When it comes to the vulva and the vagina, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Let’s start with how many people call the vulva a vagina. *facepalm*
In fact, there is so much the vast majority of people don’t know about female anatomy that it’s alarming.
If you don’t know how your own body works (or the parts you have), how are you supposed to feel good about your vulva? Instead of being ashamed of our beautiful bodies, let’s learn about them and learn to love them. They deserve it! The vulva is gorgeous.
Here are 11 amazing vulva facts that will blow your mind.
1. A vagina and vulva are two parts of the same whole.
Vagina is arguably the most misused word in the English language. Since the vagina is where a penis goes during intercourse and is therefore the most important part of male orgasm, people typically refer to the female genitals as the vagina.
It is not called the vagina. The vagina refers exclusively to the inner canal that reaches up to the cervix.
The clitoris, labia, mons pubis, and the rest of the outer portion of the female genitals, is called the vulva. It’s important that we work to change the cultural lexicon and call a vulva a vulva. It’s a key component in eliminating shame around female sexuality.
2. The outer lips are the same as the scrotum in men.
Female and male anatomy is actually quite similar and many parts of the vulva (including the clitoris!) is analogous to male genitals … or, as we like to say, the male genitals are analogous to female genitals. The penis and clit? The same.
Did you know that the outer lips of your labia (the labia majora) are the same as the male scrotum? The outer lips protect the inner parts of the vulva in the same way the scrotum protects the testes.
3. The clitoris is huuuge.
The clitoris is much larger than the little bud on the top of the vulva (the glands). The glans clitoris is about 0.5 to 2 cm.
The internal clitoris is comprised of bulbous internal extensions (the vestibular bulbs) and wings on either side (the corpus cavernosum). The entire clitoris extends to 5 inches in some women. This is the same as an average penis.
4. The clitoris has almost 8,000 nerve endings.
Many experts say that the clitoris has more nerve endings than any other part of the human body. While the clitoris extends inside the body, the majority of the nerve endings are clustered in the glans clitoris, the part you can see on the outside of the vulva.
When aroused, the clitoris expands to nearly 200 percent its normal size. The labia can also flush to a dark pink or red.
5. The vaginal canal is not super long.
When the vagina is not aroused, the walls lie flat against each other. The vaginal canal is only about 3 to 4 inches in length.
When the vagina is aroused it expands to nearly 6 or 7 inches to accommodate a finger or penis. It also naturally lubricates. If you rush into intercourse before being properly aroused, sex can be painful and even cause bleeding.
6. Women have wet dreams too.
Women are able to become aroused during sleep and even orgasm. It’s not just guys who have wet dreams. Nocturnal emissions are genderless.
7. You don’t need to clean a vagina.
The vagina is totally self-cleaning organ. It expels toxins and bacteria all on its own. You should never wash it with soap, especially not antibacterial soap. That is a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis waiting to happen.
Simply rinse the inner part of the vulva with warm water. Do not mess with the vagina or vulva. If you wash it, it will throw off the natural ecosystem and you’ll wind up with a foul odor due to infection.
8. Everyone has the anatomical parts to squirt, but not every woman does.
Every woman has the Skene's Glands. This gland is located near the urethral sponge (the area where the G-spot is located).
When stimulated, the Skene's Glands can expel a prostate-like alkaline fluid. Some women squirt during this kind of stimulation, but many don’t. It’s unclear why some women squirt and others don’t, but it’s just a fact of life. Some women like internal stimulation and some don’t.
9. The vast majority of women require clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm.
Only 25 percent of women can have an orgasm through intercourse alone. And this stat does not consider women who stimulate their clitoris during intercourse. It’s a bit misleading. So, really, it’s about 95 percent of women who require this kind of stimulation to come.
This is a starting statistic and shows the pleasure gap in full color. The pleasure gap is a social construct and it needs to be done away with … yesterday. As soon as we choose to value female pleasure as equal to that of men, the pleasure gap will evaporate.
10. A loose vagina is not a thing.
Nothing is going to make a vagina “looser.” No amount of sex, sexual partners, or sex toys is ever going to cause stretching. This is a huge lie we’ve been fed to make us “chaste.” It is a perfect example of the purity myth.
The vagina is a muscle. It can stretch to accommodate a baby’s head and return to its normal size. The only thing that makes a vagina looser is gravity and time. Just like every other muscle in the body.
11. No vulva is the same.
All vulvas are different. They come in different shapes sizes and colors. Some labia are the same length, and many women have one lip that is longer the other. No vulva is better than any other. They are unique, just like you!