5 vagina myths debunked according to experts from the Vagina Museum

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Vagina myths have been around for generations. However, we've come a long way since tales of vaginas with teeth sparked fear in many.

Today, the myths may not be as out there but confusion and theories are still rife. The Vagina Museum in London wants to debunk the most common myths out there in order to raise awareness of gynaecological anatomy and health.

From discharge to different sizes and shapes, there is a lot of misconception still floating around today.

“Our mission is about spreading knowledge and awareness,” says the world’s first museum to celebrate vagina’s director Florence Schechter discusses.

Myth 1: The vagina is just one body part

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The museum's first exhibit makes a point of explaining that these terms refer to distinct body parts.

The vulva is the external part of your genitals consisting of the outer and inner labia, clitoris, and urethral opening.

The vagina is the internal canal extending from the vulva to the cervix.

The labia (lips) are folds of skin around your vaginal opening.

The labia majora (outer lips) are usually fleshy and covered with pubic hair.

The labia minora (inner lips) are inside your outer lips. They begin at your clitoris and end under the opening to your vagina.

Myth 2: All vaginas look the same

Just as faces can look vastly different, so can vulvas. Some women have long, thin labia, others short and puffy. Some vulvas are pale or pinkish, others dark purple or brown.

Schechter explains that the Vagina Museum's first exhibit hopes to educate people about all the variations of the vulva.

There's no one way a vulva "should" look, and it's just another belief that "upholds the patriarchy," she adds.

Myth 3: The vagina needs cleaning

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Vaginas are designed to clean themselves.

Washes, douches, creams, and the like shouldn't go anywhere near your genitals and can in fact do more harm than good.

"Vaginal cleaning products can upset the pH balance and microflora of the vagina, which then promotes infections," says Schechter.

Also, consider how the "vaginas are dirty" message makes women feel shame about normal and natural vaginal odour and wetness.

"By designating the vagina as 'unclean,' it makes people afraid of it," she added.

Myth 4: Tampons causes women to lose their virginity

This longstanding myth stems from the fact that to insert a tampon, a woman might tear her hymen—the thin membrane covering the vaginal opening.

However, virginity has nothing to do with anatomy.

"That's not how hymens, vaginas, or virginity works at all," says Schechter.

For one thing, the hymen can tear for a whole bunch of not-sex-related reasons, such as playing sports or simply being active.

“Second, even if it does tear, it doesn't mean anything in terms of whether a woman is a virgin or not.

"Virginity is a social construct. Its definition changes throughout time and across the world," she says.

Myth 5: Unusual discharge is a cause for concern

This myth is untrue in a sense as discharge is a sign of good health.

This theory goes back to a previous myth about vaginas needing to be cleaned.

The colour can range from clear to white to off-white, depending on where you are in your cycle and also what's normal for you.

Some women produce a lot, others just a little.

The only red flags are if it has a foul odour, it becomes itchy and thick, and/or it turns bloody or dark yellow to greenish.

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