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

Embarrassing Bodies, 11:05pm Tuesday 28th July 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.

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Explore Am I Normal? >

Am I Normal?: Sex And Relationships >
Am I Normal?: Mental Health >
Am I Normal?: Drugs And Alcohol >

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

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Comments and Questions

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Hi, I had these were bumps on the outer ebd of my labia for the longest (like yrs). When I got a pap smear I was good but im curious to what these things are. Its like my labia has been cut into several lil pieces. Its like penile things on a guys penis but its not. Its hard to explain. I guess some people mistaken them as an early stage of genital warts... what could these things be called? Its not fordyce spots either





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Hi I am 14 and recently we had a sex education lesson where they showed diagrams of vaginas and they all showed that the urethra is inside the flaps just above the vaginal opening, but i realised that mine wasnt there and that it is just above the clitoris,outside of the flaps. This has made me really worried and i just want to know if this is normal and if there is something wrong with me?





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hi, okay so, my vagina flaps hang like down abit and the tops are like brown. I understand this is completely normally but it's also something that I can't get use to , I really dislike it. I was wondering if like there's anything I can do to change them beside like surgery and I was wondering if they would change them selfs, I'm 14?





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Hi I'm 13 and I'm really concerned about my labia, it doesn't hang down too low but it's definitely noticeable, I'm not having ex anytime soon but I'm so self concsious about it. Anything to help?





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Hey! I'm a not virgin 19yo and I just recently went to my first gynecologist visit. I told her and my mom i was a virgin but she couldn't examinate me very well cause I had just recently been on my period. So I'm going back on monday but I'm seeing my boyfriend on saturday and my question is: If i have sex on saturday will she be able to find out I had just recently had sex? Will my vaginal walls or hymen will still be a bit swell after 24hrs? Will she be able to tell I'm not a virgin anymore? (She didn't say anything about my virginity on my last visit...) thanks!





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Hey. I'm 19 and not a virgin. I had casual sex with this guy a few months ago and days after I got fever, my vagina started to hurt a little and then it all stopped. I got worried and thought i had herpes or something but since the hurting stopped I only self checked a couple times and I saw I have like little skin colored bumps inside of it that don't change color, explode, hurt or anything. They just stay there. I didn't self checked before that guy so I just wanted to know if these "bumps" are normal or if i should go see a doctor. Can I send a picture to somebody to see if my vagina looks healthy? Please? I'm freaking out :(





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This could easily be normal. It's really common to have bumps between the outer labia and the clitoral hood, and between the outer labia and inner labia. They're called fordyce's spots, and they're just visible skin glands. If you go to wikipedia, and search for fordyce's spots, you'll see a picture of a vulva with them. Compare the picture with what you have, and see if it's the same thing. If so, I'd say you have nothing to worry about, unless you have additional symptoms like pain, itching, etc.

Hi I'm 13 and I'm really self consoius about my vagina... Because one of the inside flaps are wayyyy longer than the other and it's really stretchy and it kinda has brown on the top of it. And when I start to have sex when I'm older I realy don't want a weird looking vagina. Please is this normal!?





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It's really common for one side of the labia to be a different size/shape than the other. Most people have asymmetrical genitals, to one degree or another. I don't think it's anything to worry about!

I'm 16 and a virgin. In the past few months I noticed a small pointy strip of skin coming from the inside of my vagina. Since, I has grown and now I'm able to feel it when just regularly using the toilet. It's not painful and I if try to pull or squeeze it, it feels numb but i can still feel a pulling sensation inside my vagina. The actually piece of skin is snake shaped I don't know what to do about it.





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Interesting, I'm not sure what that could be. It would be a good idea to have that examined by a doctor.

Hi, I'm 15 and I'm a virgin. I have a boyfriend and we've been together for a year now. I'm afraid that once we have sex, he won't like my vagina (I know. I know, weird...) but anyways, I'm afraid that he'll think I'm "Too tight" I'm kinda anxious and nervous about having sex for the first time. Any suggestions? Please help.





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It's pretty common to feel nervous and anxious about your first time. I'm not sure that it's worth worrying about the things you've mentioned though. Many guys really like that tight feeling - how do you know that your boyfriend isn't one of them? Have you talked to him about how you're feeling? That might be the best way to clear up your worries. Being prepared might help ease your worries too - having some water-based personal lubricant on hand would be a good idea - that could help a lot if tightness does prove to be an issue When you're ready for sex, take things really slowly, relax and enjoy yourselves, use condoms obviously, keep the lines of communication open, and you'll be fine!

I was scared of the same thing but to be honest mine didn't really look down there and I think it's actually nicer for them if it is tighter, but it really hurts the first few times so I'd make sure he knows not to be too rough

Hai im 13 recently my boyfriend and i were going trough our candy stashes eating abunch of candy as se went but things got sexual and he ended up going down on me he got qa jolly rancher stuck in my vagia And i told him just to leave it bc its not like anything is going to happen but my juices have become blue and taste like jolly rancher I'm wondering if I should see a doctor





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I imagine the problem has resolved itself by now, but in case it hasn't... Sugar can encourage yeast infections, so if you get itchy, it might be good to see a doctor. Otherwise, it's probably nothing to worry about. Still, if it were me, I'd probably draw a bath, and clean things out as much as possible with just water.





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





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