Making Love

About the Vagina: 25 Facts You Probably Don’t Know

For many men (and a depressing amount of women,) the vagina is a mysterious cave of wonders that can provide great treasure (the greatest in fact; life itself!) Unfortunately due to the outdated and historically ignorant beliefs of various groups and facets of society, the mystery comes primarily from embarrassment or even shame. Whereas men were often celebrated or gauged by their virility, the opposite was true for women. The concept of female virginity as a sign of purity only served to further alienate women from their bodies.

To this day, far too many boys are still more interested in what the vagina can do for them, rather than understanding how it works. But let’s change that. Guys, if you know how things work down there, you’ll be better in bed and we all know you want that. Meanwhile, ladies, if you understand how your body works, sex will be better for you. It’s a win for everybody. So, in the spirit of education and better sex (for anyone who has or likes girl parts,) here are 25 things you might be ashamed to ask about vaginas!

1.  The clitoris has more nerve endings than any other part of the body.nerves1.jpg

There are about 8000 nerve ending in the clitoris with the single awesome purpose of arousal and orgasm (which, scientifically speaking is to encourage procreation.)  It turns out that number is right around double the nerve endings in the penis.

 

2.  The vagina actually expands for sex.  

In their relaxed state, vaginas are typically about three and a half inches deep (which helps explain why there’s often less room in there for a tampon than, say, a penis.)  As a woman becomes aroused, a process called “Vaginal Tenting” occurs which causes the interior of the vagina to increase in length and width by about 67%.  The message here is that more foreplay = a vagina that’s better prepared for sex, and that’s always a good thing.

3.  Vaginas come in different layouts and sizes (all of which are normal.)

The vulva, labia, and even the color of the vagina can vary greatly from one woman to the next.  The distance from the clitoris to the vaginal opening is (usually slightly) different on every woman.  Further (and often an issue for the self-image of young ladies,) the size of the labia can vary by over an inch.  Porn and cosmetic surgery have given a false “ideal” to the appearance of the vagina, that is both destructive, and false.    

4.  The vagina allows for different types of orgasms. OrgasmType

Depending on how you look at it, the Vagina and all its nerve-filled goodness is capable of 2-4 different types of orgasms:  Clitoral, Vagina, Blended, and multiple.  Blended and multiple are a result of the first two, but have their own unique traits.  Even if you only recognize two, that’s twice as many as a penis gets.  With that said, over 70% of women do not orgasm from vaginal stimulation alone, so make sure to cover all the bases until you know which one(s) you’re dealing with!

5.  The vagina cleans itself.

As a sophisticated biological system, the vagina maintains a specific balance of good bacteria (though far less than your mouth) and is actually slightly acidic.  The pH of the vagina is right around 4.5, putting it on the same level as such wondrous substances as beer and wine (and also tomatoes…  but 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.)  This, by the way, means that douching or using any non-prescribed “vaginal cleaner” is a really bad idea as it will throw off the balance.    

6.  The clitoris is actually a lot like a penis. 

VagPenis.jpgThe clitoris has a glans, foreskin (the clitoral hood,) and even a shaft that hardens when a woman becomes aroused.  Though some swelling may be visible in the size of the clitoris, it mostly goes unnoticed because the majority of the clitoris is buried inside the vagina.  It also isn’t just a “button” externally.  It extends down past the vaginal opening in a wishbone shape, helping increase sensitivity there as well.

7.  Kegel exercises really do a lot for your vagina.

You can exercise your vagina, and doing so has a lot of benefits.  The strengthening of vaginal muscles improves sexual response for both partners (through better contact.)  In addition, when she has an orgasm from said sexual response, the added muscle means it will be longer and more pleasurable.  For those interested, the stronger contractions also mean a higher likelihood of female ejaculation.  Finally, the stronger the pelvic floor muscles, the easier it is for the vagina to bounce back from childbirth.

 8.  Multiple. Orgasms.MultipleOrgasms

Multiple orgasms are distinct in that they literally happen one after another (“like a machine gun”) and generally are exclusive to vaginas (sorry guys!)  The laboratory record (that’s right, for science) for the number of orgasms in an hour is an insane 134 (over two per minute!!!)

 

9.   The Hyman is absolutely no indication of sexual activity or purity.

The perpetuated myth that a hymen represents untouched female purity is just that: a myth.  In fact, some women are born without a hymen to begin with.  For those that are born with them, they range in thickness, toughness, and amount of coverage, meaning there’s no way to determine any sexual information from a hymen check.

10.  Feeling like you need to pee during sex is pretty normal. 

HaveToPeeEven if you pee just before sex, it’s normal to feel like you need to during the act.  This can be a lot of things, but it’s primarily the result of the urethral sponge swelling. That, combined with stimulation causes nerve cross-talk from the clitourethrovaginal complex  (basically it’s misinterpreting the new pleasure delivery) and makes your brain think you need to pee.

11.  Not getting “wet” doesn’t always mean you’re not into it.

Probably the closest thing women can experience to erectile dysfunction is when they are totally into a sexy situation and fully consensual, but for some reason, the plumbing just isn’t cooperating.  No, your subconscious isn’t (necessarily) trying to tell you anything.  It turns out natural lubrication can be affected by a multitude of things from birth control, to breastfeeding, to menopause.  Estrogen levels have a lot to do with the female physical sexual response so anything that messes with your estrogen levels can mess with your lubrication.

12.  Lube makes the vagina happier.

lube.jpg

The good news is, even if your sexual response is good, recent science says that a little bit of lube will do nothing but make it better.  Water-based lubricant increased the sexual satisfaction of literally every category from partner sex to solo play, and (no brainer) anal sex.  It also cut down on the collateral damage to the vagina from sexual encounters.  So if you’re planning to do a lot with your vagina in a short time, best to lube it up.

13.  The vagina communicates with you.

The extremely complex environment of the vagina is designed to give regular status updates. (Like Twitter, but more organic.)  Changes in the smell, discharge amount, consistency, and off-period blood spotting are all indications of what’s going on in there (and not always a bad thing!)  For instance, when a woman is most fertile and ovulating, discharge increases and cervical mucus becomes more transparent and stretchy in consistency. 

14. The Vagina is not a straight line.

Vagangle

Contrary to the belief of many, the vagina is not a straight line pointing in the direction of the stomach/heart/head.  It actually tilts about 130 degrees (towards a woman’s back) and can change as she gets older.

 

15.  The vagina stretches to over THREE TIMES its normal size for childbirth.

Most people have an idea about this one but it’s definitely worth mentioning.  When having a baby, the vaginal opening can stretch to between 9 – 10.5” in diameter to let the new little human out.  While childbirth can alter a vagina’s look, the interior size and “tightness” usually has no noticeable difference after recovery (which can take six months to a year or more.) 

16. The word “vagina” comes from a Latin term meaning “sword holder”.Sheath

Right… well…  let’s just remember that many scabbards are the prettiest, most distinct parts of the sword/sheath combination.  They also protect the sword from rust and damage.  And damn the patriarchy for this one…

17.  Vaginas and sharks have something in common.

The vagina secretes a compound known as squalane as a natural lubricant.  Since it is lighter than water, it is also naturally found in shark livers and contributes to reducing their density.  When harvested from a shark, this compound is often used as a component in moisturizers and cosmetics.  Let that sink in for a little while.

18.  The vagina can fall out of a woman’s body.

Prolapse

Though extremely rare, the condition is called  “Vaginal Prolapse” in which a section of the vagina literally hangs out of the vaginal opening like a sock.  Fortunately, it’s not only rare but also not typically fatal and completely reversible.

 

19.  Vaginal “farts” are basically unavoidable.

Also known as “queefs” or “varts”, these are the inevitable result of air being trapped, and subsequently released from the vagina (usually due to sexual activity.)  They are generally harmless, clean, carry no odor, and whoever trapped that air in there has absolutely no business complaining.

20.  Consistent or multiple sex partners will not make a vagina “looser.” SexPartners

The myth that is “virgin tightness” is just a myth.  If not appropriately aroused viaforeplay, it’s possible a virgin will feel tighter, but that’s only because her body has not finished getting ready for intercourse.  Otherwise, a vagina will feel the same the first time as it does the 50th time. The only case in which a vagina might feel realistically “looser” is during the recovery period after childbirth.  Sorry guys, none of you are near that big.

21.  Like everything else, the vagina can sag with age.  

A sad fact for almost every part of the human body (assuming you’re human…)  The ways to combat this are the same as the rest of your body: Avoid smoking, keep your body in shape, and do muscle-specific exercises (in this case, kegels!)

22.  Most of the vaginal nerves are located within the first two inches of the opening.

The next time you hear a guy brag about how long his manhood is, let him know that in general, sexual satisfaction comes from girth.  Conceivably, a 4-inch penis with a 3-inch girth will give more pleasure than a 10-inch penis with a 2-inch girth.

23.  Orgasm is more likely right before or during menstruation.

MenstrationOrgasmsJust before and during her period, the blood flow to the woman’s pelvic region (specifically sexual organs) is increased, therefore dramatically increasing sensitivity.  As long as there are no negative feelings regarding sex while menstruating, orgasm is achieved easier, with more intensity.  Sexual activity can also help reduce cramping and shorten the overall duration of menstruation.

24. The Vagina has some serious muscles. 

In 2009, a Russian woman set a world record by lifting 30lbs attached to a wooden egg held by her vagina. With that same strength, it’s actually possible to clamp down on a penis so hard that it can’t be removed.  This is called “Penis Captivus”, and while rare, is a real (and only sometimes intentional) phenomenon. 

25.  What you think is the vagina, probably isn’t the vagina.

ActualVagina

What most people refer to as the vagina is the entirety of all the female sex organs.  But it turns out all of the external components (clitoris, vaginal opening, labia, etc.) are actually what is referred to as the vulva.  The vagina is actually the muscular passageway that connects the vulva and the cervix. (That said, correctly specifying for this article would’ve been far too complicated…)

 

 

You can’t say this wasn’t at least a little educational, I’m willing to be nobody alreadyknew all 25 (I didn’t before I did the research.)  This is a shortened list, as well.  The vagina has many more wonders for us all to discover.  But in the meantime thanks for reading!

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Sexual Dynamics, Part 2: Making Love

My first thought (and perhaps yours) is: “Why do you think you’re qualified to write about this!?”  I’m not.  I’ve had my brushes with the grey areas over the years, and let’s say that at times maybe it refreshed my memory, but I haven’t been consistently, romantically, lovingly involved with somebody for nearly a decade.  So am I an expert on the fine art of love-making as I feel I was for hooking up?  Fuck no.  But I’ll give it a shot anyway, maybe I can paint an ideal, unrealistic picture for us all!

This is less love and more a fire hazard...

This is less love and more a fire hazard…

So what’s the difference between sex and making love?  Rose petals? candles? magic?  No, not really.  It comes down to comfort and trust.   Yep, that thing I’ve talked about as being dangerously bad in the past is one of the defining differences between hooking up and making sweet love.  Trust is a given, if you don’t trust your partner, you have no business being with them and claiming you love them.  In my experience, even if you don’t automatically trust the person you love, you choose to.  So with that in mind, if you trust your partner mentally and emotionally, it seems reasonable that physical will follow.  Especially when the element of communication is present.  As I’ve said, that’s pretty essential for any sort of good sex, but if you don’t communicate properly with the person you’re supposedly in love with, it’s going to severely dampen you sex life (along with your relationship.)

Comfort is a double-edged sword.  When you grow emotionally comfortable with somebody, the personas you put out to the outside world (including those you may have hooked up with) strip away and you feel good about showing / giving yourself to somebody completely.  Exposed, vulnerable, honest, raw.  They get what the hookups don’t, they get all of you.  Getting naked and getting off with somebody is easy, letting them have you with all your mental and emotional defenses down and trusting them to do right by you is much, much harder.  Making love is (and should be) a physical metaphor for your entire relationship: physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual.  Over time though, that comfort can easily fall into taking each other for granted.  Even the act of making love can begin to feel mundane over a long amount of time and lose the very thing that differentiates it from simply hooking up.  It’s a fine line, balanced properly by effort, communication and dedication to satisfying each other’s needs. The physical aspect of a long-term relationship must be maintained as much as any other aspect, or it can just as easily end said relationship as anything else.  You’ve pledged yourselves to each other for the long haul, that means taking care of all the needs you can for them.

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted...)

Pictured: Magic (I had no idea I was being painted…)

Don’t get me wrong about magic either, when you’re in love with somebody the magic is (ideally) in everything, especially at first.  But the magic is the love itself.  In the beginning.. the “honeymoon phase” the newness and excitement makes this magic almost automatic, but once that fades it takes some level of work to recognize, appreciate and make magic.  You have to make  love.  Perhaps that’s where the term comes from as many of the more romantic (and in my opinion misguided) belief systems consider sex to be the ultimate expression of love.  While that’s utter bullshit, it makes a decent point in reinforcing that the physical certainly is important as a balanced form of expressing your love physically.  In my experience, the special someone will always have that pull, the intangible, explainable thing that draws you to them, but it’s up to you both to recognize and elaborate on that.  Part of loving somebody is being dedicated to exploring and nurturing the magic that you have with them, and that very includes the bedroom.  If it doesn’t… well then you fall in the very large percentage of people who do what they feel they have to on the side.  It doesn’t meant the love is gone, but it means something has fallen to the wayside on a physical level at least (if not other levels as well.)

NOT Love.  But REALLY, REALLY fun.

NOT Love. But REALLY, REALLY fun.

So, what about non-traditional situations?  Threesomes, Orgies or just open relationships?  I’m not going to go into Polyamory or other alternative relationship situations because this isn’t about the relationships, this is about the love-making within the relationship.  Can people really be in love with multiple people equally?  Yeah, probably.  But let’s talk about that some other time.    In the meantime let’s start with three or more people since I’ve got some experience with this.  First of all, this is by no means wrong or bad for the relationship as long as both people are totally open and honest with each other.  This keeps misunderstandings from happening and allows ground rules to be set if necessary.  Done properly, adding an addition person the mix for a couple to share can be very exciting and fulfilling.  The key is that both partners are equally interested in the situation and they regard the third person as a toy for them both play with.  The third person should also be very clear about their role, and honestly would rarely complain.  In my experience, the threesome+ itself is exciting, sexy and even satisfying, but not making-love.  It’s more like the couple as a singular entity are “hooking-up” with another person.  It’s recreation, fun, sexy recreation for all parties involved.  The nifty side-effect I’ve noticed is that such situations usually result in a second, more connected “love-making” session a bit later on.  Call it reconnection,  reclaiming, whatever.  It’s probably just because the threesome highlighted the contrast between hooking up and making love enough for the couple to crave the added intimacy.

As for open relationships, the best way to explain this is simply that when those in love are with each other, they have that greater connection and intimacy that is making love.  When they venture out and see other people, they are just plain fucking.  It’s like masturbating, but better because it’s always better when somebody else does it.  Obviously this sort of situation requires that the couple not be possessive of each other physically and have spectacularly good, straightforward communication (both of which are much harder in practice than in theory.)  This maintains the necessary trust along with the obvious need for open communication among all parties regarding healthy sexual practices.  I absolutely must point out that love is not possessiveness.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want your partner all to yourself, but if somebody isn’t physically possessive, it doesn’t mean they don’t love somebody, it just means they have drawn a clear line in their mind between making love and hooking up.  I’ve heard people say in the past that they like it when their spouse/partner gets jealous because it means they love them.  Fuck that.  Jealousy isn’t love in any way, shape or form.  It’s about possession and nobody owns anyone.  A good relationship is when two people want to give themselves to each other and share their lives equally.  Ownership has nothing to do with it. Ever.  So with that said, while jealousy is natural, it can also be controlled and mastered, and if that’s the case, then a loving and open relationship is certainly possible.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

They OBVIOUSLY get it.

So what is “Hooking Up”?  Two (or more) consenting adults happily get naked and do sexy things to each other until they end up in a happy heap of post-orgasmic bliss.  What is “Making Love”? Two (or possibly more) people come together without barriers, personas or presumptions and give themselves to each other mind, body and spirit.  They truly connect on multiple levels and and express their total desire to share their lives with each other.  Hooking up is great when done responsibly, but making love is a rare treasure on a whole different level.

Sexual Dynamics, Part 1: Hooking Up

**Seems I never learn.  I was done with this post and had about 1000 words wiped out by accidentally hitting the back button on my browser.  I get that I should get used to writing these in a word processor, but dammit WordPress, your auto-save sucks. So you guys get version 2.0 of my thoughts on this. /end rant. **

Well holy crap.  Last post was by far the most popular post I’ve written since I began broadcasting my brains onto the internet. Thank you for reading and sharing and especially for your candid responses.  I got a ton of feedback from people who could relate or felt that I might have missed something.  They were right, it was missing a lot actually.  I couldn’t possibly fit the intricacies of good sex into a single blog post (at least, not without it being the size of a novel.)  The last post was an introductory guideline… one possible choice in the foundation for good sex.   Judging from the reaction I got, I’ll be writing more of that.  In the meantime though I want to take the chance to address some of the feedback I received.  It’s pretty awesome when blog posts write themselves. 🙂  Some of this will re-hash older posts, but some of you weren’t around back then anyway.  First let’s talk about what I touched on a bit too briefly:

casual-sex-formalFirst let’s clarify that “Hooking Up” and “Making Love” are two very different concepts in my mind, with more or less different agendas but preferably the same physical outcome.  This post, I’m going to start with what I know know more about.  I’ve been single for just over eight years now, but my sex life has (for the most part) been quite healthy.  This means casual sex (AKA No Strings Attached) has been a pretty constant part of my routine.  There have been a few grey areas in the emotional spectrum, but for the most part it’s been very straightforward situations.  I’m not really one for one night stands, in fact on the rare occasion I have sex with a stranger, I make an effort (often to their surprise) to get to know them.  If it’s good, why wouldn’t you want more!?  Especially due to the safety of the situation though, I tend to prefer some level of knowledge before the hook up.  In many ways getting to know somebody on a physical level makes me feel closer to them simply as a person (which explains why most of my best friends are women.)

Hooking up is (ideally) simple.  No emotions and no expectations, just a mutual physical attraction and an agreement to take care of some needs.  There’s no obligation to hang out more (though I often do) and no need to text daily with updates on your life.  It’s just a matter of getting together to take care of some needs and then getting back to your lives.  This goes back to what I wrote last post though:  You’re there for one reason, you best try to be good at it.  As I said, in this situation, there are not supposed to be expectations except the obvious one: generally speaking you’re both there to get off.  I’ll wager that 9 times out of 10 any guy that is trying to “hook up” is specifically looking to cum.

Meanwhile, probably half of the ladies out there say they are content for the excitement/attention but don’t expect to get off.  Well, that’s pretty ridiculous.  It unfortunately stems from all too many lazy, selfish, often falsely entitled assholes who aren’t willing to put any effort towards the hookup past what gets them off.  Sure, they might go down for some ten seconds during “foreplay”, but they think it’s just for warm-up.  Losers. If that makes you feel a bit insecure, this might offend you, but you’ve made an unspoken agreement to participate in this, and unless it’s expressly one-sided, your pride should tell you that you need to at least give it a good shot (no pun intended… kinda.)  Also.. I say again guys: If you are going to ask a girl for a blowjob, the best way to increase your odds of getting one is to get your ass down on her and make her cum first.  What guy doesn’t like blowjobs!?  Totally worth the effort.

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Well.. that escalated quickly..

Now, I realize there’s specific situations where things will be one-sided.  Public sex often needs to be quick and doesn’t allow for the steps that one or both partners require to get off (though it’s often such a turn-on that it’s not impossible.)  Road head obviously requires the driver to focus on driving as much as possible.  Drunken parties sometimes escalate into (semi)public acts that might need to delay reciprocation and then sometimes people that are sexually involved just want to do a quick favor for the other when there’s not time for a full session.  All of that is awesome, but might I suggest considering these and I.O.U. for some undisclosed future date?  Hell, keep am orgasm tally if you like.  Spontaneous sexual reciprocation is pretty awesome.  (Remember too, that I suggest a 2-to-1 ratio of female to male orgasms if possible since many women can have more than one in a session.)

In the case of a one-night stand, you do your best (guys, see last post if you need help) under the circumstances (again.. pride?) It’s basically implied you’re both being pretty selfish and expectations can’t be too high, but you know what?  I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to try be that guy/girl that they talk to their friends about later (and people do talk.)  Personally, I’d like to be the exception that the girl says “Damn.. that guy last night was the best sex/hookup I’ve had in…” or at least “Oh yeah, that guy was totally worth it!”  (Again, I’m not really huge on one-night stands, but if you’re gonna do it, you might as well be memorable right!?)  You guys know you’ll probably get off during sex regardless, so why not try to be most badass hookup they can remember?  Be that guy.  Even if you decide you’re not that into her, if you’re still trying to selfishly get off with her, do it to keep it fair, do it because she deserves it for sharing herself with you.

Hard to argue.

Hard to argue.

Now, in a “Friends with Benefits” situation, you’ve got the communication aspect I stressed so much in the last post. (See also my post on casual sex a few weeks back… I’ll link it at the bottom.)  Maybe the first time it’s unexpected, but after that you’ve got time to talk about it.  If you’re getting naked with this person, and you’re going to continue to get naked with this person, you really shouldn’t have a problem discussing / figuring out what you both both like.  You’ll be able to tell pretty early on if the physical / sexual chemistry is there (and that can make a huge difference.) So honestly, at this point you need to man/woman up and talk.  You should be talking about physical / sexual health anyway, so really talking about your preferences beyond that should be easy.

The great news about this is that if you pull off an ideal “Friends with Benefits” situation, it’s second only to passionate love-making.  Once you’re comfortable with communication, you can use each session to fine-tune, explore and give feedback on what you want and like.  It adds a pretty fun, sexy twist on regular friend activities and lunch/work conversations.  The process might be slow if you only see each other a couple times a month, or it might develop quickly if you have a “regular” you see several times a week.  Either way, each time you get to explore somebody’s body (assuming you’re paying attention) you get to know and practice what works for it until both you and your partner are fine-tuned machines of ecstasy and release.  Added bonus is without the pressure or commitment of a romantic relationship, if something is missing from your otherwise-ideal hook up situation, you are free to find that elsewhere without remorse.  You sacrifice a level of reliability but the trade-off is added potential variety (and by the way, in my experience threesomes, foursomes, etc. have the highest probability of happening in this situation, especially if your partner is bisexual.)

Just stick to the "contract".

Just stick to the “contract”.

As I’ve elaborated before though, successfully navigating a no strings attached situation with a friend is difficult.  You have to be an adult.  That means getting over jealousy, possessiveness and keeping your emotions in check.  Once again communication and honesty with yourself and your partner play huge roles here, and if something is turning into something else, it needs to be addressed ASAP or you risk destroying a friendship at the very least.  Get over the idea that a “Friends with Benefits” situation is going to turn into a loving relationship like the movies.   I’m not saying it can’t, but what’s more likely is that one of two will become attached and start expecting things that they shouldn’t (and for the record, that is not usually the woman, despite the stereotype.)  When that happens a decision has to be made.  Either the playtime has to stop, or you have to agree to stick to the “contract” (Like Christian Grey would if he weren’t in a sappy Twilight fan-fiction…)

Hooking up is not on par with “Making Love”.  There’s a lot to be said for the emotional connection and mental engagement that greatly enhances the act of sex itself.  Love is powerful, in many ways and definitely in bed.  However, if you find somebody you get along with and click with on a physical / sexual level, you take the time to study / learn them in bed (how can this not be fun!?) and you keep your head straight and attitude good about the situation, you’ll find that while it’s not love, it can be the next best thing: Mind-blowing, euphoria-inducing, stress-killing, ultra-orgasmic sex.

For more tips on casual sex done right, check out this post:

http://thegreyarea.org/2014/11/17/how-to-casual-sex/