Do you consider your genitals something of wonder, awe and beauty, or do you think they put the “ugly” in the phrase “bumping uglies”?
Eve Ensler's play and book, The Vagina Monologues, can help any woman who has ever felt self-conscious about her genitals, or has ever worried that she was the “only one” without picture-perfect genitalia. Eve writes, "I was worried about my own vagina. It needed a context, a community, a culture of other vaginas. There is so much darkness and secrecy surrounding them, like the Bermuda Triangle, nobody ever reports back from there."
Let's shine some light on the “darkness” that is women's vulvas, labias and vaginas.
Women's genitals are usually collectively referred to as "vaginas", and this is incorrect. The outside vaginal opening (orifice) and inside vagina (vaginal canal) are only one part of a woman's external genitalia. The correct term is "vulva", and includes all the external genitalia: the mons pubis, labia minora, labia majora, clitoris, vaginal opening (not vaginal canal), vestibule and the perineum.
Just as it is normal to have variations in every individual face, variations in genital appearance are normal and expected. "If you get too caught up on what they [genitals] look like, you'll miss out on the good feelings they bring you or your sexual partner. If you or your partner are totally freaked out about seeing labia or having them seen (or other body parts), that can be a good hint that you're moving too fast." (Source: Scarlateen).
- Feel: Inside, your vagina is bumpy, similar to the roof of your mouth. This is called "vaginal rugae", and helps your vaginal canal to expand. Your vaginal canal is three to seven inches long (average is three to four inches), and during sexual excitement, the upper portion elongates (to an average of five to seven inches) by forcing the cervix and uterus to move upward.
- Little Known Vagina Fact: Your vagina is not the Grand Canyon; it is not a wide, open space so often depicted in medical illustrations.