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Everything You Need to Know About Your Vagina

December 22, 2010

Can sex stretch it out? Is it supposed to have an odor? And why does it feel so freakin’ good when it’s touched and stroked? Our hoo-ha handbook has all the answers plus secrets to staying in top shape down there.It has more nicknames than possibly any other female body part (sideways smile, anyone?), its own doctor, and the ability to bring you tons of pleasure — not to mention pain, particularly if you plan to have a baby. Yet the vagina remains a mystery to many. In fact, a Cosmo poll found that more than 60 percent of women say they don’t know a lot about their vadge — which is unfortunate, because a new study reports that chicks who feel confident about their down-there area have more orgasms. So we’ve put together a list of 15 bits of info to boost your V-zone comfort level. These are the crucial facts about how it functions, keeping it healthy, and increasing the amount of bliss it brings you.

1. It’s just one part of your down-there region

Most of us use the word vagina to refer to our private parts. But technically, the term describes only the narrow canal that runs inside your body from the vulva (the visible area that includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris, and perineum) to the cervix (the lower portion of the uterus).

2. Vaginas generally look alike

…On the inside, that is. What does vary is the vulva. The clitoris ranges from 1 to 1¼ inches (including the hood), the outer labia can be barely there or a few inches long, and the inner labia, which are reminiscent of butterfly wings, might be hidden or hang past the outer lips. Most women’s labia aren’t perfectly symmetrical — one side is usually bigger than the other.

3. The surrounding area often can be different colors

The shade of your southern region isn’t necessarily related to the tone of the rest of your skin. Many light-skinned women have brown or purplish labia, while a darker-hued chick can have a lighter vulva. You also can have different colors in different areas — for example, your labia could be on the darker side yet your perineum could be pale pink.

4. Its walls are pleated

Usually, the walls of the vagina lie compressed against each other. But when they need to open— to accommodate a tampon or penis—the sides separate and widen, kind of like the way an umbrella opens or a pleated skirt unfolds. The vagina typically swells from half an inch wide to 2 inches wide. And it can get even bigger — after all, a baby might have to pass through it!

5. Relax — a well-hung guy won’t stretch it out…

As explained above, the vagina is incredibly elastic and can fit a supersize penis — yet it always returns to its usual tightness after sex. But it might be a different story once you pop out a baby, as some moms say they do feel looser. You can tighten up by doing certain exercises (see number 7).

6. …Nor will it “revirginize” if you go through a long dry spell

There’s a rumor out there that if you find yourself in a no-booty bout, your vagina will become so tight that getting back in the saddle will hurt. It’s totally untrue. While your vaginal muscles may be tense at first, penetration shouldn’t be painful at all.

7. It benefits from regular exercise

Just as working your biceps firms up your arms, working your pubococcygeus muscle — a main muscle of your pubic region — can tone up your vadge. Besides giving you a tighter grip during sex, it also may make it easier to climax. Here’s how to exercise your V: Clamp down as if you’re stopping your urine flow, hold for 10 seconds, then release. Do 2 sets of 10 to 20 a day; you’ll notice a difference in about a month.

Designer Vaginas?

Some doctors say vaginal surgery can increase pleasure and improve appearance, but these procedures are rarely medically necessary, are hardly ever covered by insurance, and can cause nerve damage. (Besides, in our opinion, this is one thing that does not need improvement.) A few of the so-called corrections offered:

Vaginal Rejuvenation $7,000*

Aimed at women who complain of feeling too loose to enjoy sex, it involves tightening the vagina. The truth: No published studies show whether “rejuvenated” women feel more or less satisfaction.

Labiaplasty $6,000

This can reduce the size of the inner or outer labia and even out asymmetrical lips. However, visibly asymmetrical and uneven lips are actually the norm.

The G-Shot $1,550

It increases the size of the G-spot area via a collagen or cosmeticfiller injection; this supposedly intensifies sensation. Shots last three to six months. Beware: Its effectiveness is in doubt.

Hymen Repair $5,000

This reconstructs the hymen, allowing a woman to experience the feeling of losing her virginity again. Hmm…pain, blood, and awkwardness a second time around? Don’t sign us up.
*Costs are estimates; prices will vary.

Lady Parts in Pain?

Two very real yet poorly understood conditions can cause serious discomfort.

Vaginismus causes the vaginal muscles to contract involuntarily, making it difficult or impossible to have sex, use a tampon, even undergo a gyno exam. It can be treated via physical therapy and/or counseling, but often gets worse before it gets better because women who have it stress out so much wondering what’s going on before checking in with their gyno.

Vulvodynia is characterized by vulva pain, stinging, or sensitivity so intense that direct touch is hard to bear. There are no visible signs, and it’s often diagnosed after gynos rule out other conditions, such as a bad yeast infection. Antidepressants can often help lessen the pain.

Source: Cosmopolitan Magazine
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