syphilis, and HIV to be transmitted if you are sexually active.
Moreover, pubic hair comes in different textures and colors. It can be thick or thin; there could be a lot of it everywhere or a little bit only on your pubic bone.
P.S. It’s natural if the carpet doesn’t match the drapes.
Your pubic hair can change in color, texture, and how much there is as you get older.
But if you start losing pubic hair or growing it in unusual places, see your doctor because it could be a symptom of an onsetting medical condition.
Itching is a borderline issue.
For instance, if your vulva is itching because it’s been a long day and you need a shower, then it’s okay. If it is itching because you used a razor to shave after I specifically told you not to, then that’s okay. If you used a different soap or your underwear is too tight, it’s okay!
But if it’s itching in the vaginal canal and there is a weird-ass smell, then you might want to visit your local pharmacy or call your doctor cause you may have a yeast infection.
Other Things That Impact Your Vaginal Health
I know we briefly talked about what things can upset your vaginal pH, but guess what? There’s more.
No, I am not talking about the fact that you have yet to take a shower this week because you’ve been too depressed.
I am talking about how the chemical imbalance of depression can change your vagina’s acidity, causing you to have a raging case of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
I include this because it happened to me, and I had to learn about it from TikTok!
I was clinically depressed during college, and for what seemed like six months out of the year, I had BV. I went to my gyno so many times, and she would prescribe me medication that would temporarily work, but then I would get it again.
It wasn’t until I went on SSRI’s and used the Honeypot wipes, did it start to clear up.
Be aware and pay attention to how you feel.
If you want to read more about how depression impacted my sex life, read my article, “How Antidepressants Can Change Your Sex Life.”
Whether it be due to your menstrual cycle or the birth control you are taking, hormones can make your vagina act crazy.
It can make it dry, drop your arousal levels (how turned on you get), or just make it sad.
Yes, your vagina can have allergies.
Whether it be the soap you use, the material of the condom, the fabric of your underwear, or the cum of your partner, your vagina can have allergies that make it turn red, become irritated, or itchy, and say it with me, throw off your pH.
Feminine Hygiene Products
From douches to “feminine” washes, to the tampons that you stick up your vagina for hours on end, to the pads that sit and chill in your underwear;
these “feminine-hygiene products” can impact your vaginal health by throwing off your pH and letting harmful bacteria thrive in a warm, moist environment (which they love).
Please don’t fall for it! It’s a scam. Many of these products are manufactured with chemicals and bleaches that are not vagina-friendly.
Luckily, better products are finally becoming more accessible, so do your research.
How To Keep Your Vagina Happy
At the risk of this post being too long, I will keep this short and sweet!
Yes, a condom allergy is real, but so is a semen allergy. Find a condom brand that you and your vagina like and trust (I like Sustain). The barrier that the condom provides will protect you from STIs, semen, dirty dicks, and babies that will mess with your pH.
After reading over five articles on how to keep your vagina happy and hearing it personally from my gynecologist, I believe this.
Probiotics help with any gut issues you have and help restore a healthy balance of bacteria to your system, which means that your vagina and pH will be happy.
Cleaning Your Vulva
Thanks to evolution, you don’t have to do much in this area. The vagina cleans itself, but if you want to wash your vulva, water and, if you want, some unscented soap is your best bet.
Using anything else will cause issues.
To help you become the best of buds with your vagina, I will teach you how to touch yourself. For medical reasons, of course.
Now, this isn’t the same exam that your gyno performs. This one is just going to help you get used to what your vulva looks like, and if anything changes, you’ll know instantly.
So drop your pants and get the following tools recommended by WebMD:
- A hand-held mirror
- A flashlight
- Wash your hands
Now get in a comfortable position and spread them legs. Using the mirror and the flashlight, get a good look at your vulva.
Notice the color and size of your labia and your clitoris. If you want, you can use your fingers to spread your lips (labia) to see your vaginal opening.
If you want, you can slowly and gently enter a finger into your vagina and feel around. According to WebMD, it will feel like the roof of your mouth, and if you go deep enough, you can feel your cervix, which feels like the tip of your nose.
If you notice any of the following or have any questions, you should consult with your doctor:
- Unusual colors
- Genital Warts
Have A Great OB-GYN
This seems obvious but finding a great doctor who is willing to hear your concerns, consider your feelings, and not slut-shame is no easy feat.
So take the time to find a doctor that you trust and will give you a safe space to talk about your sex life and vaginal health with no shame.
Plus, the regular exams will help make your pussy happy too.
- WebMD|What Is A Vaginal Self-Exam?
- Self|10 ‘Weird’ Worries That Are Actually Present In A Normal Vagina
- Healthline|Everything You Need To Know About Maintaining Your Vaginal pH Balance
- Planned Parenthood| Are My Vulva And Vagina Normal?
- Planned Parenthood|What Are The Parts of The Female Sexual Anatomy?
- Mayo Clinic|Vagina: What’s Normal, What’s Not
- Cosmopolitan|These Are The 7 Different Types of Labias
- TikTokers: @swirl_life & @joshhelfgott