I remember when I was nine years old, before I knew what a period was or why people wanted to make babies, and… I started to get pubic hair. I’d never been more self-conscious and thought I was weird, that this didn’t happen to everyone and that the world had turned against my prepubescent body. This still happens to me, and to many women out in our world today. We are surrounded by aesthetics that everything in between our legs are supposed to adhere to, especially because not all sex-ed classes are created equal. If you’re wondering, “Is my vagina normal?” don’t worry – we’ve got all your sex-ed questions, answered.
Sex-Ed Crash Course
That’s all part your body right there. If this were sex-ed in middle school, you’d fill in some blanks right now – “Come on up girls and label your clitoris!”
Am I supposed to groom a certain way?
Pubic hair trends have changed over the years, from the bush of the 70s, the bikini wax of the 90s, to the Brazilian of now. So it’s easy to sit there and question what you’re supposed do in terms of grooming your pubic hair.
It’s also easy to resort to the stereotype that you need to wax all the hair off of your pubic area, but what if you were comfortable enough to do less work and spend less money? My best friend gets awful razor burn and she doesn’t remove all of her pubic hair; before I met her I had never met anyone that didn’t remove everything.
Try a razor made for the bikini area, like this one from Gilette Venus.
Then the more I thought about it, the more I adopted a style that benefitted me best, not that benefitted the people I was sleeping with. If your partner doesn’t respect your comfort level in this aspect of your own sexuality then you shouldn’t be sleeping with them.
So whether you choose to go all natural, trim, have a landing strip, or remove it all, it’s okay! Your vagina is beautiful, and hair is natural as well as a personal preference.
Do I smell?
Pop culture has made a “fishy” smell an incredibly negative way to address women. It’s easy to be self conscious about how you might smell when standards are constantly being set for your vagina.
But vaginas are magical! They’re self cleaning, so unless you have a certain condition, your natural scent is perfectly normal. Pheromones are produced to help sexual attraction, and to help a mother and baby connect. A strong smell generally indicates that something is wrong. You should ask your gynecologist if you find yourself with this issue, so that they can help you find a solution.
Cleansing your vagina improperly can also contribute to an unpleasant odor. There’s good bacteria that helps to cleanse your lady bits and if you participate in using a vaginal douche or wash the inside of your vaginal canal, you can kill that bacteria–which can only make things worse.
The best way to ensure proper hygiene and reduce a smell, or possibly an itch, is to use an unscented cleanser and only wash your vulva and labia. Before purchasing a cleanser, consult your gyno! They know best, and can help you resolve your individual concerns because not all pubic areas have the same issues. Everyone is created differently, but that doesn’t mean that you’re alone in your concerns and problems.
You can clean your vulva with gentle soap and water, or wipes like these.
Is it supposed to be this shape, color, and size?
As previously stated: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. Your outward vaginal appearance isn’t “wrong” in any way.
Labia majora and minora come in many different shapes and sizes. Perfection isn’t a standard you need to hold yourself to. Almost no one is completely symmetrical, not in their face, not on their breasts, and not on your outer pubic region.
There’s also the question of what the ideal vaginal area looks like. The answer is: there isn’t one. Porn has often created an unrealistic idea of what you need to look like physically. Many people think that you have to have a vulva that is evenly colored, a clitoris that doesn’t protrude visibly, and labia that are even. Every woman is created differently, and you don’t need to change yourself or be self conscious because of that.
It’s different after pregnancy…
After giving vaginal birth, your vagina changes. You’ve brought life into this world through it. That’s amazing! But it concerns many women that their vaginas have changed.
Concerns are always going to be different, but many mothers face a lot of similar questions.
However, know that it’s normal to experience vaginal dryness after childbirth because you produce a hormone that allows you to breastfeed, which also decreases libido and can produce vaginal dryness. Understand that 40% of women experience incontinence post-birth! And if you feel self conscious about sex and “tightness” after giving birth, know that there are exercises you can do to increase your vaginal strength (which will also help with incontinence!).
You can find some more post-pregnancy sex tips here.
Am I supposed to have this much discharge?
In short: Discharge is very normal. It’s your vagina’s way of cleansing itself. You should only be concerned if it is a color other than white, clear, or brownish (this generally indicates it’s your time of the month), or if there is a strong odor.
Do I taste good?
Our vaginas are naturally acidic, with a pH between about 3.8 and 4.5. Acidic foods are generally sour, so it’s completely normal for you to have a slightly tangy taste! Your vaginal fluids also depend on your personal hygiene, diet, and what time of the month it is for you. A balanced diet and adequate hydration are the best keys to keep every part of your body – even your lady parts – healthy and happy. If you’re still concerned with the way you taste then there are many flavored lubricants that can increase the pleasure of you and your partner’s experience.
Your body is beautiful. No matter what you look like, or how your body changes. A sexual partner should be accepting and respectful of your choices and your physical appearance. But if you’re worried about a hygienic issue, then the concerns you have should be discussed with a medical professional. Your own acceptance of your physicality is incredibly important. You have to understand that your pubic area is naturally beautiful!