I’ve had a vagina for, well, my whole life, so I can speak from experience when I say that loving it isn’t a given. There’s, you know, misogyny, which is dedicated to making you believe that having a vagina makes you weaker, dumber, less valuable. There’s also a sex negative society that makes it a little too hard to get to know and properly care this part of the body.

But while I’m all for recent the movement toward vulva love and female empowerment, and I do think they have a huge effect on how people with vaginas see their bodies and, by extension, themselves, let’s be real: vaginas have their drawbacks. While, at least in theory, I think we should all celebrate when the uterus tears down the red wallpaper every month, in practical terms, it's messy. And, while I think it’s amazing that many vaginas can and do expel brand-new humans, that glorious and miraculous process has its downsides too. Plus, because vaginas are inside the body, it takes a little more effort and intuition to understand what’s going on in there. This is the tough side of vagina ownership, folks. It's just part of the package.

The good news is that along with a movement to celebrate and embrace the vagina has come a wave of things that have made having a vagina way more awesome. Here are a few.

Menstrual Cups

You don’t have to reach very far back into history to find some pretty heinous products designed to contain that monthly flow of period blood. Seriously. Disposable products like pads and tampons have only been around for the last 150 years or so (maxi pads were invented in the late 1800s while tampons in emerged in the 1930s. Before that it was rags, moss, and all manner of other things that in addition to being only moderately helpful in preventing you from ruining your clothes, also weren’t exactly comfortable right up against your most sensitive bits.

Enter menstrual cups. They’re relatively new as far as menstrual products go, and they’re definitely having a moment. And no wonder. They’re all the things we expect from modern things. They’re body-safe, they’re reusable (and therefore environmentally friendly) and they fix a lot of the problems that come with their closest competitor, tampons; you can wear them longer, they hold more, they present no risk of toxic shock syndrome and, in a few cases, can even be worn during sex.

Menstrual cups are pretty great, but they do take some getting used to. If you're looking for a very beginner-friendly option, try the INTIMINA menstrual cup. INTIMINA Lily Cups are ultra-smooth and can be rolled as thin as a tampon for easy insertion. Some of them even come in two sizes to ensure you get the best fit. You can choose from cups for beginners to period cups for mess-free sex.

Bring on the red tide, y’all. Periods are officially no big deal.

Vibrators

The fact that vibrators are available in department and drug stores reveals society’s acceptance of a fundamental truth: It’s normal to masturbate and a lot of people do it, including people with vaginas. Vibrators are hardly new, but the wider availability and acceptance of this and other sex toys is a societal shift worth celebrating.

And, guys, vibrators can make a vagina, vulva, and lots of other bits in between feel pretty awesome. When you are gifted an earth-shaking orgasm (or multiples!) from a great vibrator, you’ll be very glad to have a vagina indeed.

Kegel Exercisers

It’s funny that vaginas have historically been viewed as a mark of weakness, because the vagina is actually a tube of muscular tissue, one that intersects with a whole beautifully interconnect web of muscles called the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor helps support the uterus during childbirth; it also supports bladder function and even the low back. So, when those muscles are weak, it can mean bladder leakage, back pain and even more serious conditions like pelvic prolapse.

Fortunately, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can often help prevent or resolve these problems. And, because orgasm involves rhythmic contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, strong muscles means stronger orgasms too.

Kegel exercises are easy enough to do, but the Kegel exercisers that have recently appeared on the market have made the process more effective – and more fun. Plus, the fact that there are now numerous devices devoted to fixing a problem that was long overlooked by the medical establishment is pretty fucking awesome.

Want to give a Kegel exerciser a try? Check out our review of the INTIMINA KegelSmart.

Lube

It’s possible to be totally into the idea of sex and for your vagina to be, like, meh, and refuse to lubricate itself. Vaginas tend to have their own agenda. It might be hormonal, it might be stress-related, or it could just be mild dehydration. No matter what causes lack of lubrication, it’s totally normal. Fortunately, there’s a simple product that can save the day anytime, and you can get it at your local pharmacy: lube. Just be sure to choose one that’s free of harmful ingredients, OK?

A vagina that’s well coated in lube, whether it comes from your body or a bottle, is more likely to have a great time. It won’t get sore or irritated, which means more fun for longer – and no walking funny the next day. Lube is a simple invention that's been around for a while, but what's catching on is the idea that you can pull it out anytime to make sex better, without a side of shame.

The Slow (but Inevitable) Crumbling of the Patriarchy

Vaginas (and the people attached to them) still aren’t universally respected, valued and free from stereotyping, especially if you examine the issue globally. But there has been progress, and these products are proof. Vaginas are worthy of care and attention, enough so to warrant research and development designed to make having one more fun. The fact that these changes are happening right now is a (small) sign of the decline of the patriarchy. And if you have a vagina, or love someone who does, that should make you very happy indeed.

Looking to buy a menstrual cup? Get yours at your nearest Target or CVS store!