By Stacey O. Avila, CCMA

The amount of misinformation out there and how much people feed into the myths and misrepresentation of the vagina can be extremely harmful. Feminine hygiene and purity seem to be the prime sources behind unhealthy vagina conversations. The vast majority of people with vaginas don’t know too much about the topic and that’s okay, considering most information out there is false or misleading. Pause and ask yourself for a second, What would happen if we spoke about vaginas more freely, openly, and correctly? Let’s start up a new thread based on shameless, positive fact sharing with the topic being about Vaginas!

In my efforts to normalize the spread of fact-based information about vaginas I have created a myth busters Q and A thread.

Vaginas should have a fruity or pleasant smell.

False: The vagina is a self-cleaning organ with normal bacteria to maintain its health. This bacteria has a natural musty odor. A vagina should smell like a vagina! Not a flower, or fruit, or anything else. Trying to clean your vagina with douching or additional cleansers can cause an imbalance in your vagina’s health causing infections like bacterial vaginosis or yeast. Avoid these infections by only washing your exterior genitalia (vulva) with a bar of plain, unscented soap. – Zoë Marcus, MSN, CNM,WHNP-BC

Vaginas bleed when you lose your virginity. (cherry pop)

False: “You may bleed your first time having intercourse, but it’s very normal if you don’t. Vaginas have a thin tissue that stretches across part of the opening. This is called a hymen. Sometimes when a person has vaginal sex for the first time, their hymen gets stretched open, which can cause pain or bleeding. But your hymen can also naturally stretch from things like sports, using a tampon, or putting fingers or other objects in your vagina. Whether you bleed the first time you have sex or not, it is completely normal!”

Frequent sex will loosen the vagina. 

False: When you’re aroused, your vagina becomes naturally lubricated, and it expands to accommodate. This all reverses once the arousal state is over. The vagina is an incredibly forgiving area, very rich in nerves and blood supply. Overall traditional penetration will not cause permanent stretching. 

Vaginal discharge is ALWAYS unhealthy.

False: Vaginal discharge comes from glands inside your vagina and cervix. These glands produce small amounts of fluid also known as vaginal secretions. The fluid flows out of the vagina each day, cleansing old cells that have lined the vagina. This is a completely natural process; it’s your body’s way of keeping your vagina healthy and clean. Discharge gives you information in regards to how your vaginal health can indicate an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your vagina, which can be a sign that something is not ok. If you have concerns make an appointment with your Midwife/OBGYN.

You should remove pubic hair to clean the vagina.

False: Pubic hair protects the vagina from harmful bacteria and pheromones. pubic hair is the first line of defense against invaders that can cause itchiness, irritation, and infections.

Vaginal penetration is the only way to orgasm.

False: Penetration does cause orgasmic arousal, yet it is not always the case with all individuals as climax can also occur with stimulation of the clitoris.

Seman does not affect vaginal floral.

False: While the vagina is acidic, Seman is alkaline therefore sperm can throw off an individual’s PH balance.