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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Pillowtalk – What should I know about my vulva?

Pillowtalk+-+What+should+I+know+about+my+vulva%3F

Hi Pillowtalk,

I know about basic genital anatomy I guess, but I get mixed answers when I try to figure out what I should know about my own body. How do I check my cervix? Is it important to be tracking my cycle? What is the g-spot and how do I use it? That kind of thing. Any help? I guess this mostly goes for people with vulvas like myself.

There’s a lot of information out there about how bodies like yours work, but exactly how your body works is something that’s yours to figure out. I’ll give you some places to start, and I’ll make a separate piece for those with a penis.

At this point, you probably know that you have a separate urethra for pee, an anus for poop, and a vagina for everything else (blood, discharge, babies). What you might not know is what’s underneath the skin: a collection of glands and spongy tissue with lots of sensitive spots. 

The clitoris, located above the urethra and at the very top of the vulva, extends back with two long roots and two squishy bulbs into the body; these bulbs sit under your vulva and probably have a lot to do with the “G-spot,” which can be accessed via the vagina about two inches up and toward the front; it’s a rough patch that usually responds to being pressed on or stroked. It also interacts with your urethra, which is why some people think the G-spot has a lot to do with squirting.

You can reach up and feel your cervix anytime with a finger or two. Use some lube to help out if you’d like. It can feel like a puckered spot near the top of the vaginal canal. When you’re ovulating (fertile), it’ll be higher up and softer, squishier. When you’re menstruating (on your period), it’s lower and firmer, like puckered lips or the tip of a nose. Be familiar, just in case you’re in a situation where you need to know if you’re at particular risk for pregnancy (although remember, sperm can live inside you up to seven days) or if you’re about to start your period.

You have more than just your Kegels. Definitely exercise those, but if you’re having any pain with penetration or issues with urinating, talk to a pelvic floor therapist. They can tell you all about your other pelvic floor muscles and how to keep them in shape.

Get a sense for how sensitive you are to certain things. Try out different lubes (water-, silicone-, or oil-based) to see if any are itchy or don’t work well for you, make sure you know if you’re allergic to latex, and make sure you pee after sex. Particularly if you have frequent UTIs or yeast infections, pay attention to what you’re wearing (tight, sweaty clothes are risky), where you’re swimming, et cetera. Figure out where the tricky folds are to clean and make sure you run them under water in the shower. 

Over the course of your sexual life, you’ll naturally learn things about the way your body experiences pleasure and the things that can help you get there. Pay attention to patterns: is it ever painful to have sex, or to orgasm? If so, where is it painful? Do you prefer your clitoris be stimulated from the top or the bottom? How deep before penetration gets painful? How wet do you usually get?

See if you can play around with different toys or sensations and gauge your preferences. Maybe you like a low rumble better than a high buzz when it comes to vibrators! Maybe you like oral better when you’re wearing a dental dam or something like Lorals. This will help you communicate your preferences with partners and help you facilitate your own pleasure!

This might be controversial or sound funky, but I would recommend tasting yourself sometimes when you have discharge or get wet. It’ll help you figure out what’s normal for you throughout your cycle, and identify when things are tasting, feeling, smelling, or looking different. Get super familiar with your underwear stains.

Take a mirror to your vulva and anus. Are there skin tags? Hemorrhoids? Scars? Ingrown hairs? Bumps under the surface? What color are your labia and your clitoris, and what color do they turn when you’re horny? Again, we’re cataloging now so that you’ll notice any changes in the future.

There’s more, of course, but this is a good place to start. Good luck, have fun, use lube!

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