Although I was born with the female reproductive system and dealt with it all my life, only recently I finally fully understood the mysterious ways of this complex system. Our society fails to properly educate us on the reproductive systems, period. While teachers run away from Sex-Ed in fear of their students’ reactions, parents do not want their child to even hear the words “penis” and “vagina.” Well, let me tell you how messed up that is. First of all, both the penis and the vagina are just two organs that make up the male and female reproductive system. Much like our hearts, lungs, and liver, they are organs that complete bodily functions in order to maintain balance in our bodies. Aside from being pathways to the exiting of toxins, the penis and the vagina are, essentially, organs of the reproductive system.
As defined by the the International Baccalaureate (IB), program that educates millions of students around the globe, the penis, “has erectile tissue that becomes enlarged and hard allowing penetration of the vagina so semen can be ejaculated near the cervix,” while the vagina, “stimulates penis to cause ejaculation and provides birth canal.” That’s it, nothing to be scared about, correct? Apparently adults don’t really think so. Their fear of teaching us about the organs we could potentially have sex with is so out of this world they just don’t do it. Isn’t it funny how we can’t even talk to adults around us about it without it being turned into, “the talk?” The talk… what conversation are we having anyways since numerous untrue facts are still believed by so many?
Lucky me, I go an IB school and my IB Biology teacher happened to be open minded about our topic on the reproductive system. While fascinated, I was most scared about comments I was hearing around my classroom, comments being made by classmates I grew up with. And let me tell you, boys were not the only one believing in myths. When did our educational system fail us so badly to the point in which we don’t know about our own bodies? While I can’t answer that, I can help you deconstruct a few myths about the female reproductive system you probably believe are true.
Note: as a girl myself, I feel more comfortable commenting on the female reproductive system, being what I live with everyday and know from personal experience. I do not wish to bring any false facts to the article, being the reason why I’ve focused on my area of comfort. Boys, please send in tips so we can expand this article to cover the male reproductive system!
1. The more sex you have, the more “loose” will your vagina be
This is the biggest false myth going around about vaginas. Let’s discuss the anatomy of a vagina. The vagina’s tightly folded muscle tissue is very elastic, like a mouth! As women become sexually aroused, vaginal muscle tissue relaxes. The vagina stretches a lot during childbirth, but, during postpartum, usually, mostly in young women in their late teens and early twenties, it goes back to normal. Within six months after delivery, the typical young woman’s vagina feels pretty much how it was before she gave birth. Boys, if a baby’s head does not permanently stretch a vagina, your reproductive organ won’t either. Just like any other muscles in our body, it eventually snaps back into its natural state.
2. Only the penis is enlarged once aroused.
Sorry boys, this is not an exclusive trait to the penis. The clitoris is the female sexual organ found where the labia minora, or inner lips, meet. While the penis only has 4,000 nerving endings, the visible part of the clitoris has around 8,000! In fact, is very similar to the penis; it has a glans, a foreskin, also known as the clitoral hood, and even a shaft. Also, it swells up when it’s aroused. The crura, two pieces of erectile tissue, can extend anywhere from five to nine centimeters when aroused.
3. When a woman does not have her period, she’s pregnant.
Well… not always. Irregular periods are far more common than one might think. There are no rules when it comes to the menstrual cycle. One of the most complex cycles of the female body, the menstrual cycle works differently in every woman. Irregular periods can mean missing periods or even having too frequent periods. Tension and anxiety are also reasons that justify missing periods. While some might get her period only four times a year, others may get it twice a month. So, next time you or your girlfriend miss a period, if you are taking care of yourselves, do not worry, it is actually quite normal and pregnancy is far from being its only causation.
4. Women bleed while on their periods.
While this is not entirely false, there is much more going on. The Menstrual Cycle actually is still happening even after we stop “bleeding;” following Menstruation comes the Proliferation Phase, ovulation, and Secretory Phase. For about the first to the fifth day, low levels of hormones (progesterone and estrogen) causes the endometrium (lining of uterus) to break down and rupture its blood vessels. The lining is released along with the loss of blood. This is why menstrual blood is not bright red like when we cut our hands. What is actually coming out of our vaginas are our endometrium lining that is being shredded, also the source of cramps, which I like to call “the source of all evil.” So, yeah… it’s not just blood, it’s bits and pieces of our uterus.
5. Women don’t ejaculate
Female ejaculation is yet to be fully understood, but it’s real. A liquid (glucose, prostatic acid phosphatise, and two ingredients commonly found in urine) is created in the G-pot once it is repeatedly stimulated before reaching the urethra. Because it’s so rare, it becomes very hard to understand. Don’t try it yourself or on your partner, it can’t be all too fun.
Now, that was far too much to take in, I know. However, most of what I’ve shared with you is drawn from basic human anatomy classes. If you believed in any of those myths, I don’t blame you. However, I now hope you know better and have actually gotten to know a few fun facts yourself.
Friendly tips: have a google search on your reproductive organ. You might feel uncomfortable at first (you really shouldn’t, it’s completely fine, we are all curious about what’s going on “down there”), but you’ll end up understanding yourself much better than before. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your teachers, nurses, parents. If adults refuse to help you understand your own body part, aside from overreacting, they are the ones that are being immature. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of your body. Research, ask, and learn, it’s hard to regret those.