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While there's been ificant gains made in de-stigmatizing reproductive body partsthere's still a lingering and ificant amount of shame associated with vaginas.


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Congratulations for jumping back into life! Rest assured, the parts still perform the same way they always have, albeit maybe a little bit slower and less acrobatically. This should bring you up to date on the rest.

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For much of human history, the vagina has been to some extent a taboo subject — if not entirely unspeakable, then certainly not something to discuss openly. He also believed that it was drawn to fragrant smells, such that a physician could lure it back into place by presenting the vagina with pleasant scents.

And so it has gone for the vagina — its history is rife with myth, misunderstanding, and mistreatment. And if modern-day women are often unclear about their own anatomy, you can imagine what ancient men made of it.

21 vagina facts every person with one should know

Galen, who was considered the premiere medical researcher of the Roman Empire, rejected the wandering uterus but saw the vagina as literally an inside-out penis. In the second century A. If this should happen, the scrotum would necessarily take the place of the uteri, with the testes lying outside, next to it on either side. As historian Thomas Laqueur has written, it was common belief at the time that men and women literally shared the same sexual organs. He had a point to make: That a woman was merely an imperfect form of a man.

The surprisingly, very brief history of the vagina

It might sound silly today, but the assumption of a male as the standard for the human body was persistent. National Institutes of Health NIH mandated that most clinical trials include women the last was first passed inbut took effect after the NIH revised the guidelines. Before then, many drugs were never tested on women at allon the assumption that they would work the same in both sexes.

That assumption proved incorrect. From to8 out of 10 prescriptions drugs that were pulled from the market posed greater risks for womenoften because women metabolize them differently. However, their images of the reproductive system were considered scandalous by the church, so many books of the time hid the genitals under flaps of paper or omitted them entirely.

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But during the Enlightenment period from tothe sciences, including anatomy, flourished. And thanks to the printing press, more people started learning about sex and the female body. Childbirth, which had been seen as a normal life event to be carried out at home, began to move into hospitals, says Sarah RodriguezPhD, a medical historian at Northwestern University. James Marion Sims was a young Alabama doctor in the s when he took an interest in performing surgeries on women — then a fairly new undertaking. To do so, he basically invented the field of gynecology as we know it today.

First, he invented the vaginal speculum, which gynecologists still use to open and see inside the vagina, and then he pioneered the first surgery to repair vesicovaginal fistulas, a complication of childbirth in which a hole opens between the vagina and the bladder.

The surgery was a breakthrough, but the advance came at a great cost. In his own s, he discusses three women in particular, named Betsey, Anarcha, and Lucy.

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He performed 30 operations — all without anesthesia — on Anarcha alone, starting when she was 17 years old. And that knowledge empowered women to become their own health experts — the book has since sold more than four million copies, and women still tell stories of passing dog-eared copies around until they literally fell apart.

Clearly, there was a thirst for knowledge, Judy Norsigian says as she reflects back on that time. She describes women approaching her at events and asking questions that show a lack of basic knowledge about the female body.

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In the end, it was still an important advance. The company poked fun at its own past advertising, which featured blue liquid and women dancing gleefully, riding horses, and jumping around in white pants — presumably all while menstruating. Yet even inKotex could make no mention, even euphemistically, of an actual vagina. But history continues to shape us. Ina survey at a U. Erika Engelhaupt is a science journalist and editor. Vaginal rejuvenation is an umbrella term for surgical and nonsurgical techniques on the vagina, vulva, clitoris, and pubic mound.

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How often should underwear be replaced? Whatever your…. Your discharge can say a lot about your health. Here's our swatch-guide to vaginal…. There are lot of misconceptions around how the vagina works and how you should be caring for it. Here's what you need to know. Vaginismus is an often-painful involuntary contraction of vaginal muscles. What causes it and how can it be treated?

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Share on Pinterest. Even today, we tend to be vague about vaginas. And doctors got their first good look inside a living vagina.

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But even with all its newfound exposure, the vagina has remained somewhat taboo. We still speak about the vagina in inaccurate, misleading ways. Written by Erika Engelhaupt — Updated on August 7, Read this next. Medically reviewed by Gerhard Whitworth, R. Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph. How Deep Is a Vagina? What Is Vaginismus?

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