I once had a friend tell me that a vagina is like a snowflake - unique and beautiful (what a guy!). Individual differences aside, each ladyflower still has plenty in common with her fellow coochies. Whether you’re a woman or a just a man who’s still mystified by the black hole that gave him life, it’s good to know what you’re working with. Here a few facts to set things straight. Did you know? (Some are pierced, some are tattooed, some are soft spoken and some are in your face! Check them out - and color them in - in the highly acclaimed "Big Coloring Book of Vaginas.")
The Vagina Is Just One Part of the "Apple Pie"We tend (and by "we" I mean everyone but a gynecologist) to use the word "vagina" to refer to the whole down-there package. Uh uh. The word vagina actually refers to the canal between the vulva and the cervix. In other words, it’s not what you see on "Girls Gone Wild." That honor is (generally) reserved for the external parts of the female genitalia, including the clitoris, inner labia, outer labia and perineum. If you need a map, check out this great infographic from Theirtoys.com.)
The Clitoris and the Penis Are One and the SameOr at least they start out that way. Through the wonders of science, we now know that the bundle of tissue that makes up a woman’s clitoris is the very same as the one that makes up the penis. Ditto for the testicles and ovaries, clitoral hood and foreskin ... you get the picture. We’re all the same, weird little peanuts until about the sixth week of gestation, when our sex cells begin to differentiate into male and female. The real question is, if men are from Mars and women are from Venus, how did we evolve with the same naughty bits? (Learn more about the penis in 10 Things You Don't Know About Penises.)
The G-Spot’s Really a C-SpotThe G-spot used to be a bit of a poontang poltergeist, as it were; it could rattle the roof, but geeky experts with funny instruments continued to seek proof of its existence. Well, now you have it: Proof. The G-spot is real. After years of fumbling around, a team at the University of L’Aquila finally found it in 2008. (For those who haven’t been so lucky, it’s on the front side of the vagina, not far from the belly button.) And, as it turns out, the G-spot is also right around the crura, or the deep part of the clitoris, which means that mysterious G-spot may just be part of the age-old go-to spot for orgasm anyway. (Learn more in "Vaginas: An Owner's Manual.")
There’s Also an A-SpotThere’s also a newly-discovered hot spot, and while it has a a very unsexy name - the "A" stands for anterior fornix erogenous zone - it’s believed to increase lubrication and stimulate intense orgasmic contractions. Sex researcher Desmond Morris described it as the female equivalent of the male prostate, and provides directions: Head toward the G-spot along the upper wall of the vagina toward the cervix to discover this sensitive and tender bit of tissue. Spot on!
It’s One Powerful Lady PartThere are all kinds of rumors about vaginal strength, power and control, but while the vagina has a power all its own, some strong ladies bring a whole new meaning to the phrase. Like Russian woman Tatiata Kozhevnikova, who (as of 2012) holds the world record for lifting 31 pounds using only her vagina. Because the vaginal walls are made of contractile tissue (ie. muscle), they can be trained to contract more strongly. But this isn’t (necessarily) done with record-breaking goals in mind - vaginal exercises such as Kegels or use of Ben Wa Balls can help improve a woman’s physical health - and improve the strength of a her orgasms.
It Only Does One ThingWhile the penis is a handy-dandy, multi-purpose man-tool (like a Swiss Army Knife!), the female clitoris and the bulbs of its vestibule (an internal organ) are the only body parts designed only for sexual pleasure. And that's the way women like it - a place for everything, and everything in its place.
It Can Fall OutRemember how we said that the vagina is not the whole package? Here’s where that becomes important, because a vagina can actually fall out (eek!). It’s called vaginal prolapse, and in severe cases the vaginal canal can actually protrude from the opening of the vagina. But don’t freak out - diet, fitness and Kegel exercises can help prevent it. It can also be fixed with surgery. (Check out this hilarious bit by comedian Wanda Sykes about what would happen if you could remove the whole package.)
Multiple Means a LotYou probably know that the "Big O" visits women more frequently than men. What you might not know is how many "multiple" really means. It’s an individual equation, but fortunately, enterprising young people continue to push the limits of human capability at Masturbate-a-thon events worldwide. In 2009, Deanna Webb rubbed out 226 orgasms for a world record. The year before the male title came (pun totally intended) with just 31.
The Fireworks Aren't Just for MenNot all women ejaculate, but it’s possible, and normal. During orgasm, some women release a milky fluid from the para-urethral glands inside the urethra. And although men may be the ones with the gun in their pants, women have also proved to be pretty good shots. The farthest (recorded) distance that a woman has ejaculated was more than 10 feet.
Size Doesn’t MatterThe average vagina is 3 to 4 inches long; the average penis is between 5 and 5.7 inches long when erect. Uh oh. Fortunately, a lady’s love canal can expand by up to 200 percent, which means there should be plenty of space. Heck, it can pass a baby. Trust us guys, it’ll fit.
It's amazing how much misinformation is out there about the vagina. Given how fascinated our society is with the female body, you'd think we'd be a little more informed. A 2010 Cosmo poll found that 60 percent of women didn’t know a lot about their vaginas. Well, ladies, we'll forgive for this one. As it turns out, there’s a lot to know.