Can Sex Affect The Size Of Your Vagina?

Of course. But not how youthink.

Can Sex Affect The Size Of Your Vagina?

Ilana Gordon

Kira Ikonnikova/Unsplash

Of course. But not how you think.

Welcome to the Glad You Asked series, a shame-free zone where we tackle topics you’re too embarrassed to ask even your BFF about. Don’t worry, we gotchu.

Old Hollywood movies are full of morally upright characters who caution heroes against falling in love with “loose women.” Supposedly, loose women roam the Earth intent only on having sex, corrupting young men and bumming the occasional free pack of smokes.

Loose women are thought of as promiscuous and amoral, but etymologically speaking, the term originated not as a reference to their sexual and ethical behavior, but rather, their fashion choices. Legend has it that women in the 19th century who opted out of wearing corsets were referred to as “loose.” Somewhere along the way, this sartorial decision came to represent a character flaw — presumably, a woman who rejected socially approved undergarments also rejected socially appropriate sexual conventions. If a woman’s breasts were loose, maybe her vagina was, too.

Over 200 years later, women are still troubled by the “loose” label. A popular Reddit thread from 2011 poses the age-old question: Can regular sex alter the vagina’s shape? Is it possible for a vagina to become physically loose?

Let’s investigate.

The vagina doesn’t refer to just one part of a woman’s body

In order to fully answer this question, it’s important to first define what a vagina is and isn’t. People use the term “vagina” as a catchall, but in reality, the vagina only makes up one small portion of a woman’s genitals. The vagina is a thin tube that connects a woman’s vulva (the external area of the genitals containing the labia, clitoris and perineum) with her cervix (the lower part of a woman’s uterus).

Right on. Does the vagina get bigger?

Vaginal musculature is built to expand — this is an evolutionary function designed specifically to help women continue to propagate the species. Vaginal expansion allows women to accommodate penises in a variety of shapes and sizes; it helps facilitate childbirth and makes it possible for women to enjoy the use of tampons and sex toys.

Vladimir Floyd/Getty Images

During sex, the vagina expands, enlarging from half an inch to two inches wide. These physical changes are helped by female arousal: When a woman gets turned on, the blood flow to her genitals increases, causing the ridged vaginal walls (also known as rugae) to become lubricated. As the rugae loosen, they create more space to accommodate a penis. After the penis is inside, these walls tighten back up to create sexual satisfaction for everyone involved.

Some women struggle to produce the amount of lubrication necessary to make sex comfortable. Utilizing lube can help (sexperts recommend using a non-water-based lube for maximum effect). Foreplay is also important: Psychology Today recommends that couples engage in 30 minutes of pre-sexual touching in order to allow a woman’s vagina ample time to relax and to help her achieve full vaginal arousal.

What about after sex? Does the vagina stay loose?

Vaginas may feel looser after sex, but they quickly revert to their previous shape. This process can take between a few minutes and a couple of hours. Women can strengthen the muscles around the vagina — also known as the pelvic floor — by performing Kegel exercises. To do this, constrict the vaginal muscles, hold the position for 10 seconds and then release. Performing two sets of 10 to 20 reps every day will improve vaginal strength and tautness in approximately one month.

Vaginas also stretch during childbirth, obviously (though there’s a big difference between accommodating a large penis and dilating to 10 centimeters to squeeze out a baby’s head). Many women notice vaginal differences after childbirth, but doctors estimate that the vagina will revert to its default state in about six months.

What about for trans women?

Not all trans vaginas are built the same and different trans women will experience different sensations post-operation. But for many trans women, the problem is not vaginal looseness, but tightness.

On the message boards of Susan’s Place, a transgender resource website, post-op trans women report dealing with issues of vaginal constriction after their sexual reassignment surgery. They share that regularly using a dilator can help expand and maintain the width of their vaginal canals, making intercourse easier and more comfortable. Trans women also report that their vaginas don’t expand naturally during arousal, so utilizing lubrication can be incredibly helpful.

Women are unique and so are their genitals. But it should go without saying that “loose women” don’t exist — at least not in the way Old Hollywood thought they did.