We believe that the entire concept of sex education is based on escaping STIs & avoiding pregnancy. Admittedly, we’re well past our teens now, but the only thing we remember clearly from those painful 20 minute sessions taught by our form tutors, is giggling, blushing and fumbling around with condoms and cucumbers
Did you know, for example, that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, that infertility affects 1 in 7 couples, or that IVF isn’t a guaranteed success story? We certainly never learned about anything that deviated from then norm – and pleasure during sex?? That was for the movies.
We have put together 5 things that we think you should know about your beautiful lady bits.
1. Getting pregnant isn’t always easy
We do need to say here, that while getting pregnant isn’t always easy, 1 in 3 couples do get pregnant the first month of trying so please don’t make any changes to your birth control until you are actively trying to conceive, and STI’s are still a thing, so don’t be silly, wrap that willy! But why aren’t we told that pregnancy might not be as simple as casting aside the condoms, flinging off your knickers and engaging in a bit of rumpy pumpy? According to the NHS, around 1 in 7 heterosexual couples will struggle to conceive (i.e. they will not become pregnant within a year of trying)
2. A positive pregnancy test does not always equate to a baby
When we get a positive pregnancy test, in our minds, we’ve become a mum. We start planning the life that our baby will lead. We make a strong connection with the baby perceived to be growing inside us. However, with 25% of pregnancies ending in loss, miscarriage and pregnancy loss are, sadly, realistic outcomes. If only we were armed with more realistic expectations...
3. There’s no such thing as ‘normal’ (and the concept is highly overrated anyway….)
Newsflash – not all cycles are 28 days in length. Shocker, I know right? During our school sex ed lessons we learned that the female reproductive cycle is 28 days long and that you lose about a spoonful of blood during a period (I don’t know what spoon they used for this, but we’re thinking ladle… right?!)
According to the NHS, anything from 21 days to 40 is ‘normal’ and 28 days is just an average. And who wants to be average anyway?! If we were able to talk openly from a young age about our differences, without feeling ashamed, we could dispel any feelings of abnormality and actual problems could be identified and treated.
4. Discharge is normal (actually it can be your best mate)
Gross, right? Wrong! You ask any woman trying to have a baby how she feels about plentiful, slippery, transparent discharge and she’ll tell you she bloody loves the stuff. The medical term for discharge is ‘cervical mucus’ which, we do admit is a bit gross and when you reach the point of ovulation (where an egg is released ready to be fertilized) your CM (cervical mucus) changes from cloudy and white to slippery and transparent, a bit like raw egg white. This helps sperm slide on up there into the uterus. CM is a sign that your bits and bobs are chugging away inside, and only needs investigating if it starts to itch or smell funky.
5. All vaginas are different (and yours probably won’t look like that of a porn star)
Porn... oh dear, porn. Porn creates unrealistic expectations of penis, vaginas, pleasure, and body hair. Everyone’s bits and bobs are different; from the size and shape to the smell and sensitivity. Some girls have large labia (lady area lips) some have barely any, some girls have lots of pubic hair and some very little. The fact of the matter is, that everyone’s lady gardens have the potential to give you pleasure. Exploring your body is key, so you can teach others how to do the same.
Our stories, whatever they are, empower us as women. If we are given the freedom and support to own them, we’re winning.
Bex Gunn & Laura Buckingham