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Strange, Surprising Facts About The Vagina Part 1

Medically reviewed by Erika Rellora, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 07, 2022

Strange, Surprising Facts About The Vagina Part 1

The vagina is a fascinating organ, and it actually doesn’t take much to keep it healthy as it’s a fully functioning, self-cleaning organ. Check out more interesting facts about vagina here.

The vulva and vagina are not the same

Many people use the term “vagina” generally to refer to all parts of the female genitalia. But technically, if you’re referring to any of the stuff you can see—including the clitoris, urethra, the labia majora and minora (outer and inner vaginal lips, respectively), and the pudendal nerve— you’re referring to the vulva. The vagina is the muscular, elastic canal that runs from your cervix to your hymen.

Labias come in a variety of sizes and shapes

The truth is, the labia majora (outer lips) and labia minora (inner lips) look different on all types of bodies. There are several general labia types, but even these have plenty of variation. Many women worry that their vulvas don’t look “normal,” but what’s “normal” has largely been defined by porn, which historically hasn’t accurately reflected healthy women’s bodies. Asymmetrical inner or outer lips, horseshoe-shaped or curvy outer lips, projecting or dangling inner lips, small closed and small open lips – the labia come in various shapes and sizes

Vulvas have various colors

Acceptable labia color ranges from pink to red to brown to purplish, all of which are completely normal. During sexual stimulation, the color of your labia can momentarily deepen as blood rushes to the area. For many women, the vulva may not be the same color as the rest of their skin.

The clit is bigger than you think

The majority of the clitoris—roughly 4/5 of it—is buried in the body, enclosing the vagina, making up the “clitoral complex.” This is considerably more than just the small bean-shaped hot point at the tip of your labia minora. If we include the internal parts of the clitoris, it measures about the same length as the average flaccid penis: 3.5 inches.

The clitoris is twice as sensitive as the penis

 The clitoris is the female counterpart of a penis. They are similar in that they both have the prepuce, glans, and frenulum. However, the clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis. It has 8,000 nerve endings compared to the penis’ 4,000.

Your hymen does not indicate virginity 

The World Health Organization states that there is no test, including the presence of an intact hymen, that can determine whether a woman has had sex. The hymen can break in a variety of ways, like riding a bike or participating in sports. And when it does, it’s completely normal.

When you are aroused, your vagina may change in size and shape

It’s called “vaginal tenting,” and it’s completely normal. According to Högemann and Druet, the vagina typically measures three to four inches in length, though it can be longer or shorter. However, during arousal, your vagina may relax and widen, and the uterus is pulled upward. This changes the position of the cervix, allowing the vagina to become longer.

No 2 genitalia smell alike

Every woman has a unique scent due to her diet, the fabric she wears, her gland secretions, her level of hygiene, and her unique mixture of internal bacteria. Your smell may change slightly and can even get a little funky after a workout or during your period. If it doesn’t return to normal after you take a shower or if you notice a fishy or foul odor, talk to your doctor as that could be a sign of infection.

Vaginal penetration is not enough to climax

The majority of women—over 36%—reported that clitoral stimulation was necessary to have an orgasm. Another 36% said that while it wasn’t necessary for them to orgasm, clitoral stimulation made their orgasms feel better. In other words,  your best chance at orgasm with vaginal penetration is adding clitoral stimulation.

Mastrubate to relieve pain

You now have a new reason to indulge in masturbation during your cycle and period sex, as sexual stimulation and orgasm help release your body’s own natural painkillers. Orgasm releases a wave of oxytocin, which makes you feel happy and can also help to relieve pain.

Pubic hair has a purpose

Before you decide to shave (or fully commit to laser hair removal or waxing), be aware that pubic hair serves a purpose. It acts as a buffer against friction and serves as a protective barrier to genital tissues, especially the delicate vaginal opening. Shaving can leave tiny microscopic wounds on the skin, temporarily increasing one’s risk of infection. 

Pubic hair is different for everybody

The development of pubic hair, which appears around puberty, is completely normal. It can appear only on the vulva, on the inner thighs, or even on the lower abdomen. It can also be coarse, thin, curly, or straight. Its color can also vary and may not match your other body hair. And yes, it will eventually turn gray.

Learn more about Women’s Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Erika Rellora, MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 07, 2022

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