In decades, numerous vagina myths have been used to shame women. These ranges from the size of vagina, size of labia, odor of the vagina to the amount of discharges a woman needs to produce. Vaginal health is so important to women health that these myths affect their sexual and emotional lives and subsequently impact their self-confidence.
It is very interesting to note that many females find it difficult to mention the word vagina or vulva because the organ is claimed to be dirty, unclean, immoral etc. In this generation, there are even numerous advertisements warning women how they would lose their partner if their vagina isn’t tight, doesn’t smell in a particular way, doesn’t have complexion etc. It is high time vagina shaming ends. The best protocol to end vagina shaming is for women to learn about themselves and know what is normal and what is not. With these knowledge, women will be able to explain why they have a particular smell, size and shape when the need arises. Below are 5 common myths females should stop believing now.
- The myth: Your vagina naturally smells Bad
Truth: All women deal with vagina odour at some times in their lives. Each woman’s vagina odour is different and unique to them. The most important question a female should consider asking herself is: what is normal and abnormal. You can only know this if you realize that a healthy vagina is typically described as ‘fleshy or musky’. It should be noted that unusual vagina odour does happen often times during and after some activities and periods of the month. Vaginal smell may differ throughout women’s menstrual period. Mild and temporal vaginal smell is noticeable after sex and after normal sweating. Simple washing of the vagina with clean water clears this odour. Vaginal odour becomes alarming when the odour is abnormal and become persistent. This is mostly associated with infections. It is advisable not to douche and use chemicals to normalize the odour when you get to this situation. It may be tempting but stop at once since this practise may just mask the actual problem for some moment for it to resurface again. Remember the vagina naturally do not smell bad. Practise simple vagina hygiene to eliminate mild odour and see your doctor if odour persist abnormally. There is nothing like naturally smelly vagina.
- The myth: Your vagina looks the same for the whole life
Truth: No vagina remains the same throughout in their 10’s, 20’s, 30’s and beyond. Every female’s vagina goes through series of major natural changes during puberty, childbirth and menopause. As the vagina goes through changes, the external part called the vulva also evolves as the person ages. The vagina in the pre-puberty state is small and tighter with your labia minora not visible with very little discharge leading to almost always dry vagina. On the other hand, vagina in the puberty grows and labia minora becomes visible whiles lubrication and secretions starts. In sexually active mode where the vagina is exposed to sex regularly, the vagina changes as your hymen tissue breaks. Moreover, the vagina undergoes structural changes during pregnancy and after childbirth. During pregnancy the vagina becomes more lubricated and secretions of vaginal fluid increases. And after passing through the stress of child birth, the vagina becomes stretched and more relaxed. Stop thinking of making your vagina the same throughout your life. Keep practising the simple vagina hygiene and stop looking for new vagina.
- The myth: Your labia should look one particular way.
Truth: Labias come in different shapes, sizes, colours and orientation. The fleshy outer lips of your vulva are known as the labia majora whiles the inner lips which leads into the vagina opening is called the labia minora. No two vagina are the same. Females normally complain their genital (vulva and vagina) don’t look normal but in reality, there is no normal. The only normal is what you were born with. Don’t shame yourself. Grab a mirror, place in front of you and examine your vagina and vulva to see what you possess. The only instance where ones normal is questioned is when it causes pain, discomfort and interfere with normal process such as sex, menstruation and urination. Body shame only causes emotional trauma. See your doctor when you experience any discomfort in your vagina or vulva (labia minora, labia majora). Check the picture below for different kinds of labia. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see yours in as we have numerous of them.
- The myth: Douching is the only way to get your vagina clean.
Truth: The vagina is a self-cleaning organ of the body. To clean it, it needs only clean water. The word “douche” is a French word which means to wash or soak. You can simply put; Douching is washing/cleaning/flushing out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids particularly chemical purported to make the vagina clean. Remember douching is different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower. Rinsing the outside of your vagina with warm water will not harm your vagina. A healthy vagina has good and harmful bacteria. The balance of these bacteria helps maintain an acidic environment. The acidic environment protects the vagina from infections or irritation. The moment douching is done, there is more chances the good bacteria will reduce and the moment this occurs there will be an overgrowth of harmful bacteria causing vaginal infections. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching can push the bacteria causing the infection up into the fallopian tube. Douching will not solve vagina pain, itchiness and discharges but will only cover up the problems and make it worse in small time. Stop douching. Don’t shame yourself if you do not douche, it is not the requisite for clean vagina.
- The myth: Every woman should squirt during sex.
Truth: In fact, every woman is different. The fact that one-woman squirt doesn’t mean that all women do it. It should be noted that squirting is different from orgasm. A woman can have orgasm but will not squirt and vice versa. But sometimes, they’ll squirt while having orgasm. A study of 300 participants reported that only seven women self-reported female ejaculation during orgasm. So, if you are a female and you don’t squirt, don’t shame yourself. The body is not a template with a static formula.
The article was written by Godfrey Yeboah Amoah.