Whatever you call yours ladies you have to get to know her intimately for self-care self exploration and if you so choose, self satisfaction. I have jumped straight in the deep end so to speak to encourage a no way out or awkwardness aside approach. I have chosen now to discuss this topic for several reasons, all of which I will reveal to you along the way.
First we check in with self-care, yes your vagina is both self caring and self cleansing but it can only manage with your natural balance, anything else and its tipped over the edge. The edge smells, itches, discharges, burns, aches or a combination of all of those, so now do you see why its so important to know her at her best! I don't know about you but I was raised to wash mine with soap, well that was not the best advice, the truth is the outer body of the vagina can take soap, (still avoid anything too harsh) but the vulva (the vagina opening) and internally, this is a no go, your vagina will be acting up on a regular!
This is another reason why I want you to have this information, because before you jump to conclusions and beat up your partner, know all of the symptoms mentioned above can be without an STI. Remember what I said, your vagina has a fine balance and this can be interrupted for reasons such as change in products both what you wash and moisturise with and/or those you clean your clothing with. Next, lack of air, tight, clingy, chaffing or poor quality material can all unbalance the natural flora (bacteria) living in your vagina. These are all manageable things, that with a process of elimination you can remove or minimise to reduce the impact.
Vaginal dryness, excessive discharge and skin complaints are also possibilities. Each of these need their own diagnosis and treatment but again, no need to beat your partner over the head just yet! Dryness can be related to extreme hormonal changes like in pregnancy or menopause or emotional trauma. Whereas, excessive discharge can be in relation to sexual arousal, exercise, ovulation, birth control, bacterial vaginosis, thrush or even a mild prolapse.
There are numerous skin disorders that affect the vulva including folliculitis, contact dermatitis, Bartholin gland cysts, lichen simplex chronicus, lichen sclerosus, and lichen planus, each have various signs and symptoms and all need a diagnosis and treatment so don't be embarrassed or afraid see a health professional and be well.
Equally the signs and symptoms we discussed can all be due to STI's and so if the other possibilities are less likely then go get some self care from a professional who knows what they are looking for.
Let's move on, do you know your vagina? Now I am not asking you where it is, I hope even those with a few cobwebs to blow away know where it is, but do you know her, what she looks like what her parts are and what part they play in protecting her? For those that don't, I am going to give you a whistle stop tour of the 'mini moo' (what they are called in our house), you've been hiding!
The Vagina is made up of moving parts, the overall position may be fixed but its assembly is all moving, no they don't travel but their flexibility becomes clear when you start to explore, don't worry you can check that out for yourself later. So, here's one I drew earlier:
The drawing gives the female anatomy at its raw make up, many of us will have changes to this for different reasons including scarring from suturing after a surgical procedure or childbirth or FGM. Most of us will have various sizes, coloration and shape of each part of our vaginas and that is because it is ours, not the textbook version. Some have added tatoo's, some have piercings and others have had theirs surgically adjusted or beautified, whatever, your money lol! For free you can all grab a mirror and some privacy and take a look at your own, not now...when you finish the article, lol.
Whatever yours looks like it's made up of variations of the following, the labia majora, these are your outta lips, they are usually thick and act as a shield or covering, protecting the vagina opening known as the vulva. Then the labia minora, these are a pair of thin folds that form part of the vagina and they surround the clitoris, opening of the urethra, and vulva. The labia minora is usually darker in colour and thinner than the majora. The urethra is a tube that allows urine to pass outside the body and the opening is just above your vagina opening, you do not pee out of your vagina girls.
The vagina is an elastic, muscular canal. Its lining is soft and flexible which provides lubrication and sensation. The vagina is internally connected to the uterus, hence sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy. The final part for us to discuss is the clitoris , this is a sensitive area which is located at the top of the labia minora where the two edges overlap known as the clitoral hood. The clitoris is a powerful organ which is often left unfulfilled, mainly because women don't understand it and how it works for them.
The clitoris is known as the erogenous organ and this means it is the number one player when wanting to achieve sexual pleasure. From the outside it looks almost pea sized but actually the majority of it is internal and up to 5 inches long, wow, I know right! When it is aroused it becomes erect as blood rushes through it causing the area to change in colour and the vagina to open wider allowing for a deeper and prolonged sensation.
There is plenty of research that says less than 20% of women are able to have an orgasm with penetrative sexual intercourse alone. That means that over 80% of women are not engaging in the best possible sexual experiences they could have, with their partners. I know this level of conversation isn't everyones cup of tea but I have had enough women express to me over the years that they have never or rarely had an orgasim and this is why, we as Black women wont talk and therefore some will never know.
We all need to know, things like; we all have a smell, granted it should not be fishy, but the area is full of sweat glands so stop trying to make it smell like roses! Your vagina and its parts are not symmetrical, not even if you lie on your side, so please don't be offended if anything seems to lean one way or the other. Pubic hair acts as both a barrier and a collector of discharge, so if you get rid of it all, and I do like a wax, you may experience more symptoms from the imbalance in the environment.
Going commando is a beneficial thing, especially if you regularly wear tight fighting clothes, consider your safety when doing so, maybe in your home is best, but let her breathe. Also you vagina will change as you age, go through pregnancy and menopause so looking after is continuously with pelvic floor exercises and cotton undies is the least you can do Ladies!
If you find this topic difficult to broach I hope I have made it easier for you to understand and explore further, at a level that feels comfortable for you.
I hope you all know and understand your vaginas a little more, so you will be in a better position to identify changes, by recognising how it looks, smells, feels (sensations) and discharges, and act upon it. You also, now have the power, and the potential, to improve your personal experience of the female orgasm, by getting to know you, you're welcome!