The magic of tenting

Most adults have never heard of vaginal tenting. But if you have a vagina OR you love or lust after people with vaginas OR you’re a science nerd like me, you should totally check this out. A woman’s vagina, in an unaroused state, is only about 3 or 4 inches long. I know, I know – with those dimensions, how does penile-vaginal intercourse (through which most babies are made) ever work?

Well, thanks to the wondrous mechanisms of nature, when women get sexually aroused, their bodies – like men’s bodies – go through a variety of changes. In women’s bodies, this involves muscular tension that pulls the uterus upward, thereby making the vagina both LONGER and WIDER. Is that cool or what? With more room, many women can more comfortably fit a penis, fingers, or a sex toy into their vagina.

[Side note: though some folks put carrots or zucchinis up there, I tend to NOT recommend inserting produce in one's vajayjay - however, if you are going to do that anyway, consider covering it with a condom first and making sure to, once the sexual encounter is over, get it out of the vagina rather than leave it in. Seriously, folks, have some class.]

So what’s the take home message here?

1. Vaginas are ridiculously awesome. They TENT. They make room. That’s so cool!
2. Spending more time in foreplay doing what women find sexually exciting and pleasurable (whether that’s kissing, massage, telling sexy stories, rubbing feet, oral sex, etc) can make vaginal penetration more comfortable AND more pleasurable.
3. If you have a female sex partner and you’re not sure what she will find “exciting and pleasurable”, ASK HER – don’t assume that what your ex liked is what your current girlfriend/wife will like. EXPLORE, people!

Spread the word by sending this link to friends or partner(s) that could benefit from this knowledge of magical vaginal tenting.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at

  • Sandy

    So if a woman is not sufficiently aroused and tries to have sex, her vagina may be only 3-4 inches long in its “untented” state? Meaning not much more than half the average penis will fit in? And if it does fit, it means the woman is aroused?