This article’s purpose is to normalise talking about vaginas and their functions by debunking popular vagina myths that are widespread throughout society.
Discharge means there’s something wrong
This myth is so untrue that it’s comical. Discharge is actually normal! Discharge differs depending on medicine use, pregnancy, what point of your menstrual cycle you are in, etc. Generally, discharge is white (but when in contact with air your discharge can also be yellow), and your vagina produces approx. a teaspoon of discharge in a 24-hour cycle. Think of your vagina as an ecosystem that keeps many different bacteria in balance, sometimes it can get thrown off by something (sperm, soap, bath products etc). If you are experiencing a difference in discharge amount, colour or odour it can be due to infections such as yeast, trichomoniasis, bacterial vaginosis or an STI, so make sure you discuss any changes with your doctor.
A soapy vagina is a happy vagina
Your vagina is the inner canal of your reproductive tract, and your vulva generally refers to the external parts such as the inner and outer labia, the clitoris, urethra and vaginal entrance. Vaginas are self-cleaning, meaning that soap is actually harmful and can cause your pH balance to change which can cause infections. If you feel that your vulva needs to be cleaned, then warm water will suffice – you must be gentle as your vulva is fragile, so no exfoliating or scrubbing! You should also avoid using any perfumed products or talcum powder and ignore celebrity trends such as vaginal steaming or vajazzling. Basically, just leave your poor vagina and vulva alone.
We’ve all heard that if you have lots of sex or birth lots of babies you get a ‘loose vagina’. This is utter poppycock! What can happen is a weakening in the pelvic floor muscle, which is what supports the vagina, but this is easily fixed through exercises targeted at tightening the muscle. The only other times a women’s vaginal muscles become looser is when she is properly aroused or when in childbirth. The truth is, if your lady’s vagina is ‘tight’ during sex then she isn’t aroused enough for comfortable penetration.
Hymens and virginity
The hymen is a membrane that our society has decided determines virginity – once broken, the women is no longer a virgin. This is a ridiculous myth considering some women are not even born with hymens! Hymens also thin out and break as you age due to exercise, tampon use, masturbation etc. The virginity and hymen myth can sometimes dangerous as it can prevent virgin’s from seeking gynaecological exams to determine polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, cancerous cells or other vaginal health issues. The hymen myth that you should experience pain when losing your virginity is also problematic as it causes a lot of anxiety and the expectation of pain during sexual intercourse. The bleeding experienced by some people when losing their virginity is caused by rough penetration and not enough lubrication due to sexual inexperience, not just because the hymen broke.
Does the carpet match the drapes?
Not specific to vaginas of course but addressing the pubic hair myth of the carpet matching the drapes is personally important. I’m a natural blonde, and sexual partners have called me a fake because I don’t have blonde pubes! The colour of your pubic hair can differ from hair colour due to the amount of melanin in the outer layer of hair which differs throughout body parts. So, it is perfectly okay and normal to have a different coloured carpet to your drapes.
Some easy tips for vaginal care are to stick to cotton based products for underwear and sanitary products, frequently change sanitary products, ensure you don’t wear wet swimsuits or tight sweaty clothes for long periods of time, pee after having sex, and don’t insert soap or douches into your vagina.
Basically, the best thing you can do for your vagina is to leave it alone! The vagina is such a complex and multifaceted body part, it deserves to be looked after and respected.