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Does Vagina Size Matter?

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

Vaginas stretch to accommodate what’s inside them, and loose vaginas are a myth.


Article by Mysterious Witt

Dec 10 2019 at Medium // Grace Health


Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

The typical depth of a woman’s unaroused vagina ranges from 2.75 to 3.25 inches. When she becomes aroused, her vagina lengthens to measure from 4.25 to 4.75 inches.

Surprise, surprise — just like a man’s penis grows in length when he’s sexually excited, a woman’s grows in depth.


Her vagina also dilates, and her clitoris and vulva increase in size. Her cervix lifts slightly to accommodate an erect penis being inserted inside her.

The average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches long. A vagina can accept an even larger penis though.


This is because the vagina is “like a balloon,” says Lissa Rankin, MD, author of What’s Up Down There?


“Remember, the vagina was made to birth babies,” says Dr. Rankin, “so it’s exceedingly elastic.”


Christine O’Connor, MD, Director of Well-Woman and Adolescent Care at the Institute for Gynecologic Care at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, agrees.


Of the vagina, Dr. O’Connor says: “It doesn’t stay one particular size. It changes to accommodate whatever is going on at that time.”


Can vaginas become “too loose” from too much sex?


The idea that a vagina can become permanently stretched out from too much sex is a myth used to shame sexually liberated women.


“Intercourse does not permanently stretch the vagina,” writes Michael Castleman, a sex and health writer, in his article on Psychology Today entitled, “The Rare Truth About ‘Tight’ and ‘Loose’ Women.”


Instead, just like a penis returns to its non-erect length once a man is no longer aroused, a vagina also returns to its unaroused size.


Castleman adds: “This process, loosening during arousal and tightening afterward, happens no matter how often the woman has sex.”


Does childbirth loosen a vagina?


Even childbirth does not stretch out a vagina permanently. While giving birth, a woman’s vagina stretches to allow a baby to pass through it. Afterward, the vagina eventually shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy state.


Still, some women report feeling “loose” after giving birth.


“The vagina can feel looser, softer and more ‘open’,” says Dr. Suzy Elneil, consultant urogynecologist and uro-neurologist at University College Hospital, London. As a means to make a vagina feel tighter again, Dr. Elneil adds, “We always recommend pelvic floor exercises.”


Pelvic floor exercises, called Kegel exercises, help tone weak muscles to create a less loose-feeling vagina.


According to Michael Castleman:

“Kegels do, indeed, tighten the vagina, but they have nothing to do with the vaginal muscles. They strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina.”


The exercises also allow for more flexibility. Ellen Barnard, MSSW, co-owner of A Woman’s Touch, recommends Kegels for that reason:

“Otherwise you may find that these muscles are stiff and inflexible, which will also get in the way of comfortable penetration when you are ready to have it.”


Vaginoplasty


Unfortunately, some women still buy into the myth that vaginas “stretch out” after childbirth. They allow themselves to be sold dangerous procedures by plastic surgeons, such as vaginoplasty, that promise to “tighten up” a vagina.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, however, warns against cosmetic procedures such as vaginoplasty.


“Absence of data supporting the safety and efficacy of these procedures makes their recommendation untenable. Patients who are anxious or insecure about their genital appearance or sexual function may be further traumatized by undergoing an unproven surgical procedure with obvious risks. Women should be informed about the lack of data supporting the efficacy of these procedures and their potential complications, including infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia, adhesions, and scarring.”


Because there’s no conclusive evidence that vaginoplasty can even tighten a vagina, women should steer clear of such procedures. This is especially true, seeing that vaginoplasty is dangerous and unnecessary.


If a woman is feeling “loose,” she should just do Kegels.


The husband stitch


Even more disturbing is the practice of the “husband stitch” — an extra suture that doctors have been known to sew into the vaginal opening following an episiotomy.

An episiotomy is a procedure that allows the baby’s head to push quickly through the vaginal opening during birth. The doctor makes an incision into the posterior wall of the vagina to create a larger opening.


When the doctor sutures the incision after the birth, some physicians put an extra stitch to tighten the vaginal opening. This is ostensibly to create more pleasure for the father, though there’s no conclusive evidence that a smaller opening fulfills that purpose.

Instead, women have complained of excruciating pain as the result of being sewn too tight after an episiotomy.


According to Stephanie Tillman, a midwife at the University of Illinois at Chicago and blogger at The Feminist Midwife:


“The fact that there is even a practice called the husband stitch is a perfect example of the intersection of the objectification of women’s bodies and healthcare. As much as we try to remove the sexualization of women from appropriate obstetric care, of course the patriarchy is going to find its way in there.”


Dr. Heather Rupe, a board-certified OB/GYN in Tennessee, also warns against the practice of stitching up a woman’s vaginal opening after an episiotomy to be smaller than it is naturally.


“Sexual function is not related to the tightness of the skin, but rather, the underlying muscle tone of the pelvis. So, adding unnecessary tension to the skin at the vaginal opening is not going to improve anyone’s sexual satisfaction — it’s only going to cause the woman pain.”


So again, to “tighten” a woman’s vagina after birth, Kegel exercises are the answer, not a “husband stitch.”


Can a vagina be too tight?


Sometimes a woman’s vagina can be “too tight” though. This is typically the case when a woman isn’t aroused enough.

According to Michael Castleman in his article on the subject:

“Most women require at least 30 minutes of sensuality — kissing, hugging, and mutual massage — for their vaginas to relax enough to allow the penis to slide in comfortably.”

Otherwise, when a man penetrates a woman, she will be “too tight” and this will cause pain for her.

Unfortunately, the mythical “tight” vagina of the virgin female has more to do with her fear of being penetrated for the first time than it does with her vagina’s structure.

Men should not aim to penetrate a woman until she’s ready.

Castleman succinctly opines:

“A man who attempts intercourse before the woman is fully aroused — before her vagina has relaxed and become well lubricated — is either sexually unsophisticated or a boor.”


Size doesn’t matter


Though vaginal size does vary between women, just like penis size does for men, satisfaction during sex has more to do with communication between partners than it does with the size of either partner’s genitalia.

Size doesn’t matter. Adequately turning on your partner and selflessly helping them to achieve orgasm does.


#female health

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