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What is The Vulva and How is it Different from a Vagina?

Vulva. A lot of us have them. But despite the sheer magnitude of their power and complexity, so many of us also don’t know the fundamentals of what exactly goes on down there. Like, what is the vulva and how is it different from a vagina? (Spoiler: they’re two related but different things). And why don’t they get airtime in our everyday conversations? Gah!

 

We’re here to make the vulva a little less elusive, by demystifying the geography and biology of it all. Because let’s face it, your burning Qs are probably the same ones that your besties have. Let’s start talking, shouting and heroing the VULVA.

 

Vagina VS Vulva

Many people refer to the whole female genital region as the vagina, but what they’re actually talking about is the vulva! Let’s remove the confusion. The vagina is the flexible, 8cm canal that connects your vulva to your cervix and uterus. It’s where menstrual blood leaves your body during your period and babies exit through during birth. The vagina is also where some people put penises, fingers, female condoms, sex toys, tampons, and/or menstrual cups. The vulva refers to the external sex organs aka the clitoris, vaginal opening, urethra and both the labia minora and majora.

 

The main difference is that the vagina is internal, whereas the vulva is external. Kapish?

 

Types of labia

‘Normal’ looks different for literally everyone, and no two vulvas are ever the exact same. BUT, while there’s no ‘textbook’ vulva, there are actually 9 distinct ‘types’ or categories of labia (the ‘lips’). Ready for it? Next time you’re in the bathroom, post-shower or doing some self-gardening, feel free to check in and have a look to see what group you fall under. (Oh, and it could totally be a mix/hybrid of a couple).

Graphic Showing the 9 Different Types of Vulva and Labia

 

  1. Asymmetrical inner lips
  2. Curved outer lips
  3. Prominent inner lips
  4. Prominent outer lips
  5. Long, dangling inner lips
  6. Long, dangling outer lips
  7. Small open lips
  8. Small closed lips
  9. Visible inner lips

 

Holes down there

There’s a holy trinity of holes downstairs, and it goes like this: the urethra, the vaginal opening and the anus. Yup. The urethra is where you urinate from, the vaginal opening is where you’ll be popping in a Libra tampon, and the other, the anus, is obviously the one in action while you’re scrolling through Tik-Tok on the toilet.

 

 

Keeping your vulva clean

For fresh feels and all-round fab V hygiene, there are a few easy peasy habits to get into.

  • First up, underwear. To promote prime airflow and ban any unnecessary sweat and constriction down there, you may want to reach for breathable, lightweight fabrics, such as cotton or bamboo. Also, make sure you’re changing your underwear daily.

 

  • Next is washing thoroughly in the shower with warm water and nothing else! Douching with other soaps or fluids can cause some unwanted infections and discomfort.

 

  • Last but certainly not least comes the one and only Libra liners, designed to keep your undies clean and you feeling fresh off-period (or at the tailend of one).

 

So, there you have it. We hope you’ve come away with a better understanding of what the vulva is exactly and how it’s different from the vagina. Vulvas are ridiculously impressive works of art. And we’re kinda lucky to have them (despite some of the grief they can occasionally bring). Next time you’ve got a niggling V question, or a friend is struggling with something to do with them (insert: using tampons for the first time or getting a very uncomfortable yeast infection), we want you to feel confident and knowledgeable enough to share some important wisdom. Remember, reader: there is NOTHING awks or off-limits about vulvas. The more you know, the better you flow.

 

Love, Libra x

 

 

Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.

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