8 V-interesting Facts
This month isn’t just about education, our southern reaches hold some very interesting facts and here’s eight you can equip yourself with!
1. What’s in a name?
The etymology here is instructive. Clitoris is from the Greek Kleitoris, which meant a latch or key for a door, indicating that the ancient anatomists considered it the ‘key’ to female sexuality. Vulva is Latin for wrapper. Vagina is Latin for sheath, such as a holder for a sword. The Latin word for sword, is Gladius, which was a common term for a penis.
2. Iceberg ahead! I mean … clitoris ahead.
While it may look small, the part of the clitoris we can see on the vulva is just the tip of the iceberg and the rest of the organ spreads internally and can be as long as 12cm! Mostly invisible below the surface, wrapping around the vaginal tunnel and extending out towards the thighs. All that fabulous magical stuff actually happens beneath the surface.
3. The link between vaginas and sharks …
Although that time of the month is affectionately called Shark Week, you wouldn’t normally compare your vagina to Jaws. But did you know both contain squalene, a substance which is both present in shark liver and natural vaginal lubricant?
4. The vagina is self-cleaning … if only the house was!
An army of specialised bacteria exist for the sole purpose of keeping your vaginal pH at an optimal level to ward off other hostile bacteria. Your vagina cleans itself naturally; this is what discharge is. It is totally normal to see discharge in your undies at the end of the day. This is the result of your vagina’s cleaning efforts. Cleaning your insides with techniques like douching are a bad idea because they can throw off this natural balance, leading to problems like bacterial vaginosis and infection. You do need to wash the externals like your labial folds and the perineum though. Just ensure it’s with a natural, toxic free soap for the reason you’ll learn next …
5. Vulva and vagina absorption.
You might be surprised to know that the vaginal eco system is more absorbent than typical skin and is an important link to your body’s health. The vaginal canal is richly endowed with blood vessels and produces mucus that protects against and washes away harmful microorganisms. However as a mucous membrane, the vagina is capable of absorbing fluids at a higher rate than skin, as are some of the external portions of the vulva, including the clitoris, clitoral hood, labia minora and urethra.
Because the vagina and vulva rapidly absorb chemicals without metabolising them, researchers have even explored the possibility of delivering drugs vaginally. It’s not just women that need to be concerned, the highest absorption rate on a male’s body is the scrotum. It is 100 times higher than the lowest absorption rate elsewhere on the body.
6. Vaginas are supposed to have a smell.
The vagina contains a highly specialised army of bacteria that work round the clock to keep your vaginal pH healthy and balanced. Like other bacteria, these do have a smell. So that oh-so-special tanginess you occasionally get a whiff of is totally normal and nothing that needs to be covered up by scented body washes or perfumes. Of course, if you’re noticing a new scent that’s odd or pungent, you should see a doctor.
7. You can’t lose a tampon, or anything else in your vagina.
Ever had a moment of panic during sex when you realised you had put a tampon in that morning? Yeah, most of us have been there. But don’t worry, your tampon will only go so far, it can not escape to the uterus as the top of the vagina is simply too small. At the deep end of your vagina is your cervix, the bottom portion of your uterus. During childbirth, your cervix dilates—opens up—as the baby passes through. But the rest of the time your cervix stays closed.
However, forgetting about a tampon for days or even weeks may start to give off a rotten, dead-like smell. It’s totally safe to try to extract a forgotten tampon yourself, however if it has slipped out if reach you may want to see a doctor. Leaving it in there for too long can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
8. One to make the men jealous—the clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis.
The clitoris has over 8,000 nerve endings, that’s double the nerve endings found in the penis which only has 4,000. This tiny area is the most sensitive of a woman’s body—all the more reason to give your clitoris the attention it deserves.
This month we've partnered up with Eco Cheeks—makers of unbleached, bamboo toilet tissue—to celebrate and educating self-care for down there!
Stay tuned for what happens when things go wrong next week! X
P.S. Look out for your Eco Cheeks 10% off gift with every Nat'v order this month!