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  • Writer's pictureKaren O'Moore

Vaginas are awesome!


In our culture, our female genitalia are hidden and often perceived as shameful. Even saying the word itself comes with embarrassment and people will rather say 'private parts' or 'down there'. But this is our word, our body, our most essential place. In Sanskrit, the word for vagina is 'Yoni', which broadly means sacred cave or temple of sexual energy. Over the past year I have immersed myself in learning more about awakening female sexual energy so I thought this month, I will share some of the wonders of this exquisite, beautiful flower - the vagina

1. “Vagina” comes from the Latin root meaning “sheath for a sword.” Most of us use the word vagina to refer to a woman's genitals. But technically, the word describes only the narrow canal that runs inside the body from the vulva (the visible area that includes the inner and outer labia, clitoris, and perineum) to the cervix (the lower portion of the uterus). The vulva refers to the outside, visible parts. It encompasses basically everything you can see — the labia, the clitoris, the urethra, the vaginal opening, and so on — and it’s usually what most people mean when they say “vagina.”

2. There are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris, while the penis only has 4,000. This is why the tiny area is considered to be the most sensitive part of a woman’s erogenous zone. Powerful sensations can spread across a woman’s pelvic area by affecting 15,000 other nerve endings.

The clitoris is not a button — it’s more like a wishbone. When most people think of the clitoris, they think of the small visible part. But research indicates that it actually has branches that extend down underneath the skin, along either side of the vulva, kind of in a wishbone shape. These branches can potentially be stimulated from the outside. In fact the pelvic floor muscles can stimulate the clitoris even without direct contact.

3. Vaginas generally look alike. On the inside, that is...What does vary is the vulva. The clitoris ranges from 1 to 1¼ inches (including the hood), the outer labia can be barely there or a few inches long, and the inner labia, which are reminiscent of butterfly wings, might be hidden or hang past the outer lips. Most women's labia aren't perfectly symmetrical — one side is usually bigger than the other.

4. Vaginas expand up to 200 percent during intercourse or childbirth. When aroused, the vagina can expand to around twice its normal size. (Unaroused, the average vagina is about three to four inches deep). Vaginas are lined with ringed muscular ridges. This helps it expand when necessary, such as during intercourse or childbirth. That’s partially because of a process called vaginal tenting - when women become aroused, there’s more muscular tension in the body. That muscular tension draws the uterus upward, creating more space in the vagina lengthwise.Its walls are pleated. Usually, the walls of the vagina lie compressed against each other. But when they need to open—to accommodate a tampon or penis—the sides separate and widen, kind of like the way an umbrella opens or a pleated skirt unfolds.

5. It’s impossible to lose anything in a vagina. The opening of the uterus is too small for anything to go through it, unless you’re giving birth, of course. Before puberty, the uterus is about 3.5 centimetres (cm) in length with an average thickness of 1 cm. After puberty, its normal length is about 7.6 cm, and width is 4.5 cm, with a normal thickness of 3.0 cm.

A doctor once removed a potato that started sprouting vines out of a patient’s vagina. The patient told the doctor her mother said it would prevent pregnancy. In that case, mother didn't always know best.

6. Believe it or not, the first movie to use the word “vagina“ on film was Disney’s “The Story of Menstruation,” released in 1946.

7. Vaginas and sharks have something in common. They both contain the substance squalene. This exists in shark livers and is a natural vaginal lubricant.

8. The vagina can handle a pretty intense workout! A Russian woman Tatyana Kozhevnikova is reported to be the world-record holder for lifting the most weights – 14kg – with her vaginal muscles. She attached the weight to a wooden egg so her muscles could grab onto it. This gives Kegel exercises a whole new meaning. Kegels are seriously effective at strengthening the surrounding pelvic floor muscles for more intense orgasms. Could there be any better reason to exercise? Just as working your biceps firms up your arms, working your Pubococcygeus muscle — a main muscle of your pubic region — can tone up your vagina. Besides giving a tighter grip during sex, it also may make it easier to climax. Here's how to do Kegel exercises: Clamp down as if you're stopping your urine flow, hold for 10seconds, then release. Do 20 or so of these a couple of times a day and you will notice a difference in about a month.

9. Vaginas are also strong enough to clamp down on penises. This is known as penis captivus. It is a rare occurrence in intercourse when the muscles in the vagina clamp down with intensity on the penis, which makes it impossible for the penis to withdraw from the vagina.

10. Vaginas are self-cleaning, too. The vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions, or discharge. It is teeming with bacteria but the good kind that keep bad micro-organisms in check to avoid infection. One of these bacteria, Lactobacilli, is also found in yoghurt.

11. It tells you when it's the optimal time to get pregnant. The cervical mucus during ovulation is clear, rubbery, and stretchy. Strippers apparently earn more money when ovulating, probably because of sexually-stimulating pheromones they release at that stage of their menstrual cycles.

12. Not all women are born with hymens. And for those who do have hymens, they range in thickness and amount of coverage. What this means: You can’t actually tell if someone is a virgin or not by doing a “hymen check,”

13. Lesbians report having more orgasms than straight or bisexual women.According to a recent survey of 6 151 women and men, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

14. It allows for so many different types of pleasure. All those pleasure-packed areas in the vagina mean if you have one, you can have four, yes four, different kinds of orgasms (clitoral, vaginal, blended, and multiple). The highest number of orgasms achieved by a woman in 1 hour is 134. The highest number by an man in 1 hour is 16.

Vagina, you never fail to amaze me!

Karen O'Moore December 2014

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