They're strange and wondrous things, female fiddly bits. Not only do they offer women great pleasure, they also have the capacity to put her through enormous pain. While many of us have taken care to learn a little about our own or our partner's vagina, there's no doubt that there are still a few things we could all learn. Here are just some of them:
The vagina is self-cleaning
It's a niftily designed little outfit down there. Whether after menstruation or sex the vagina actually cleans itself out through secreting a special saline and mucous solution. In fact, the vaginal ecosystem is a delicate one that shouldn't be tampered with - so avoid putting heavily scented soaps or creams up there. Even douching with water can cause problems. Rather, use an unscented, pH-balanced vaginal wash to keep things smelling clean down there and treat your vagina with the respect it deserves - it knows what to do.
Vaginal juice is better than man-made moisturiser
Your vagina secretes a really amazing component called squalene which keeps your vagina elastic and moist. Interestingly, squalene is used in cosmetics because of its great moisturising quality and because it doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy.
An orgasm is a good painkiller
Have a mild headache? Then what are you waiting for? Having an orgasm will work wonders to drive the pain away because it acts as an analgesic meaning that it helps make the pain disappear without that numbing effect.
Forget about the G-spot
Oh, we know it could be there, but so far, there's been very little conclusive evidence. Instead, focus on stimulating the clitoris and A-spot which is also situated inside her, but higher up - just opposite the cervix.
What's your flavour?
The fluids of your vagina tend to be influenced by what you eat. A healthy vagina shouldn't smell particularly strong, but might take on the flavour of your last meal. If that happened to be asparagus, then you're pretty much guaranteed to have a rather interesting smell down there, while the general rule is that eating pineapple tends to give your vagina a pleasant taste and smell.
It can fall out!
Yes, ladies and gentleman, ladies' fiddly bits can also go south when the going gets rough. It's called a vaginal prolapse and occurs when the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and part of the vaginal canal move downwards from their original place in the pelvis. Sometimes, part of the vaginal canal can protrude from the vaginal opening. It can occur to women who have had hysterectomies or have undergone traumatic childbirth. In extreme cases, surgery might be necessary, but often pelvic floor exercises are prescribed to try and help pull everything back into place naturally.
Women can ejaculate
Yes, the vaginal squirt is not the stuff of myths. During arousal women produce fluid which helps lubricate the vagina and make it easier to have intercourse. A build-up of this fluid at the time of orgasm can result in its expulsion as her vagina contracts in orgasm - ta-da! The female orgasm in a nutshell.
It gets longer when aroused
While the length and size of the vaginal canal varies, the average is around seven to 10 centimetres when not aroused. During arousal, the vaginal canal lengthens sometimes as much as double making sex a lot more comfortable and pleasant for both the woman and her partner.