In my last article, I wrote about the collective voice of women and how our reproductive health is often used against us in politics, without regard for our opinion. Today, however, I’d like to focus on a different but equally demanding, and (sometimes) confusing voice: your vagina’s.
As spring creeps slowly upon us, our connection with many aspects of the world is renewed. In the Midwest, for example, we fold up long-underwear and shuffle into flip-flops, reacquainted with lighter, more expressive clothes. We spend time outside just for the sake of some fresh air, breathing in the smell of grass and sun, reconvening with the earth and our neighbors. Just as many people feel urges to do “spring cleaning,” this is also time when we take inventory of our own bodies.
While magazine headlines scream at us to get back in shape for summer’s “swim-suit season,” seldom, I notice, are we prompted to get back in touch with our vaginas. (Pun intended.) This is a shame.
First, some language clarification: the body part you see when looking in the mirror is your vulva, not your vagina. While vulva refers to the external organs-lips, clitoris, and the openings to your urethra and your vagina, the actual vagina is an internal path between your external parts and your uterus. Both your vagina and your vulva are sensitive to stimulation and play important roles in sexual arousal – it is important to experiment, either by yourself or with a partner, with what types of touching feels best to you, and where. Furthermore, your vulva and your vagina each perform different tasks and require different attention in terms of sexual health.
So, when is the last time you took a good look at your vulva? Being familiar with your vagina and vulva is not simply a pleasure plus, but also a major health perk. In order to be a self-advocate and an empowered woman, knowing the ins and outs of your vaginal health is crucial. Only by maintaining a constant dialogue with your sexual organs will you be able to notice any changes or abnormalities.