WARNING: This site features very frank discussion and occasionally explicit images of medical conditions.
Parental guidance is recommended.

New: Embarrassing Bodies..., 10:00pm Tuesday 7th April 2015 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Video

Anthony Quinlan: Mott

Boy 1: Naughty, i’ve heard it called –

Boy 2: Really?

Boy 1: The lady’s naughty.

Anthony Quinlan: Poonanie

Hollie Jay-Bowes: I think my friend’s called hers Rachel.

Kent Riley: Pink velvet sausage wallet

********

Dr Dawn: If you don’t use the word vagina, you almost certainly don’t talk about your vulva.

The vulva is all the bits you can see on the outside of a woman’s genitalia: the area covered by pubic hair, the outer and inner lips surrounding the vaginal opening called the labia majora and minora, the clitoris and the opening of the urethra which is where we wee through;

And just as no two penises are the same, no two vulvas are the same.

Some are wrinkly and some are smooth. Some pink, some brown. Some girls have large labia, others small.

And the only way you’ll come to know what’s normal for you is if you regularly look and feel.

*******

Girl 1: I think what worries a girl most about it is like you don’t normally talk about stuff like that and it’s embarrassing to ask someone like their parents or their friends

Girl 2: I think if people did talk more about it they would not worry half as much because they would realise everyone’s different and everything’s never the same.

*******

On this website there’s a video showing you how to check your vulva.

Hundreds of thousands of people have watched it and women, from their teens up to their fifties and older, have left comments and questions.

With vaginas a big concern is size. Girls who experience pain during sex; or have difficulty inserting a tampon, commonly worry that their vagina is too small.

But it won’t be. When we get nervous we tense up. And this will make the vagina tighten.

The more relaxed you are the more comfortable inserting a tampon or having sex will be.

The vagina is the passage that connects the woman’s internal reproductive organs to the outside world.

When a man and a woman have sex – it’s where the penis enters. And when a woman has a baby the vagina expands so the baby can be born.

Another common worry is that discharge means your vagina’s dirty. It’s actually the opposite.

Discharge is your vagina’s way of keeping itself clean, free from infection and lubricated.

If your vagina is dry, you could try using lubricant or vaginal pessary available from chemists to make the vagina more comfortable during sex or masturbation.

And yes I did say the ‘M’ word.

Masturbation is not just for boys !

To keep your vagina and vulva healthy…

Wear cotton underwear, it will keep you cool and dry ñ bacteria thrives in damp, warm environments!

Go knicker-free at night.

Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, swimsuits or gym kit for prolonged periods

Don’t use perfumed soaps, gels, talcs or bubble baths as these can irritate the vagina.

If you get an infection take the medication as directed and complete the treatment even if you think the infection’s gone.

Avoid sex until an infection has cleared.

After going to the loo always wipe from front to back.

And ALWAYS practise safe sex.

If you do notice any changes, unusual lumps, bumps, spots or sores.

Or if your discharge differs in consistency, colour or smell from your norm – make an appointment to see your doctor.

It could be something as simple as thrush or bacterial vaginosis but it needs checking out especially if you have had unprotected sex.

On this site you’ll find a self-checker for STI’s with information about symptoms for all kinds of infections.

Don’t be embarrassed – your doctor will have seen thousands of Vulvas and vaginas. It really is all in a day’s work for us

Read the video transcript

Am I Normal: Vagina

Dr Dawn Harper discusses what is normal when it comes to vaginas, looking at everything from discharge and childbirth, to the normal variations in vulval appearance. The video also includes discussions with teenagers from around the country and the cast of Hollyoaks.

If you’d prefer to watch this video on your mobile, then download our specially produced version for your mobile phone from the Channel 4 Mobile site.

Just text Normal to 84444

Texts and data are charged at your standard network rate.
Terms and Conditions at channel4.com/mobile

If you think your child may be going through early puberty, check our guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

With thanks to:
Hollyoaks
University of Birmingham Hockey Club
Llanelli Youth Theatre
Tetbury Hospital

Did you find this useful? YesYes NoNo

3268 of 3780 people said they found this useful

Comments and Questions

You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I'm 17 and ive only slept with one guy which is now my ex and the last time I had sex was months ago... But is this normal my vagina skin is quite dark I'm meduim skinned as I'm mixed race but it's like 2 or 3 shades darker and it's really embarrassing as my ex questioned it too when we was together and I thought of lightening it but I didn't know if it would be safe or not or Is there a safer option to lighten it also my labia is quite dark too :( could I lighten that or is that too dangerous??? Thanks :)





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, I am 14 and have never had sex. I have started my period. I feel like I'm always 'horny' and recently I have round a little lump/wart on the entrance to my vagina and I just found a wart like thing on the flap. My vagina gets very itchy and also, I can't Insert a tampon at all! I think my hole is too small and I have heard it can be. I don't have a mother to talk about this too as I live with my grandparents. Someone give me some advise!!!





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I'm 17 and I've had the implant since November, since then I have been having a period near enough non stop since then, I've recently started having sex again and with out protection and I've stopped bleeding completely, is this normal? What does this mean? It's really been starting to worry me...





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I'm 14 and I have noticed that sort of in my vagina I have these fleshy lumps and I can't really see my vagina. They are sore ish to touch and I am getting really worried about this. I have been diagnosed with vulval thrush and I am using cream for that so I don't know if the 2 are linked? But I am really shy and I don't want a doctor looking down there particularly :( please help me





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I say that about myself above , to make the point . This is not the opinion from someone you would settle for . Not full of me ! Just we know ourselves well as we get older and counteract threw our lives .





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I say that about myself above , to make the point . This is not the opinion from someone you would settle for . Not full of me ! Just we know ourselves well as we get older and counteract threw our lives .





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I gave birth on the 21st of February then on the 24th went for 3days check up....I got stitch and when the nurse was checking she inserted the finger wrong because when I got home it was painful and when I check with a mirror its wide open so I didn't went to the doctor thought mayb I will be fine but its getting worse can you please help me





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi I am 23. I have recently and all of a sudden got chronic pain in my vulva and inside my vagina. I cannot use tampons, it hurts to urinate and sex is just impossible. It has swollen up so there is barely even a vagina entrance so I can't even use tampons. I'm fed up and it is ruining my new relationship. The skin on the entrance seems redder and thicker





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am 16 and have had sex with one person and I felt really awkward due to having one labia bigger than the other-significantly. It hurts sometimes when having sex and I feel inhibited to do other things sexually because I don't want them to notice and laugh of be disgusted or something. I feel awkward going to my doctor. It really gets me down although it shouldn't. It really shouldn't bug any of us teenagers this much, our society makes us feel like this when we shouldn't because we are all fine the way we are it's just because of how judgemental people can be..:(:(





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Pain during sex could possibly be because you couldn't relax. Also, If someone wants to have sex with you, the look of your vagina isn't going to put them off, trust me! - By the way, you're still young, you'll learn to accept the way it looks, this website even has a 'vulva gallery', no two look the same.

I am 17 and have recently got out of a long term relationship who I had sex with, I too am embarrassed of my labias because they are bigger than "normal" and I too avoided certain things with my partner because it doesn't look the way society expects it to. And I completely understand the awkwardness about going to the doctor, I hope that one day everyone will understand that different is "normal" and we can be more passionate and supportive about different labia sizes!

I have the same problem! im so glad someone else can relate....

Hi I'm 15 and I have a problem, I've had this situation for about 4-5 months now and I've kept it to myself for a very long Time. I have a lump that is sort of in/out of my Virginia and its getting to the point where i can hardly sit down its that uncomfortable. It is really unpleasant to look at, it hurts during and after sex and all I want is answers! So please help me.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.



Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.



Please don't swear or be rude in your questions, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting questions. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


More Information

  1. Tinnitus

    In Conditions - Sufferers of tinnitus can hear noise within their ear or head that…

  2. Vulvodynia

    In Conditions - This unpleasant condition causes chronic pain and discomfort in the…

  3. Vaginal Tearing

    In Conditions - A vaginal tear most commonly occurs during the birth of a baby, whe…

  4. Problem Piercings

    In Conditions - People have been piercing their bodies for thousands of years, but…

  5. Varicocele

    In Conditions - Varicocele are formed when varicose veins appear around the scrotum.

  6. Doctor Responses: Polycystic Ovaries

    In Videos - Dr Dawn discusses the causes and treatments available for PCOS, as…

  7. Am I Normal?

    In Episodes - Episode 2 of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies looks at conditions includ…

  8. Fibroids

    In Conditions - Uterine fibroids are a type of non-cancerous muscular tumour that g…

  9. Doctor Responses: Diabetes

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper answers your common questions about coping with diab…

  10. Dr Dawn Harper

    In Videos - Find out more about Dr Dawn Harper

  11. Doctor Responses: Pelvic Floor Problems

    In Videos - Dr Dawn answers common questions from women regardng the pelvic floor.

  12. Doctor Responses: Foot Problems

    In Videos - Dr Dawn aims to keep your feet healthy by answering the most popula…

  13. Doctor Responses: OCD

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most common questions on the tricky subject o…

  14. Doctor Responses: Eczema and Skin Conditions

    In Videos - Dr Dawn advises on the most common questions sent in to the Embarra…

  15. Doctor Responses: Night Terrors

    In Videos - Dr Dawn answers your most common questions about night terrors and…


Help Beat Cancer

Download our free mobile game to help Reverse The Odds in the fight against cancer.

Available on App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store >

Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here