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Debunking the myths of the female body
by TeenHelp November 7th 2015, 07:49 AM

Debunking the myths of the female body
By Dez (Epiphany.)

The functioning of the female body can be confusing for a lot of people. There are a lot of myths that seem plausible, but are actually untrue. People may have heard misinformation from family members and friends, or through other sources. It is important to know why certain statements are myths, as well as the truth behind the myths. This article will debunk many of the common myths of the female body.

Myth: Women pee out of their vaginas.
Fact: The true word that describes the outer genitalia of a woman is the vulva. The vagina is just one part of a woman's anatomy. The vagina is the part of the body where sexual intercourse takes place and babies are born. When a woman menstruates, the blood and tissue exit the body through the vagina. However, a woman does not urinate through this opening, but instead releases urine through a small hole called the urethra. This is located above the vagina and below the clitoris, and leads to the bladder. Even though a woman does not pee out of her vagina, urine may pass over it, which is why it needs to be wiped with toilet paper after urination.

Myth: A doctor can tell if you are a virgin.
Fact: A doctor cannot tell if you are a virgin just by examining you. While many people believe the hymen tears, it actually stretches when you have sex. After time, the hymen will shrink to its original size. Many non-sexual activities can have an impact on the appearance of your hymen, such as menstruation, physical activity, tampon use, or masturbation. Therefore, it is too difficult to determine the cause of the hymen being worn away. However, it is important for women to be honest with their doctors to ensure their sexual health.

Myth: Breasts are the same size.
Fact: It is quite common for the breasts to grow asymmetrically. When a woman starts puberty, her breasts may not develop at the same rate. Sometimes this evens out as a woman grows older, but this is not always the case. Sometimes the difference in size can be as large as a cup size. In most circumstances, nobody else notices the difference in breast size. A lingerie salesperson may be able to assist in purchasing products to make the breasts appear more even, but this is not necessary.

Myth: All labias look the same.
Fact: No two women are the same, and neither are their labias. A woman's labia is not always symmetrical because labias come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The labia minora can even be longer than the labia majora. The color of the labia can range from skin color, to pinks, purples, or browns. It all depends on how a woman develops during and after puberty.

Myth: All women have female genitalia.
Fact: Some people are born with an intersex condition, which means that their reproductive or sexual makeup does not align with the definition of male or female genitalia. This can present in different forms, such as someone being born with externally female genitalia and internally male reproductive organs. The genitals may be formed ambiguously and seem somewhere in between male and female. Gender is assigned after medical tests are run and doctors have been consulted. The tests run predict how someone with an intersex condition may identify while growing up. So, someone who has an intersex condition may not have typically female genitalia but still identify as a woman.

Myth:
A woman's vagina is loose when she has a lot of sex.
Fact: A common misconception is that a woman's vagina is tight when she is a virgin or has not had a lot of sex, or loose if she has had a lot of sex. However, the muscles of the vagina were designed to expand and contract. An unaroused vagina is at rest, meaning that it is in the contracted, or "tighter," state. A woman's vaginal muscles also grow tighter when they are anxious or nervous, such as when inserting a tampon for the first time. In other words, when a vagina is tight, it simply means that the woman is unaroused. When a woman becomes sexually aroused, her vaginal muscles relax and become "looser." The muscles do not become a gaping cavity, but it becomes much easier for the penis to be inserted. The loosening is not permanent, and after the period of arousal is over, the muscles contract and become tighter once more. This does not change regardless of how much a woman has sex. A woman's vagina returns to about the same tightness even after childbirth.

Myth: Tampons can get lost inside the vagina.
Fact: The opening of the cervix is too small to let something like a tampon through it. This means the only place the tampon can be is in the vagina. There is a string at the end of the tampon that is used to remove it. Sometimes this may become hidden inside the woman after activity. However, the tampon is not lost. A woman may have to insert her fingers inside her vagina and feel for the string, but it will be there. A woman will get more comfortable inserting and removing a tampon with practice.

Myth: Tampons cause you to lose your virginity.
Fact: While tampons do sometimes cause the hymen to stretch a little, they can still be used effectively in someone who is a virgin. Virginity is a social concept, meaning people can define it any way they would like to. However, people commonly define losing their virginity as having sex, such as vaginal sex. Inserting a tampon is not a sexual act. As previously stated, many activities can stretch or affect the hymen and these do not impact a woman's virginity. Neither does inserting a tampon.

Myth: Your period stops in water.
Fact: Your period does not stop or slow down in water. For some women, the blood may not flow out of their vagina, but it is still there. As long as a woman is not bleeding heavily, they may not make a mess when swimming with their period, but it is still recommended to wear a tampon.

Myth
: You cannot get pregnant while on your period.
Fact: Sperm can live inside the body for 3-5 days. Ovulation can happen during or soon after the period. Sometimes the menstrual cycle and ovulation can be irregular. This means that for some women, it can be difficult to predict when they are ovulating, so it is still important to use protection when menstruating. It is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Questions regarding the female body can be asked to any trusted adult such as a family member, doctor, health teacher, or school nurse. They will be able to provide someone with answers and information. Remaining informed is the best way to stay healthy and reduce stigma!
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