The Vagina Dialogues: What’s Your Vagina Telling You?
If you haven’t noticed, vaginas have a lot to say. They have specific preferences, wants, needs, and desires- and they’re not afraid to tell you what’s on their minds.
Vaginas speak through discharge, odor, rashes, bumps, aches, orgasms, and more. This language of our lady parts can also give tell tale indications of underlying health issues.
Struggling to decode your vagina’s dialect? We’re here to help by providing a breakdown of some commonly used lingo used by vaginas, and how that relates to your reproductive health.
Get in Charge of Your Discharge
One of the biggest ways your vagina communicates is through discharge. Yes, the ooey, gooey, stretchy, creamy secretions you find in your panties at the end of the day.
These secretions are produced by the vagina and cervix, and change regularly depending on where you are in your cycle, with potential pregnancy, as well as with STIs and other infections.
Normal discharge is typically clear to pale white or yellow, and changes in consistency throughout your cycle. Yellowish to green discharge, especially when accompanied by a strong odor could mean you have an STI or other infection.
Find out more here, for an in-depth explanation of discharge.
Smell Ya Later
Bodies have odors. It’s just a fact of life. Especially in the moist, tropical rainforest like climate that is your vagina in summer heat. Most musky, sweaty, vagina-scented odors are totally normal, and just a part of being a living, breathing organism. Your scent tends to fluctuate throughout your cycle, with your diet and activity levels, and when you have sex.
If something smells off though, take note. That’s one way your vagina says “Hey! Something’s not right here!”
Ouch! Vaginal Pains
While vaginal pain may be somewhat common, that does not make it normal. Pain can manifest in a number of ways.
Here are some things to look out for:
Irritation, discomfort, possible mild swelling and itching are typically from a slight PH imbalance throwing off the vaginal flora (https://www.intimina.com/blog/vaginal-flora/), a yeast, bacterial, or viral infection, or allergies. Your vagina can have allergies to a number of things from laundry soap to your sexual partner’s bodily fluids.
Vulvodynia is pain in the vagina that lasts three or more months. The cause is often undetermined, and does not stem from an infection or other medical condition.
Vaginal pain can also come from pelvic floor dysfunction after childbirth or injury, or other reproductive organ disorders.
This can range from subtle to more extreme. While numbing can come from shifting hormones, it often occurs on a more energetic level. Considering the high prevelance of sexual violence against women, fear and pain around the vagina is a natural response to trauma.
Many people who experience some sort of sexual violence will involuntarily have a numbing response during future sexual interactions. While this is their body’s way of protecting them from further harm, it can also keep people from experiencing deep pleasure.
Even for those who haven’t directly experienced sexual trauma, numbing can develop as a response to living in a society where women’s pleasure and sexuality is not valued.
De-numbing can take time. It takes incredible communication, and often outside resources like therapy, acupuncture, and vaginal steaming.
Hey, not everything your vagina says is bad. In fact, some of the ways your vagina communicates are awesome, and their way of telling you “Good job!”
Orgasms. Oh yeah, talk about communication! This ripple of pleasure comes from the muscles of your reproductive organs contracting and pulsating, leaving you in a state of extreme bliss.
Squirting. It’s not a myth, and it’s not pee. Female ejaculation is the real deal, and is another way your vagina says “Keep doing what you’re doing!”.
Queefing. If you say it hasn’t happened to you, you’re probably lying. Otherwise known as vaginal flatulence, this common sound effect occurs when air that has creeped into the vagina, is pushed out, and erupts in a fart-like noise. You’re most likely to queef during sex or other forms of physical activity.
Pro tip: Just roll with it. Bodies are funny, and often make funny noises. It’s all part of the game of being human.
The language of vaginas remains elusive to many, but you owe it to yourself and your reproductive health to gain some level of fluency.
The more you can understand what’s going on with your vagina, the easier it is to know when something is a little off. Allowing you to catch any potential problem that much sooner.
Now go ahead and ask your vagina how it’s doing today!
Natasha (she/her) is a full-spectrum doula and health+wellness copywriter. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, health, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more education and empowerment. You can connect with Natasha on IG @natasha.s.weiss.