Science, Now + Beyond

I had no idea what a urethra was until I got into a fight with my boyfriend

I had never heard of a douche, didn't know that people actually shaved down there, or that women had a "pee hole."

I grew up smack dab in the middle of a part of America that is nicknamed the “bible belt,” where “socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics.” Both my Muslim mother and conservative Christian father were very tight-lipped when it came to discussing “controversial topics” with their children.

I can’t remember ever having a conversation about sex, periods, or anatomy in general. Everything I knew came from novels or television. In addition to this, I received an abstinence-only sex education starting in the 8th grade where they forced the boys to leave the room so they didn’t learn about “female stuff.” Turns out they might as well have thrown me out of the room as well because I didn’t know a thing about “female stuff.” I had never heard of a douche, didn’t know that people actually shaved down there, or that women had a “pee hole.”

I had never heard of a douche, didn't know that people actually shaved down there, or that women had a 'pee hole'. Click To Tweet

How I found out? My ex-boyfriend.

I remember complaining about my tampon causing me pain one night because tampons are the devil and he asked me, “well did you put in the wrong hole?”  I remember thinking to myself, what a stupid question!

 Barack Obama throws hands up and with an aghast facial expression.]
Attribution: [Barack Obama throwing his hand up in a questioning manner with an aghast facial expression.] Via giphy.com
I asked him “what do you mean the wrong hole, there’s only ONE hole.” His response changed my world.

“Tiara, you have two holes down there. You know that…right?”

We argued for hours over this. My thought process was, how can some man think he can tell me about my body. Of course, I knew my body and I thought I would’ve noticed another freaking hole in it.

I did not notice the second hole.

Cardi B looks confused during grammys red carpet interview
Attribution: [Image Description: Cardi B looking very confused during Grammys red carpet interview.] Via giphy.com
It was scary to think I let conservative ideals and teaching leave me ignorant to my own body. Click To Tweet

We finally ended the argument when I  googled information about the vagina. Turns out there was that second hole called the Urethra and this was the hole women peed out of. I had honestly never felt so ashamed. The fact that my boyfriend had to teach me about my own anatomy and that I was a 20-year-old girl who could barely tell you a thing about her vagina was appalling. It was scary to think I let conservative ideals and teachings leave me ignorant to my own body.

It's time for us to reclaim our vaginas! Click To Tweet

So I took human sexuality and culture in college and received a proper sex education for the first time in my life. I’m finally able to move past the shame, especially knowing that so many women have no clue about their bodies, just like I didn’t. So here’s a quick comprehensive lesson that every girl should know.

1. Your vagina is not actually your vagina

Jenna Marbles looks up into the air in confusion
Attribution: [Image Description: Jenna Marbles looks up into the air in confusion.] Via giphy.com
The vagina is not the visible part of your genitals and is actually the internal canal, the outside parts are called the vulva.

2. The vulva comes in all shapes and sizes

Chris Rock points enthusiastically. caption: you want diversity, we got diversity
Attribution: [Image Description: Chris Rock points enthusiastically. caption: you want diversity, we got diversity,] Via giphy.com
You should not be ashamed of how your vulva looks because porn lies.

3. The labia are the lips that surround and protect your vaginal opening.

Man in swat gear pulls down his protective face mask
Attribution: [Image Description: Man in swat gear pulls down his protective face mask.] Via giphy.com
You’ve got the labia major (outer lips) and minora (inner lips). These come in all shapes, sizes, and colors as well.

4. Your clitoris is located at the top of your vulva.

Rihanna winks and laughs
Attribution: [Image Description: Rihanna winks and laughs into the camera.] Via giphy.com
It’s very sensitive, I think you’ve met – if not you should.

5. The hole you pee out of is the urethra

Man leans back in surprise
Attribution: [Image Description: Man leans back in his chair in surprise.] Via giphy.com
Right underneath your clitoris is your “pee hole” aka your urethra. Please don’t stick things in there before consulting a doctor on proper techniques.

6. Your vagina is self-cleaning.

clean up GIF
Attribution: [Image Description: A woman dancing around with big headphones on in her living room with a duster in one hand and mop in the other.] Via giphy.com
You don’t have to shove anything up there to be “sanitary.”

7. Vaginal discharge is completely normal.

Michelle Obama exhales in relief and is hugged by surrounding women
Attribution: [Image Description: Michelle Obama exhales in relief and is hugged by surrounding women.] Via giphy.com
It’s just your vagina doing that cleaning thing we talked about.

8. Kegels are useful but not for what you think.

Oprah rests her face on her hand, listening intently
Attribution: [Image Description: Oprah rests her face on her hand, listening intently.] Via giphy.com
Kegels strengthen your pelvic floor which is really healthy for you in the long run but they do not make the vagina “tighter.”

There is nothing wrong with understanding and loving your own anatomy. Click To Tweet

These are just a few facts to know but it’s important that we all get more personal with our own bodies. Society has made the female body into something taboo, but there is nothing wrong with understanding and loving your own anatomy. My favorite resource is a Facebook group called vaginformation that is dedicated to helping girls like me who have no idea about their own genitalia.

It’s time for us to reclaim our vaginas!