Many of us learned the bulk of information about puberty and periods during a few sexual education classes in middle school, and through the hushed conversations with peers that followed. Though hundreds of millions of people menstruate, the topic is treated as taboo across the globe. Not only are periods treated as off-limits, but vaginas as a whole are highly stigmatized — in real life and in film. Due to this discomfort surrounding reproductive health, many people feel too ashamed to speak about their vaginal health, and too ashamed to ask important questions about it.
This leads to a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding vaginal health — a 2016 survey from nonprofit organization The Eve Appeal revealed that 44 percent of British women were unable to identify the vagina or reproductive system on an image. Moreover, another 2016 study, from the sex toy brand Womanizer, showed people had many misconceptions about their own reproductive systems, with 73 percent of participants polling they would opt not see an OB/GYN over an ingrown hair — even if it had the potential to actually be an STI (like a herpes sore).
Having an understanding of your natural bodily functions and vagina is super important to maintaining your health, so here are eight things your OB/GYN wish you knew: