Don’t put wasp nests in your vagina!
Don’t seal your labia with glue!
Don’t put glitter anywhere down there!
Astonishingly, all three of these warnings have popped up on my Facebook feed in the past several months. Clearly, we are failing miserably at teaching girls about biology and anatomy down under (and by down under, I don’t mean Australia, although vaginas are pretty much the same no matter what hemisphere they’re in and whether they can identify Vegimite on sight).
It doesn’t help that in addition to vaginal internet trends, all kinds of crazy “information” comes from the non-labial lips of male-identifying male people of the male persuasion. On the one hand, there are men who believe women can “hold in” their menstrual blood when they want to in order to go swimming, or make themselves more “pleasant” during sex. On the same (probably just finished masturbating) hand, there are guys who insist that the vagina comes with a switch that allows it to shut down and not get pregnant under traumatic circumstances, such as rape or eating a meal at a table next to Donald Trump.
In order to prevent you from mistreating your lady bits, I – a 61-year old woman with a 61-year-old vagina (yes, I do still have one!) and a degree in health education – have created the following quick quiz. By the end, you won’t know what celebrity you most resemble or what your pirate stripper name would be, but you will understand the real estate on your south side a little better.
1. Your vagina most resembles:
a) a refrigerator
b) a stove
c) a microwave
d) a toaster oven
The answer is none of the above. Your vagina is filled with living tissue that changes from day to day and can neither be plugged into a wall or unplugged. (If any of your kitchen appliances are filled with living tissue, please contact a therapist, a professional cleaning service, or your local sheriff). For this reason, you should not put any kinds of food (not carrots, not tater tots, not Hot Pockets) nor condiments into your vajayjay.
2. Your vagina should smell like:
b) peanut butter
c) a pine tree
d) absolutely nothing
Again, the correct answer is none of the above. Everyone’s vagina smells different and yours can take on different aromas depending upon your diet, the weather, or how long you’ve been dancing in those pleather pants. So don’t go comparing smells with your girlfriends’ vaginas – unless you both think that’s fun. Then do whatever you want.
3. The best way to clean your vagina is with:
a) soap and water
b) alcohol (preferably gin)
c) a power washer
d) nothing at all
The answer is D, nothing at all. Unlike your children or dog, your vagina cleans itself. Feel free to soap up your labia and clitoris (especially if it’s raining outside and there’s nothing good streaming on Netflix), but don’t squirt anything up inside. Not, not even Squirt. Or Lysol (yes, believe it or not, Lysol was once marketed as a vaginal cleaning product).
4. If you really, really don’t want to have your period on a certain day because you have big plans and don’t want to have to deal with it, your best bet is to:
a) become menopausal right now!
b) think non-period thoughts
c) conjure up images of your grandmother
d) stand on your head for 5 hours
The answer is A, but menopause will bring its own problems – can you say night sweats? As much as we’d like to think we have some control over when and where (and how and why and with whom) our bodies shed blood and uterine lining, the truth is our vaginas do what they want. Mine went out and got a tattoo last Saturday! While there are some forms of birth control that can reduce the length of your period or the heaviness of flow, those products can’t stop things once they’ve started. Neither will glue, a clothespin, refusing to stand up in order to defy gravity, or extreme Kegels. You just have to go with the flow – literally.
5. If you put a jade egg or a crystal in your vagina, what will happen?
a) you’ll get three wishes
b) you could increase your chance of getting an infection
c) your eyes will change color
d) Gwyneth Paltrow will get even richer
The answers are B and D. The basic rule is DON’T STICK RANDOM THINGS IN YOUR VAGINA. Things that are okay: a tampon (but opt for organic), a penis, a penis with a condom, fingers, lube meant for vaginas, appropriately sized and shaped sex toys, a child exiting. Things that are not okay (in addition to those listed already): baggies of cocaine, someone’s elbow, penis-like veggies, Scrabble tiles, marshmallows, quarters for the meter… basically, if you have to ask, don’t stick it in your vagina.
6. The best way to gussy up your lady bits is with:
a) a feather boa and Mardi Gras mask
c) a fancy shave job
d) a few throw pillows and a rug that doesn’t have to match the curtains unless you want it to
The answer is C. You shouldn’t really put anything on the outside that could end up on the inside. This includes glitter, powder (which has been linked to cancer), pink salt crystals, truffle shavings, or tiny garden gnomes. If you absolutely want to decorate the entrance to the cave, go the shaving route, but we aware that bare skin increases your chance of getting an STI. Maybe put down the razor and try some styling – a bouffant or mustache perhaps?
There you have it, everything you need to know about what not to put on, in or near your nether regions. And remember this basic rule: There is no Vagina B, so treat the one you have as nicely as possible.