dizzy

I'm a down-to-earth, no-nonsense, straight-talking sex toy and nature geek. When not testing sex toys and writing reviews, I can be found caring for the flora and fauna around my home. I don't sugarcoat the truth and my honesty sometimes gets me in trouble. I am determined to educate the world about the vulva. I expect it won't be long until I'm known as the vulva police.

Nov 152016
 

This is not supposed to be a polite post. This is not supposed to be a Safe for Work post. This post is being written from the perspective of an educator who has a particular anatomy, and can answer particular questions. Why am I in a position to do this? Because I’ve actually done my research. And because I’ve actually experienced this phenomenon.

Today, I will discuss Menstruation. More commonly, you might know this as “Period(s).” I hear so many people talk about periods and menstruation, but so many folks do not know what it is or why it happens. Today, I want to fix that.

Let’s dive into some anatomy first! Below, you’ll find a picture of the internal organs that serve as the “female” side of the reproductive system.

uterus

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/imagepages/8608.htm

That lovely triangle bit in the middle is our main organ of focus today. It’s called the uterus. This organ serves one primary function: to grow a child. However, it also has some secondary functions. The cervix is that gateway between the vagina and the uterus. The cervix is very sensitive, and some folks can orgasm from stimulating it! The uterus also supports other organs in the body. Without it, that empty space would let our organs (such as the bladder, colon, etc.) move around inside the abdominal cavity. This would be very bad for obvious reasons.

Since we’ve covered that bodies are not only used for making babies, I will now focus on the starring role of the uterus as incubator. It’s the main performer in the menstruation cycle. However, in order to talk about that, we must mention the fallopian tubes, as well as the ovaries. Just briefly: The ovaries make unfertilized eggs (also called ova, or singular ovum). The fallopian tubes carry those ova to the uterus.

The cycle of menstruation begins when estrogen is released (for an average of 14 days). Due to this, the lining of the uterus is thickened. This is all in preparation for the ovum to become fertilized. At this point, the ovum is set free from the ovary and sent down the fallopian tube. If the ovum meets a sperm (either in the fallopian tube or in the uterus) and is fertilized, the egg will try to implant itself on the side of the uterus and pregnancy occurs. If it fails to implant in the uterine wall, pregnancy will NOT occur.

Fun Facts Corner! After an egg has exited the fallopian tube, it’s running out of time and the window for pregnancy is a lot shorter. And if it’s IN the fallopian tube, the time it will take to implant will be a little longer. (All in all, the typical window for pregnancy is about 5 days.)

But that’s not why we are here! We are talking about when an egg travels all the way down and finds no sperm on the way to fertilize it. (Or if a fertilized egg does not implant.) At this point, the egg dissolves and the uterus (feeling quite shunned) sheds that thick lining it was building. And now, a person with a uterus experiences their period.

That is the broken down and simple version of a period. If you’re satisfied, you can stop reading here. However, there are a few questions I wanted to address for those who want more answers.

Are periods dirty?
Inherently, no. Periods are about as clean as the vagina of the person who has it. There is blood involved, so anything that can be transmitted by blood, but not sexual fluids would be new to the party. Hepatitis C is the most common virus that is transmitted by blood, but not sexual fluids. Folks with Hepatitis C should be careful of unprotected sex while bleeding occurs. With that said, there is blood involved during periods, so it’s not a sanitary experience.

When do periods start?
Typically, they start between ages 11 and 14. The average American who has a period will start it at age 12. Another way to look at it is that the average person will start their period 2 years after breast development starts.

Can folks with periods control them (when they bleed, how much, etc.)?
Technically, yes. Folks can use hormonal birth control to alter how long the bleeding lasts (from about 7 days down to 2-4 days) and when (in the month) it occurs. Some folks even stop having periods completely using this method, and so far, there are no recorded medical repercussions.

How do folks with periods handle the mess?
There are a few different options out there now. Pads are the most commonly used. Tampons are the next popular. (Personal preference is not tampons, but that’s a different article.) Menstrual cups or sponges are other options. These are less wasteful and safer than tampons, while more discreet than a large pad. None of these methods work for everyone, but everyone should find at least one that they like.

How long does the bleeding last?
In a typical case, about 7 days. There are some birth control methods that reduce this to 3 or 4 days. In some cases, IUDs stop bleeding entirely. Those folks still have hormonal cycles, they just don’t come with blood.

What is this PMS I keep hearing about?
This is a good one. PMS stands for PreMenstrual Syndrome. I hate the name of this state, as it creates a stigma against hormonal flux that is natural and even occurs in folks without uteruses.

In short, it is the result of hormonal changes in the body. It can include (but isn’t limited to) some breast tenderness, acne, mood swings, fluid retention and fatigue. This is all a result of the hormones changing and preparing the uterus to hold a baby. PMS typically occurs 1-2 weeks before bleeding.

When do cramps occur? I hear about them so much!
Cramps occur because the uterus is trying to loosen and release the lining it has created. It typically starts the day before bleeding, though in some cases, it can be the day of.

If you’re looking for more resources, I recommend these pages:
https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.html
For PMS: https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html
For choosing menstrual clean up methods: http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/tampons-pads-or-menstrual-cups-whats-right-you

This post was written by Indigo Wolfe. Indigo is a genderfluid, demisexual human who enjoys adult toys, adult beverages, and adult situations. They review all of these things at their blog, Indigo is an Adult. Recently, they’ve found a love for educating others on sexuality, sexual health and sex, so they are now pursuing degrees and a career to help with those passions.

team amazeballs

Oct 302015
 

george-marks-glamorous-woman-in-evening-gown-holding-hand-mirror-legs-on-cabinetI’m gonna go out on a limb and say, if you don’t know the proper terms for your genitals then you probably don’t have a really good idea of what’s going on down there. It amazes me that some folks with vulvas can go their whole lives without ever having wielded a mirror and gazed at their nethers. Of course, this is mostly the older generations who were taught that their vulvas were gross and smelly and not to be looked at. Unfortunately, this attitude is still somewhat prevalent today.

It’s just as important to get to know your body as it is to learn the correct terms for its parts. If you know how things are supposed to look, then you might be able to notice when there’s something wrong. And as the spirit of this blog suggests, having a vulva is something to be celebrated. You should be proud, no matter how yours looks because they ALL look different. Some people don’t even know that. And if all you’ve ever seen are vulvas in porn, which frequently have small inner labia, and then you look at yourself and you don’t… you might feel like there is something wrong with you. But there absolutely is not. Vulvae are like snowflakes and each one is unique.

Plus, can we just talk about the clitoris for a second? Is this not the best thing that was ever created? It’s only purpose in life is to provide pleasure. It’s the only organ that’s solely dedicated to making you feel good. The glans of the penis has around 4,000 nerve endings, while the mighty clit has a whopping 8,000 sensory nerve endings. Seriously, the clit is a divine gift.

So, for those of you who don’t have an up close and personal relationship with your vulva, Sexologist Vixenne has written a wonderful post that guides you through the process of self discovery.

She writes:

Have you ever really, and I mean REALLY looked at it? For most vulva owners the very idea of looking “down there” is terrifying. They don’t want their partners to spend too long by their genitals, and often eschew receiving oral sex. We’ve been conditioned by society to think that vulvas are smelly, gross, ugly, and weird. There is a whole aisle in grocery and drug stores full of products to deodorize, perfume, and “cleanse” this body part. There is absolutely no need for these products! Vulvas and vaginas have very delicate ecosystems. All that is needed to keep a vulva happy and healthy is regular good hygiene. Yeah, just showering. You don’t really need soap except on the outside. It can get irritated with harsh soaps – and no one likes an irritated pussy.

I encourage you to read the rest of her article as she leads you on a journey of self exploration… just you and a mirror.

 Posted by at 6:36 pm
Oct 272015
 

 

camel toeHaving a vulva is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something to be celebrated. People who have them posses the most powerful organ with the sole purpose of providing pleasure – the clitoris.

Yet, many people are ashamed of the way their vulva looks. Think about it. We even have a term for when the vulva is visible in tight pants… camel toe. It can happen to almost anyone with a vulva – sometimes in yoga pants or at the beach in a bathing suit. Those with larger labia may have a more pronounced “camel toe”. But why do we make fun of it? Why is it shameful to see the outline of the vulva through clothing?

Those with a prominent penis bulge protruding from their pants aren’t ridiculed. In fact, they are often looked upon with admiration. It’s widely considered attractive. But if a woman has “camel toe” it’s ugly or something to make jokes about?

Jeana Jorgensen wrote an excellent article that addresses this topic and she does a far more eloquent job of discussing it than I can.

She writes:

What it effectively does is say that women with larger labia or more shapely vulvas should not wear certain kind of clothing. Why on earth would the shape of your genitals matter for what you can wear?! I’m also disturbed on a feminist level, since I don’t see similar shaming directed at men with visible genital outlines; there might be joking or gentle shaming, but nothing as nasty as the vitriol directed at women with certain anatomical configurations who dare wear tight pants.

I have to agree with her – “Camel Toe” needs to die in a fire. Go read her entire article. It’s a thoughtful piece on how we need to accept our genitals as they are and stop shaming and being shamed for how they look.

 Posted by at 12:48 pm
Oct 262015
 

The Great Wall of Vagina? No… no I’m afraid that’s not right. What they’ve created is a Great Wall of Vulvae. But that doesn’t sound quite as cute – I guess. I get it though, it’s a pun on The Great Wall of China. But still, if this project is meant to educate people about the diversity of vulvae then they should at least be using the right word.  Don’t ya think?

screenshot-www huffingtonpost com 2015-10-24 13-02-35

They are unfortunately, perpetuating the misinformation that a vulva is actually called a vagina – making it more common and acceptable. This makes it ever more difficult to convince people that the word that’s being used everywhere is wrong.

At it’s core, I like this project. It helps to normalize the fact that vulvae come in an endless array of shapes and sizes. Perhaps enlightening some that not all vulvae look like the porn star standard.

So many folks with vulvae have a negative view of how theirs look. And I’m here to tell you, no matter what your vulva looks like…. it’s OK! I think The Great Wall of (ahem) Vagina, is a step in the right direction. I just wish they would have used the correct term. At least then they would be educating folks about the right terminology, while displaying the diversity of vulvae.

 Posted by at 12:58 am
Oct 222015
 

Sometimes in the fight for teaching proper words for the genitals, there are happy endings. And this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Flirtmoji, makers of flirty, sexy emojis had announced their new “vagina” emojis. And of course, they were really vulva emojis.

screenshot-www huffingtonpost com 2015-10-22 12-20-18

Well, they must have gotten an earful from sex bloggers because, they have agreed to use “vulva” instead of “vagina” in their future products and lingo. Isn’t that great?

So, not everyone is going to be a stubborn ass when you point out their mistake. Some folks really do want to stop spreading the misinformation. It truly gives me hope for humanity.

But Flirtmoji better stick to their promise because we will be watching.

 Posted by at 4:30 pm
Oct 192015
 

Hi, I’m dizzy, owner of the sex toy review blog, Toy Meets Girl. Welcome to, That’s Not a Vagina.

So, what’s the purpose of this blog, you may ask? Well, I saw a need – a need for a resource meant to educate people on the proper terminology for the genitals of those who have a vagina.  You see, what many people mistakenly refer to as a vagina, is actually called: a vulva.

That’s right. When you look between the legs of someone with a vagina, what you are looking at is the vulva. The vagina is part of the vulva. Pretty simple, right? There are all kinds of stuff making up the vulva… inner and outer labia, clitoris, urethra, vagina. The actual vagina is the canal that babies come out of and you see only the opening of it when you look between one’s legs.

So, knowing this, you can imagine how horrified I am every time I hear someone say they shaved their vagina. You shave a vulva, not a vagina. You also don’t bedazzle a vagina.

Why do I care if people call vulvae, vaginae (also written as vulvas and vaginas, though my spell check doesn’t like it)? Mainly, it’s annoying but also, it’s spreading misinformation and it can be confusing.  Imagine if you told the doctor that your vagina hurts when you really mean your vulva hurts.

Now, I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh on folks. With the sorry state of sex education in US schools, they may actually be teaching this crap. I don’t know. But it’s such a commonly made mistake that I’ve even seen a famous so-called “sexpert” calling the vulva a vagina and when I called her on it, she said that she uses the word everyone knows. No, no, no! That isn’t what an educator should be doing. They should be teaching people the right words to use.

Recently, another sex educator I know, told me that in one of her classes, she corrected one of the attendees when she called a vulva a vagina and they said that since that’s what everyone calls it then, that’s what it is. Again, NO! That’s not how words work.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, especially given the fact that I felt compelled to create this site, that this mistake has probably even slipped from my lips a time or two, even though I know better. This is what happens when misinformation is so widely spread.

So, take a good long look at the diagram of the vulva below. Learn the proper words for the anatomy. I’ve even included an actual labeled photograph of a real vulva for further clarity.

vulva diagram

Lastly, since we’re on the subject of vulvae, here’s a fun fact. You don’t urinate from your vagina. Many people probably believe this is true because of all the confusion over what a vulva is and what a vagina is (Perhaps you’ve seen that episode of OITNB). But honestly, urine does not come out of the same hole that a baby does. There is another small hole called, the urethra and it is located somewhere between the vaginal opening and the clitoris, as indicated on the diagram.

So, I hope I’ve made a small contribution to society by creating this site1. If I can educate just one person, it will be worth it. Aww, who am I kidding? As long as I still see droves of people calling a vulva a vagina, it’s going to irritate the piss out of me. But at least now, I can give them a link to this site.

Before I go, I’d like to introduce you to Lunabelle. She’s the owner of a fabulous blog called, Ninja Sexology2 and she will be a contributing author on this site. She was part of the inspiration for this site when she posted this tweet:

It’s true, us sex bloggers get mighty miffed when we constantly hear folks referring to vulvae as vaginae. So take a look over on the right side of this page and you’ll see a list of dedicated sex bloggers who work tirelessly to educate and entertain the masses on all manner of sexual stuff. This site is also for them. For may they now have a quick and convenient link to give people who make this common yet, highly irritating mistake.

Oh, one more thing. If you’d like to help keep That’s Not a Vagina online and make donations to Planned Parenthood, you can clear your cookies, click the affiliate links or banners on this site and make your purchases. When you do that, I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thanks for taking the time to learn something!

  1. Yes, I know there are other resources out there that are probably better.
  2. And owner of the biggest, most colorful and eclectic dildo collection I’ve ever seen.
 Posted by at 6:15 pm