15 Things You (Maybe) Didn’t Know About Vaginas

I recently read Dr Lissa Rankin’s book (What’s Up Down There: Questions  You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend) and really enjoyed it – it’s written exactly how I tend to talk to a friend, so it felt like less of a book and more of reading emails from my best friend. Enough about that book – I’m working on a review of it anyway. So, with that book still hot on my mind, I was pleasantly surprised when a few friends posted a link to a list from Dr Rankin on 15 Crazy Things About Vaginas.

I hesitate to call these facts “crazy things” – I would probably describe them as more interesting or cool. Some of them I knew before I read the book (and I would certainly hope I knew some of them since I do teach about sex!), some more after reading the book, and I was still happily surprised by a few more – I always love learning new things. Plus it’s a whole list of 15 things about vaginas! How often does the vagina get a whole list dedicated to it? (Well, it has gotten a few entire books dedicated to it and the vulva, including Debby’s new book Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva).

I appreciate that Dr Rankin explains, “It’s amazing how much misinformation is out there about the vagina. Given how fascinated our society is with the female body, you’d think we’d be a little more informed.” And I completely agree! During the first week of my class, I usually have students write down a myth that they have heard about sex (whether or not they believe it) on a note card, and no names  - let’s just keep it anonymous – and we talk about them. Often, at least half have to do with female anatomy in some manner, and a fair amount of those deal with the vulva and/or vagina.

Number 2 on Dr Rankin’s list has to do with the number of nerve endings in the clitoris (she says that there is 8,000 while the penis only has 4,000), and while I’ve read a fair amount of info that agrees with her I’ve also read some disagreements that say that they have the same number of nerve endings; after all, they come from the same embryonic tissue. I love Number 3 which has to do with size, specifically that the vagina is (on average) 3 to 4 inches – and can expand by 200% (in other words, it can double)!  I’ve heard about squalene, especially used in skin care and I have a friend take it for her arthritis as a supplement. However, reading this list now I know that squalene isn’t just found in sharks but also in vaginas (it’s a natural lubricant).

I leave you with Number 15, as I think it’s the most positive and happiest to end on. Dr Rankin explains, “Safe sex (or even just orgasm alone) is good for you. Benefits include lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke, reducing your risk of breast cancer, bolstering your immune system, helping you sleep, making you appear more youthful, improving your fitness, regulating menstrual cycles, relieving menstrual cramps, helping with chronic pain, reducing the risk of depression,  lowering stress levels, and improving self esteem.” So you don’t even need a partner to reap the benefits – you can do this on your own. I’ve always heard that having an orgasm gives you the best glow – not that it’s necessary for a beautiful glow, but the way it pinkens cheeks and lips can certainly add to that.

Did you learn anything new? Anything shocking? Keep up with us to learn more on Twitter @mysexprofessor and find Holly, the author of this post, @ItsHollyAgain

About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.