Breasts, Vulvas and Vaginas
How much do you really know, or think you know, about these body parts? Lots of people have worries or questions about these bits of their bodies. Everyone’s breasts, vulva and vagina are unique. There is no “normal”, but knowing your body better can help you to understand and accept it.
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and yours will be right or “normal” for you. They can keep developing until you’re 18. It’s also common for breasts to change in your adult years.
Facts about breasts:
- having one breast which is bigger than the other is normal.
- it’s normal for breasts to feel sore or tender sometimes. This usually happens just before or during your period.
- breasts can feel heavier or softer before a period.
- nipples come in different shapes and sizes. They can be outwards or inwards. The area around the nipple is called the areola and it’s normal for it to be a few shades darker than your breast. Sometimes nipples have bumps, pimples or small hairs.
So what is a vulva anyway? And how is is different to a vagina…..??
The vulva is the external female genital organs (the bits you can see) and the vagina is the muscular tube inside the body that leads from the cervix (the opening of the womb) to the vulva.
Like breasts, vulvas come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes a person’s labia (vaginal lips) are longer on one side than the other, or hang down further than someone else’s. Your vulva may differ slightly in colour or shade to other people’s and you may choose to keep or shave your pubic hair.
Getting to know your own vulva and vagina can be really empowering. This can help you to become body confident as well as recognise if there is a problem. You can use a small, hand held mirror to look between your legs and see what’s what. You can read lots of great information about each of the different parts that make up your genital area HERE.
The vagina is brilliant at keeping itself clean, it does this without you even knowing through producing discharge. Some people may get a lot and other not so much – and it can change in consistency and even colour over the menstrual cycle. It can be wet, sticky, creamy or clear. If you notice that your discharge smells fishy or looks an unusual colour this could be a sign of an infection. You can read more about discharge HERE
We get lots of questions about periods on the site, so many in fact that they have their own Health Info Zone HERE
Masturbation, Sex and The Clitoris
Masturbation is when you touch your body and your genitals because it feels good or pleasurable. You can make yourself orgasm or ‘come’ by doing this.
Lots of people masturbate and it’s completely normal and healthy. It’s a way of discovering your body and what kind of things make you feel good. It allows you to understand what touches are the most pleasurable so when you are ready for sex you can teach your partner. CLICK HERE to read more.
Lots of people with a vagina find it difficult to orgasm just through penetration (where the penis or another object enters the vagina) They may get more pleasure from having the clitoris (part of their genital area) touched or stimulated by themselves during masturbation or by a partner during sexual activity. You can read more about the clitoris HERE or watch the video below:
Pubic Hair Removal
Lots of people choose to leave their pubic hair exactly how it is. Some people like to trim or remove some or all of it. Everyone is different and the way you choose to keep your public hair is entirely up to you. You should only remove it if you want to
Pubic hair does exist for a reason. It is designed to provide protection from bacteria and reduce friction during penetrative sex. Removing it can result in soreness and ingrown hairs
If you choose to remove some or all of your pubic hair, it’s important to do it in a safe way. Things you could try include:
- shaving with a clean razor and shaving foam or soap
- Using a specially designed electric trimmer or razor
- waxing with hot, clean wax – this can be done at a beauty salon or at home using a waxing kit (these can be bought from pharmacies and some supermarkets)
Make sure you read the instruction leaflet carefully before using any type of product.
Whatever you choose to use, it is important to try it on a small section of skin first. This way you’ll be able to see if you have an allergic reaction.