6 Surprising Facts About Your Vagina

Your vagina has incredible healing powers.

Medically reviewed in July 2022

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Your vagina is a pretty incredible organ. It’ll let you know when you’re ovulating, grows during arousal and can withstand pushing out a 10-pound baby. As amazing as the vagina is, there are still a lot of questions that women are afraid to ask.

“It’s important for women to feel comfortable talking to their doctor about sex, reproduction and the vagina,” says OB/GYN Ma Lourdes Mina, MD at Coliseum Medical Centers in Macon, Georgia. “Often, people are embarrassed to ask questions because they think something is wrong with them. Many women think that they shouldn’t have questions about the vagina at all.”

Now is no time to be shy because we’re revealing six amazing facts about your vagina.

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Your vagina has incredible healing powers

“Your vagina heals well,” says Dr. Mina. Most of her patients who undergo their first delivery, especially vaginal deliveries, will experience tears in their vaginas. But for the vast majority of Dr. Mina’s patients, the tear is almost fully healed after only six weeks.

The healing powers aren’t limited to just childbirth either. Postmenopausal women who undergo vaginal surgery and use firming or estrogen cream after surgery can also usually expect a speedy recovery, says Mina. 

Why the amazing healing powers? The hormone estrogen helps thicken, moisten and strengthen the vagina.

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It’s self-cleaning

Myth: You should use home remedies like vinegar rinses or other vaginal products to clean your lady parts. Not so! In addition to healing powers, your vagina also has cleaning powers. Rinsing your vagina out with homemade or store bought cleaning products can contribute to bacterial vaginosis cases or urinary tract infections.

One good housekeeping rule to keep in mind: don’t clean internally, even during your period, says Williams. You can wash the outside of your vagina with warm water and mild soap, but do avoid scented feminine products as they can cause infections and irritation.

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Your anatomy may influence your orgasm

There are 4 different types of orgasms you can enjoy: vagina, clitoral, combination orgasm and multiple orgasms. However, about 95 percent of women are unable to achieve orgasms with vaginal stimulation alone. Most women need some extra help like nipple, clitoral or digital play.

If vaginal orgasms are tough to achieve, your own anatomy might be the reason. One 2016 study published in the journal Clinical Anatomy found that women who had about a one inch distance between their clitoris—the small, sensitive sex organ located at the opening of the vagina—and urinary opening would be able to achieve orgasm without additional stimulation.

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Kegel exercises really do work

Kegel exercises, where you squeeze and release the muscles that make up the pelvic floor, can help strengthen the pelvic floor around the vagina. The stronger these muscles are when you’re young, the more intact they’ll stay as you age, says Mina.

Want to give Kegels a try? Squeeze or tighten your pelvic floor muscles like you’re trying to stop yourself from urinating. Hold the contraction for 5 to 10 seconds, release and repeat.

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Your vagina grows when aroused

The vagina is typically about 3 to 5 inches, but when aroused it can actually double in length. This happens because more blood starts to circulate in the vagina during arousal. The added blood flow causes swelling in your lady parts, including the vagina, clitoris, as well as the inner and outer lips called the labia minora and labia majora. After achieving an orgasm, your vagina will tighten and return to its original size.

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More oral sex may mean more orgasms

It might—or might not—surprise you to know that heterosexual women have fewer orgasms than men, lesbians or bisexual women. In a 2017 study of more than 52,000 Americans published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers found that just 65 percent of hetero women usually or always climaxed during intimacy, compared to 86 percent of lesbians and 95 percent of heterosexual men.

So what can you do? The report explains that, in bed, women have more orgasms when they receive oral sex, ask for what they want and praise their partner for making them feel good. Sexual texts, anal stimulation and dirty talk can help things along, too.

Related: How to Feel Irresistibly Sexy by Tonight

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