For many of us girls, we constantly question whether our vagina and vulva are “normal”. We worry about whatever scent we have, how our pubic hair looks, and even stress over the normal vaginal discharge we experience on a daily basis. Society thrives on making fun of vulvas, and mocks them for being smelly and gross. When we watch TV or go on social media, references to “smelly fish” vaginas, or “roast beef curtains” flood our minds with doubt and self consciousness. But, your vagina is normal, and don’t let society tell you otherwise.

Your Vagina Smells Fine

Unfortunately, the vagina is often the laughing stock of most genital jokes. Because each vagina has its own distinct smell (whether fishy or not), it’s become a trend to make fun of the scent of vaginas. However, these scents are actually super important in determining the internal health of your vagina. If a scent comes off “fishy” or foul, that’s your body letting you know something internally isn’t quite right. Whether it be as minimal as you needing to take a shower, or, even a vaginal infection (like a yeast infection or an STI), a harsh smell down there is simply your vagina grabbing your attention to solve the problem. And no, vaginas don’t always smell like that. With proper hygiene and wearing cotton panties, your vagina won’t smell.

Your Pubes – Your Preference

Another genital insecurity is pubic hair. Women get such mixed messages about what should be done down there. Whether it’s a happy trail, completely waxed, or all natural, we have no idea what to choose when meeting new partners. For the most part, having natural pubic hair gets shamed. But, there are also people who don’t like hairless vulvas and claim they look prepubescent. Here’s an idea: do whatever you want with your pubic hair. Shave it all off, bleach it, wax it, let it grow, freakin’ braid it, vajazzle it! Who cares? It’s your pubic hair. It doesn’t belong to your partner, it should not be a make-or-break factor in a relationship. Do what you feel most comfortable with, and if your partner really has that much of an issue, leave them for someone who’s ready to accept your body as is.

Daily Discharge is Normal

Ladies, discharge is normal. The vagina cleans itself by producing discharge, so let it do its thing. Unless your discharge is particularly pungent, or a vibrant color (like yellow or green), your vagina is just maintaining a normal pH. Don’t scrub your vagina every time you see discharge. The more you scrub, the worse your discharge gets. Every vagina has a normal daily excretion of discharge. For some women it’s barely noticeable, and for others it can be visible in their panties. Some days your vaginal discharge might be thick, or other days completely unnoticeable. Vaginas are extremely sensitive. Depending on your recent sexual endeavours, the underwear your wore that day, or if you’re expecting your period, discharge will have slight variations. It’s all just the vagina’s natural way of regulating itself.

TIP: If your discharge is prominent everyday, or extremely thick, smelly, or neon in color: call your gynecologist. It may be a sign your vagina is trying to call out for help. Better safe than sorry!

Labia Come In All Shapes and Sizes

Stop making fun of labia. I’m so sick of hearing the term “roast beef” when applied to labia. It’s absolutely demeaning and disgusting that people make fun of someone’s natural body. Labia, just like vaginas, come in all shapes and sizes. Some people who have light skin have dark labia, and vice versa. Some labia are tucked in, while others dangle out. It does not matter what your labia looks like. Your labia does not affect the “tightness” of your vagina, nor does it make you gross to have external hanging labia. Because of the recent increase in labiaplasty (a surgery to modify your labia, generally to make it smaller), women now assume that a hidden labia is normal. It is normal, but what’s just as normal is to have a labia that is external. It says nothing about your sexual history, and you should feel confident your vulva is normal no matter what it looks like.

In conclusion, love your vagina. It bleeds every month, it self regulates its pH, it deals with whatever sexual endeavors or toys you’ve been trying recently. Don’t let society make you feel like your vagina or vulva isn’t normal. You’re going to have your own individual scent, pubic hair, discharge, and distinct labia. Appreciate your vagina for all it does for you, and give it some respect.

* * *

Editor’s Note:  Though the author used a cis-normative approach in the writing of this piece, at SGP we recognize that not everyone with a vagina or labia is a woman.