The most common vagina myths and facts, busted
When it comes to periods and all things vagina, a surprising number of women feel too awkward to even talk about the topic, let alone ask any seemingly ‘embarrassing’ questions about it. And we get it, we truly do – society doesn’t exactly make it easy to talk freely about vaginas, does it? Which is exactly why there are so many vaginal myths floating around – because when you can’t clarify the real facts, the fiction starts to grow.
So in the interest of debunking the myths and encouraging more open discussion, we've listed and answered some of the most common questions about vaginas below. And remember, if there's anything you're ever uncertain about, the safest option is to always ask your GP (which is exactly why we went to ours for answers!).
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Can you still have sex while wearing a tampon?
Look, it is physically possible to have sex while wearing a tampon, but we can’t imagine it would be too comfortable! Do remember that it does not act as a contraceptive, nor as a barrier to sexually transmitted diseases so you’ll need to take the necessary precautions. And for the sake of pleasure, we do recommend removing it before intercourse.
Can a tampon get 'stuck' or 'lost' inside you?
A tampon can never get 'lost' inside you, however it can sometimes be difficult to remove if the string breaks or tucks up into the vagina. If that happens, simply wash your hands and then try and hook it out by putting a finger into the vagina.
(All quite normal)
What if I forget that I’m wearing a tampon?
If you forget that you still have a tampon inside and put another one in it’s not a problem- the vaginal tissues are very elastic, so there’s plenty of space. Either remove it yourself, or if you can't manage, visit a doctor, who will be able to remove it very easily.
Do you smell different when you have your period?
There is a change in the pH level in the vagina around the time of your period, so it may have a slightly different odour, but then again it may not. Either way, it’s not an odour other people will be able to smell.
Note from bh: If you're concerned about odour, keep some Summer’s Eve Daily Freshness Intimate Cleansing Wipes in your purse or pocket for peace of mind. And for the record, if you’ve heard the myth that animals can smell when you have your period, or that sharks can detect you when you’re swimming with your period that’s exactly what it is – a myth!
Does using a tampon for the first time break your hymen?
Your hymen is a very thin elastic tissue over the lower portion of your vagina. Sometimes using a tampon for the first time may 'break ' the hymen with a resultant spot of blood and possibly even some pain, but other times the tissue may just break on its own from playing sport, an injury or sexual intercourse.
Are you still a virgin if a tampon does break your hymen?
The definition of a virgin is a woman who has never engaged in sexual intercourse; so breaking the hymen with a tampon is not a loss of one's virginity.
Is it true that some women have to have their hymen broken by a doctor?
Yes, this may happen if the hymen is thicker than normal and can't be 'broken' naturally or by traditional sexual intercourse.
Does a vaginal discharge mean you have an STI or an infection?
Vaginal discharge can be quite normal and some girls/women may naturally experience more discharge than others. Likewise, if you have had unprotected intercourse, with or without vaginal discharge, we recommendsgetting checked/tested by a doctor to rule out the possibility of STIs.
Does an itchy vagina mean you have an STI or an infection?
An itchy and uncomfortable vaginal area is not uncommon, particularly when other factors are involved such as friction (from exercise), heat, and hormonal fluctuations during your period or menopause. It's also possible for itching to occur from an imbalance of pH, which is why some people opt for specific vaginal washes like Vagisil Sensitive Daily Intimate Wash. However, if external factors are not contributing to your discomfort, seek advice from your GP.
I don't seem to 'get wet' before or during intercourse - is there something wrong?
The natural lubrication of the vagina differs from woman to woman and also for each experience. It is also possible for this natural lubrication to decrease as we age. Producing less doesn't necessarily mean anything is wrong. Common causes are an inability to relax in the bedroom, dehydration or a hormonal imbalance.
bh recommends trying out a lubricant like Sensuva Erosense Aqua Water-Based Lubricant.
Can the vagina become 'loose' from too much sex?
The vagina tissues are very elastic, and although they do expand and constrict during intercourse, it's not possible for them to become 'looser' as a result. However, stronger pelvic floor muscles can be of benefit both in the bedroom and post-child birth.
bh recommends trying Alulah Poppy, a dual purpose toy that can help to tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and can also be used as a remote controlled internal vibrator.
Had you heard any of these myths before? Do you have any other vaginal fact/fiction questions you'd like answered