Talking about vagina is a ‘Taboo’, and may I ask what for? People take vagina to be a bad word. You can’t say it publically even when it means a sword’s sheath in Latin. Vanilla, a preferred flavor comes from the word vagina. Your vagina has a number of nicknames like “ya ya”, “yoni”, “cum pocket”, “apple pie”, “warm slurpee” etc. When the society wants to conceal everything about it, let’s acknowledge some startling facts about vagina’s. The vagina is a potential space. It can collapse like a balloon without air in it and can expand to 200% during intercourse or birth delivery. The vagina cannot be loose or tight. It knows how to adjust, but just like breasts vaginal muscles can sag sometimes due to child bearing, obesity or heavy sports. There is nothing to worry about this situation because it can be fixed. Fortunately you can exercise your vaginal and pelvic floor muscles with the help of Kegel exercises. To perform Kegel exercises you need to recognize the muscles needed to stop urination mid stream. Lie on your back empty bladder and contract and relax those muscles (not the hips) for 30 seconds to 5 minutes. These are easy to perform and not time consuming. You will witness increase in orgasmic pleasure and it also helps to check urinary infections and cope up with child bearing pain. Vagina has its own micro flora and is self cleaning. The vulvovaginal microbes play a symbiotic role in the maintenance of vaginal health. Therefore it is recommended to stop using soaps like douche, lactacyd etc. This can disrupt the optimum ph and cause imbalance inviting harmful micro organisms to infect. Pubic hair is very important. All those who are a fan of shaving must know what they are lacking (even though it’s your prerogative). These are known to trap pheromones during sexual arousal and protect genitalia. Moreover, vaginal hair grows only for 3 weeks unlike hair on the head which can grow for 7 yrs. About 70% of the women don’t achieve orgasm with vaginal intercourse. Major organ for pleasure is the clitoris made up of 8000 sensory nerve endings and is homologous to the penis. Its embryonic origin is same as that of the glans of the penis. The sad part is that so many women don’t realize its existence and it is appalling to know that scientifically the clitoris was discovered in 1998. Female masturbation is healthy if done with smooth fingers and approved sex toys. It relaxes the body and soothes out menstrual pain. Use of risky equipment’s can land you in hospital. Vaginal discharge is highly useful. It mostly contains salty water, gland secretions, cells, healthy microbes and squalene. Squalene is a sterol component of many steroids and vitamin D. It is also found in shark liver and is known to have immunologic adjuvant properties (boost immune response towards something). Shocking or not but vaginal discharge has less harmful microbes than saliva. Drunken sex leads to loss of orgasmic pleasure. Oxytocin (sexual motivator hormone) levels are known to drop with alcohol intake or when you feel judged, threatened or exposed to severe stress. The vagina can fart. Vaginal flatulence, queef or vart is odourless but can produce a distinct sound. Every woman has a different vaginal smell at different times. It depends on the type of clothes you wear and food you eat. Probiotic yoghurt, fresh fruits and veggies, cranberry juice and less intake of coffee, spices and alcohol can make your vagina smell fresh. The vagina seems to be very clean (pure), useful and awesome. Don’t be ashamed and love your Vagina!! ———— About the Author: This article has been contributed by Aqsa Zaidi, our intern. Aqsa is a Botany Hons. Student from Hindu College, Delhi University. She feels it’s her constant struggle and effort to understand and redefine independence and equality in its purest form through her writing . Believing in women and youth empowerment, Aqsa wants to induct the same in her readers.