What Does "Vagina" Mean? 7 Things You Need To Know About Vaginas, Because They're Amazing

Vaginas are like magical mystery machines. Full of awe and wonder, they can do things you wouldn't even dream of, like clean themselves. But if you're anything like me, you probably take your vagina for granted, like you do water or air. But your vagina is taking care of you all the time, whether you know it or not. Sex ed probably failed to teach you the basic vagina facts back in school. But even throughout history, our genitals haven't been getting the attention they deserve. Dr. Charles Mayo Goss even took out the clitoris (aka the part of your body that exists just for pleasure) for the 25th edition of Gray’s Anatomy in 1947. How messed up is that?

But as my friend Betty White said: “Why do people say 'Grow some balls?' Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” And I couldn't agree more. Go #TeamVagina.

From what the word "vagina" really means, to what it technically refers to. and even how (and when) they expand, here are seven things you definitely need to know to celebrate your vagina every day.

1. There's Only One Vagina

Giphy

First things first. Your vagina does not refer to your entire genital area. You’ve also got the vulva, cervix, and clitoris, among other parts. If you want to keep collectively calling all of your bits your “vagina,” then by all means, go ahead. But know the difference.

2. Vaginas Have Pleated Walls

Giphy

You know how an accordion or an umbrella can open and close because of its pleats? Well, a vagina is the same way. This, my friends, is how your vagina expands. So the next time you have sex and a penis, hand, or vibrator enters it, you can thank the old gal.

Ooh Classic Vibrator, $40, Babeland

3. Vaginas Can Fall Out

Giphy

I don't want to freak you out, but your vagina can fall out. Like an inside-out sock. Yikes! The condition is called pelvic organ prolapse, and it's when your vagina begins to fall out of its normal position. But don't worry — it's nothing that can't be fixed.

4. The Meaning Of "Vagina"

Giphy

The word "vagina" comes from Latin, and means "sheath for a sword." Let’s see if they use that one on Jeopardy.

5. Vaginas Are Self-Cleaning

Giphy

Vaginas clean themselves, kind of like a self-cleaning oven. So forget those douche commercials. In fact, discharge is the way your vagina cleans itself. These gooey secretions flush out cells, water, and bacteria that are up to no good. Just stick to scrubbing between the labia, and you’re good to go.

6. Vaginas Get Bigger

Giphy

Just like a penis! When you're excited, your vagina doubles in size, extending in length to accommodate a penis. This fascinating biological phenomenon is called tenting. All the more reason to wait until you're aroused to get things started.

7. Vaginas Like Exercise, Too

Giphy

And you don't even have to go to the gym. In fact, I'm doing mine now. Vagina exercises, otherwise known as Kegels, can be practiced anywhere — even while you're at work. Just tighten your muscles down there, as though you're trying to stop the flow of pee. Hold for 10 seconds, then release. Do five sets three times a day. A toned vagina can make orgasm easier, keep pee from dripping out, and make childbirth easier.

Minna kGoal Vibrator, $149, Babeland

Want more of Bustle’s Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our SoundCloud page.

Images: Franca Gimenez/Flickr; Giphy