The Yoni Owner’s Manual
By Sheri Winston, CNM, RN, BSN, LMT
The following is a brief article, based on excerpts from the book, Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure. While the book focuses on unlocking the secrets of female pleasure and understanding women’s wondrous integral system for sex, pleasure and reproduction, it also addresses women’s health. Here’s a bit I thought you may find useful!
The Vital, Vigorous, Voluptuous Vagina
The vagina is a passageway formed by a pliable tube surrounded by layers of muscle. The functions routinely listed for it are to provide a pathway for menstrual blood, a passage for semen, and an exit route for babies. It has another role, too, and it’s an important one: it’s there to produce fabulous sensations when filled and properly played with.
In ancient India, they called the female genitalia the “yoni,” variously translated as the sacred gate, the door of pleasure and the entrance to the universe.
While it is often portrayed as being an open tunnel, this is one thing it is not. The vagina is a softly collapsed tube. The walls fold in and touch like a closed accordion. It’s a truly remarkable structure due to its ability to contract and expand. Despite its appearance of being a rather small orifice, it can get big enough to birth an entire baby, and it can also contract enough to make a snug sleeve for any size penis. It’s a remarkable multi-purpose instrument.
The vaginal walls are lined with mucus membrane that produces slippery lubrication. There is always some vaginal lube present, but more is produced during sexual excitation. Vaginas of women who are either post-menopausal, post-partum or breastfeeding will be drier and more fragile. There is wide normal variation in lubrication depending on a woman’s natural tendencies, where she is in her monthly cycle, and if she’s taking artificial hormones or other medications. No matter who you are, or where you are in the cyclic life dance, having plenty of extra lube handy is always advisable.
The Self-Cleaning Vagina
Your healthy vagina tastes and smells savory and doesn’t need irritating chemicals to be delicious. There is no need to clean inside the vagina at all, ever! You have a self-cleaning vagina.
It is normal to have vaginal discharge, indeed it is an essential component of the vagina’s ability to keep itself clean. Normal discharge does not itch, burn or feel irritating. It has a faint, pleasant, slightly musky odor. The discharge varies in color, consistency and amount depending on where a woman is in her fertility cycle, and whether she is on hormonal birth control or is post-menopausal. The color varies from white to clear. The amount ranges from scant to moderate. Some women are normally drier, while some tend to be wetter. It is important to know what amount is normal for you.
A Short Course in Vaginal Ecology
The vagina is a delicate self-sustaining ecosystem. A healthy vagina is full of a special type of friendly normal bacteria, called lactobacillus acidophilus. These good bacteria protect the vagina and keep it healthy. One of their jobs is to control the population of unfriendly microbes such as yeast and “bad” bacteria. The pH (or acid-alkaline balance) in the vagina needs to be mildly acidic and normally varies slightly during the monthly fertility cycle.
If your healthy bacteria die off, unfriendly bacteria or yeast are free to take over. Sometimes it just seems to happen for no reason, with the hidden underlying cause being factors such as stress, poor diet or misguided “hygiene” practices. Taking antibiotics can cause your normal flora to die. Exposure to chemicals and cleaning products can also shift the balance and cause a reduction in the population of supportive bacteria. When the bad microbes take over, you have an infection.
Signs of infection include increased discharge above what’s normal for you at that point in your cycle; any change in color or consistency; itching, pain or discomfort; or bad smells. Be on the lookout for these things! And don’t abuse your genitalia by buying into our cultural (and consumerist) obsession with hyper-cleanliness. Yes, it’s good to be clean, and there can also be too much of a good thing.
Vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast (also known as candida or monilia) are often caused by over-enthusiastic and excessive hygiene. This includes the use of douches, vaginal deodorants, sprays, wipes, washes, powders, anti-bacterial soaps, deodorant soaps, body washes, bubble baths and so-called feminine hygiene products.
Spermicide (a chemical that kills sperm) can also cause problems for women. Nonoxynol-9 is the name for this highly irritating substance. It’s found on spermicidal condoms as well as in contraceptive jellies, foams and suppositories. So many people are sensitive to this chemical that I recommend that you avoid it in any form.
Treat your yoni well and she’ll treat you well in return! Protect your vulva and vagina. Avoid all chemicals and products that can disturb her sensitive natural balance. Support your genital health and you can attain genital happiness!