A celebration of all things vagina!

Happy Vagina Awareness Day! Today is the day to celebrate and appreciate one of the most important parts of our bodies: the vagina. Despite being an essential organ for female health and sexuality, vaginas are often shrouded in shame and taboo. But there’s so much more to this amazing part of our anatomy than meets the eye. Let’s take a deeper dive into the fascinating world of vaginas, exploring everything from their history to their functions, and more.

Firstly, let’s clear up a common misconception: the vagina is not the same thing as the vulva. The vulva refers to the external genitalia, including the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. The vagina, on the other hand, is a muscular canal that extends from the vaginal opening to the cervix of the uterus. Knowing the difference between the two is essential for understanding your anatomy and taking care of your sexual and reproductive health.

The word “vagina” has a complex history, with its origins dating back to ancient Rome. In Latin, the word “vagina” literally translates to “sheath” or “scabbard,” which was used to describe a sword holder. This association between the vagina and a weapon holder reflects the patriarchal view of women’s sexuality as a tool for male pleasure and reproduction. Women’s bodies have been historically viewed through a male lens, with female sexuality being framed as something that exists for male pleasure and reproduction.

Throughout history, women’s sexual pleasure and desires have been ignored or dismissed. Women’s sexuality has been viewed as a threat to the patriarchal order, and women’s sexual pleasure has been seen as taboo or sinful. This is reflected in the way that the vagina and vulva have been depicted in art and popular culture. For example, in Renaissance art, the vulva was often portrayed as a symbol of lust and temptation, rather than as a natural and healthy part of the female anatomy.

Even today, the taboo surrounding women’s sexuality persists. Women are often shamed for their sexual desires and experiences, and vaginas are more often associated with shame (whereas breasts tend to symbolize sexuality more). This contributes to a culture of silence and shame around women’s sexual health and pleasure.

However, it’s important to recognize that the vagina is so much more than a mere tool for male pleasure and reproduction. The vagina is a complex and amazing organ that plays a crucial role in female health and pleasure. The vaginal walls contain numerous nerve endings that can lead to intense pleasure and orgasm when stimulated. In fact, the clitoris, which is often referred to as the “pleasure button,” is actually much larger than what is visible on the surface of the vulva, and extends into the vaginal walls.

One of the most amazing things about the vagina is its ability to expand and contract during sexual arousal and childbirth. When a woman becomes sexually aroused, the blood flow to her genital area increases, causing the vaginal walls to swell and lubricate. This process can increase the length and diameter of the vagina, allowing for comfortable penetration and pleasure. During childbirth, the vagina can expand even more, stretching to accommodate the baby’s head as it passes through the birth canal.

But the vagina is not just a “passageway” for sex and childbirth. It also has a crucial role in maintaining vaginal health. Vaginas are self-cleaning organs that have a natural pH balance. The acidic environment helps to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast, keeping the vagina healthy and free from infections. However, factors such as hormonal changes, harsh soaps or chemicals, medication, and stress can disrupt the vaginal pH balance, leading to discomfort and infections such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.

It’s also worth noting that every vagina is unique. Vaginas come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, and no two are exactly alike. The appearance of the vulva and vagina can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and childbirth. It’s important to embrace and love your unique anatomy and not compare it to unrealistic beauty standards. It’s also safe to assume that your vulva or vagina are not “weird” or “different”, but are very likely a variation of the wide scope of normal.

The vagina is an amazing and complex part of the female anatomy that deserves to be celebrated and appreciated. By understanding and embracing our own bodies, we can challenge the patriarchal views that have shaped our perceptions of women’s sexuality. We can learn to love and appreciate our unique anatomy, and recognize that women’s sexual pleasure and health are just as important as men’s. This starts with education and open communication about women’s bodies, sexuality, and health, and breaking down the stigma and shame that surrounds these topics. So, take some time today to learn more about your amazing anatomy and celebrate your beautiful and unique vagina!


Aronson, Stanley M. A pelvic vocabulary. Medicine and Health Rhode Island; Providence Vol. 86, Iss. 1, (Jan 2003): 30.

Levin, R.J. The Physiology of Sexual Arousal in the Human Female: A Recreational and Procreational Synthesis. Arch Sex Behav 31, 405–411 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019836007416

Williams, N. E. (2019). This is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That. Seal Press.

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