As the thirty year old owner of a vagina, I’d really love to think I kind of know what I’m doing with it. Like not necessarily in a sexy way, but just; I know how this works. But lately, I’ve discovered I really don’t.
To that end, I decided to write a post about some things I’ve been pondering lately. I polled some other people with vaginas and discovered that actually, a lot of my misconceptions are very common, so I didn’t feel quite as horrifically embarrassed as before. Thus, the following, to address some of the myths and legends perpetuated about vaginas.
- Cis women get wet immediately and with little stimulation
Ok so this is a sex one, and one I’ve known to not be a blanket truth for quite some time. But it’s a myth that is perpetuated throughout a lot of popular media, and it makes me cross, because it leads to people whose vaginas don’t react like this feeling like they’re “not normal.”
Confession: I read a lot of romance novels. I know, it’s not something I’m super proud of, but it’s something I enjoy. I like that I get a guaranteed happy ending (ha), and I like trash that doesn’t make me think too much. I do enough of that as it is.
However, what I don’t like it that the women in these novels – every. single. one – has a spontaneous panty geyser if the love interest so much as looks as them. I mean, honestly. If that happens for you, that’s awesome, I’m stoked for you. But it’s never happened for me in my life, no matter how attracted to someone I was. And I’m really fucking sick of this trope.
It’s dangerous for mental, relationship, and physical wellbeing to imply that foreplay can be skipped. It does people a huge disservice to perpetuate the idea that fit’s a nice-to-have rather than an actually very important thing to do to ensure the vagina is ready (in the case of penetrative sex anyway) and doesn’t suffer damage.
Please. Stop the panty geysers. This is getting ridiculous.
2. All cis women have lower libidos than all cis men*
Again, this is a blanket assumption that can make cis women feel broken when they don’t want to have sex all the time – even though they’re being told that’s “normal” for women. If women want to have sex more than they feel is “normal,” they can get stupid, sexist, harmful labels applied to them. And if cis men don’t want to have sex all the time, they can feel abnormal or less masculine.
It ignores all nuance, all context, and is basically just a mindfuck to make people feel bad and put extra strain on relationships.
I am very very very sick of memes that invite people to laugh over women inventing excuses not to have sex. If someone doesn’t want to have sex, they don’t owe you an “excuse.” They don’t owe you anything at all.
These memes perpetuate that it’s “normal” for men to be sexually unsatisfied and women to be sexually pressured. Which is just fucked up. It’s really hard to articulate all the thoughts I have around this. I’m very close to the subject – this is something I internalised at a young age and it had deeply negative effects on my relationships, self-esteem, and mental health. It’s something I still struggle with.
On a slightly different angle, having a mismatched libido shouldn’t necessarily be ignored as a smoke signal for your relationship.
Whoa ok this is going way deeper than I meant to go!
* I’ve been clear that I am talking about cis people here, because my understanding of trans experiences is not enough for me to feel ok about writing for them. I certainly do not want to exclude their experiences, I’m just really hesitant to invade someone’s privacy to ask about it, or to write something that is wrong or blanket-statement. If you are a trans person and would like me to include something, you can email me.
3. So, the vagina. Straight tube with a mostly-closed bit at the end that goes into the uterus, right? NOPE.
Before I even get started here: GOOGLE IT. Change to image search. Change the search term to “cervix.”
Had a good look? Feeling educated and ready to proceed? Ok, good. In that case, you’re doing better than I was about three weeks ago.
I umm-ed and aah-ed over whether to share this story, but once I did my poll and realised how many people with vaginas did not, in fact, know what a cervix looked like, I was like: ok. Well. I’m not the only one. And, after the fact, this shit is kind of funny, so if you have a laugh at it, I’ll consider it a job well done, even if you don’t learn anything.
Again. I am thirty years old. I have had access to the internet for fifteen years. I did fairly comprehensive sex ed. I’ve had an active sex life.
None of those things prepared me for this, alright? I just want you to understand that what I’m embarrassed about is my own lack of curiosity and knowledge, nothing else.
OK so. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I take a bunch of medication at night that makes me very sleepy and very forgetful.
When I woke up that morning three weeks ago, it was during my period, and I thought, oh shit, I left a tampon in (which is Not Great because if you leave a tampon in for longer than eight hours, you risk getting Toxic Shock Syndrome).
I remembered putting the tampon in. I had no memory of taking it out.
But when I went to the bathroom… I. Couldn’t. Find. It. No string, nothing.
I panicked. I thought; oh fuck, my vagina has eaten it, it’s stuck, it’s gone in my uterus, oh my god, what the fuck do I do? (I’m just going to say right now, it is pretty much impossible for a tampon to get into your uterus. I was Not Thinking Very Clearly).
Did I mention I was staying with friends at the time? Friends who I couldn’t face, so I left them confused as I snuck out the door and got an expensive taxi to the emergency clinic.
Mercifully, the lady doctor was able to see me straight away. After a few unfortunate speculum changes, she pronounced my vagina clear of any and all obstacles, and my cervix healthy. She didn’t laugh at me either, which is I was extremely grateful for. I know it would’ve been very unprofessional of her, but I wouldn’t have been surprised.
I slumped to the gurney in relief – and embarrassment. Not only had I rushed out of the house with no explanation and paid for an expensive doctor’s visit… there was nothing wrong with me.
A little bit of extra TMI: what I had been feeling, when I reached inside to try and figure out where the flip a whole tampon had disappeared to, was, in fact, MY CERVIX. Yes. You can feel your own cervix, sometimes fairly easily, and they feel round and moist – exactly like a tampon might.
Several more waves of embarrassment later, I left the doctor with a much lighter credit card and some much needed advice.
“It’s not a cavern in there. It’s pretty hard for things to get through the cervix and just… ‘get lost.’
Well, I didn’t bloody well know that.
Now I do. I know a lot more. And I’m very glad I do. I don’t think any part of my body should be a mystery to me. And I kind of think most people should feel that way, which is why I decided to share this ridiculous story.
I’m going to leave the comments open just in case people have other Myths and Legends or fucking stupid tropes they’d like to add to the list.
Have a good weekend!