Is there such a thing as knowing too much about vaginas?
Yes, you could do some sort of body-bending maneuver with a ruler and measure your vagina, or you could step away from the measuring tools and allow someone who’s done the research to fill you in. Generally speaking, the more you know about your vagina and all its mysterious mechanisms, the better! Here are answers to 10 questions you probably haven’t even thought to ask.
1. The vagina is 7-8 centimeters deep. The most comprehensive, earliest research on vaginal depth was done by William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, the research team who pioneered sexual response studies in the mid-twentieth century. Citing their book Human Sexual Response, Dr. Anne Lawrence, a psychologist and sexologist, writes that the average vaginal depth is 7-8 centimeters.
2. But it gets longer with stimulation. Masters and Johnson’s work was largely focused on sexual response, AKA what an orgasm is. Their research found that, when aroused, vaginal depth elongates to about 11-12 centimeters.
3. Also during arousal, the vagina doubles in size. According to the book The Science of Orgasm, during sexual excitement, the vaginal canal relaxes and dilates, resulting in an effect called “tenting.” Researchers hypothesize this lifts the cervix and creates a little reservoir for semen as a way to facilitate egg fertilization.
4. And while we’re on the subject, the clitoris also gets bigger during arousal. Ok, technically ~not~ the vagina, but vagina-adjacent. According to Laurence Orbuch, director of Gyn Laparoscopic Associates at the Beth Israel Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the clitoris becomes engorged with blood during arousal (like a penis during erection) and grows larger.
5. The vaginal walls are pleated, like a skirt. In order to accommodate things like tampons, fingers, penises, and so on, the walls of the vagina are pleated and can separate, stretching the width from half an inch to two inches or more.
6. It cleans itself. Like a fancy oven, the vagina is self-cleaning. Meaning you don’t ever need to douche or put scented soaps and products up there. That actually has the reverse effect of cleaning and is likely to cause infection.
7. Discharge changes depending on where you’re at in your menstrual cycle. Wondering why, around a certain time each month, your vaginal discharge is suddenly much more visible and resembles clear egg whites? That’s your vagina’s way of telling you that you’re ovulating and are in your most ~fertile~ window.
8. Your vagina is TILTED. You know how you have to sort of shoot a tampon toward your back when you insert it? That’s because vaginas are tilted between about 108 and 130 degrees. They don’t just jut straight up into your bod.
9. You probably still have a hymen in there. Contrary to what you may have heard among the lockers in high schools, your hymen isn’t something that “pops” or goes away after sex. For a lot of people, the hymen stretches during childhood while doing something like riding a bike or jumping on a trampoline. And when it does stretch (what people mistakenly refer to as “tearing” or “popping”), it still sticks around.
10. What you’ve heard about G-spots probably isn’t true. The alluring myth of the G-spot is just that: A myth. But! That doesn’t mean there aren’t certain areas inside the vagina that feel better than others. Tangential vagina fact, but your clitoris is not just a little button on the surface of your vulva. It’s an entire structure that extends into the body. So what people have been calling the “G-spot” is likely an internal extension of the clitoris.