The Deal Down There

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The Deal Down There

Everything you wanted to know about your vagina but were afraid to ask

Just because we have vaginas doesn’t mean we know enough about them and how they really work. There’s a lot that goes on down there, some of which can be embarrassing and a little scary. But don’t worry. We got you.

Vaginas aren’t meant to smell like roses. It’s really unfair, this unrealistic expectation that our vag is supposed to smell like roses. But if something smells off and you’re worried, try trimming your pubic hair and using gentle soaps like Dove. Just don’t douche; it makes the bacteria out of control and can make it worse.

Most discharge is completely normal. Discharge, which is a fluid from your cervix that helps flush out the vagina, is an important function and is completely normal. The amount, color, smell and consistency differ with each woman, with it being thicker during our ovulation. If your discharge smells foul and is burning, there could be an issue. Learn more about when discharge can be a problem.

Menstrual clots are normal. Many of us see blood clots in our pads or when we use the bathroom, so don’t freak out—it’s usually normal. These clots are nothing more than the lining of your uterus being flushed out. However, if the clots are really large and heavy, you need to talk to your doctor about it.

There isn’t one way a vag should look. Vaginas are like fingerprints; everyone’s are different, and that’s pretty amazing. So don’t worry if your vulva—the outer lips of your vagina—is big or hangs differently or if your clitoris is too big or too small. Just celebrate the beauty of you.

Masturbation is good for you. Did you know that your clitoris has more nerve endings than any other part of your body? That’s why that Big-O is the BOMB. So go ahead, explore yourself and have fun with whatever you have handy.

Sex shouldn’t hurt. If you like it a little rough, awesome, but sex shouldn’t hurt your vagina or cause a lot of pain. If it does even during gentle sex, there could be something going on and you don’t have to be embarrassed. Make an appointment with your gyno to get it checked.

STDs don’t always show symptoms in women. A lot of people feel like if they have a sexually transmitted disease they would know because your discharge or body would tell you. That isn’t always true. For a lot of people, STDs can show no symptoms. The only way to know if you have an STD is to go and get tested for one.

Work that muscle. Your vagina is a muscle that can lose its strength over time, especially if you are getting older or have had a few kids. The fix: Kegel exercises that work the pelvic muscles can help support the uterus, bladder and rectum. Even better: You can do it at your desk and no one will ever know. Learn more about Kegels here.

For more vagina tips, go to BET.

Roslyn Daniels