Eureka, it’s yourethra!
You’d assume that by the time we hit adulthood, most women would know the basics of our anatomy. After all, we’ve been living with our bodies for 18 years by then – it’s quite a long time to get acquainted. And indeed, most of us have scrutinised our legs, thighs and tummies endlessly. We’ve memorised the shape of our ears and we know if we have big or small eyes; we’re deeply invested in whether our knees are knobbly or our bums stick out. Yet there’s one part of our body that women almost ubiquitously fail to get to know properly. You guessed it: our vaginas.
Sex therapist Vanessa Marin says 75% of her clients have some sort of misinformation about their genitals, with 30% never having looked at their vaginas at all. And the very fact that we refer to our genitals as vaginas speaks volumes, since that label strictly only describes the vaginal canal inside our body. Much of the time we spend talking about vaginas, we really mean our vulvas.
All this secretiveness leaves a lot of us unsure about a pretty important question: where do we actually wee from? When we discussed it in the Callaly office, all the women knew that we wee through our urethras, yet when it came to knowing where those urethras actually are, we all had to stop and think twice. Given that we wee about six times a day, every single day of our lives, you’d think we’d understand the whole business a bit more… intimately by now.
Since 2018 is already being branded the “year of the woman”, we’ve decided to get January off to a good start by having a proper look at ourselves. Come on, join us, what else have you got to do anyway?! It’ll take 10 minutes and all you’ll need is either a mirror or your phone on selfie mode, and somewhere private to go (unless you’re really, really body confident, in which case you do you – we’re not judging.)
So here’s how. Get naked from the waist down and grab your equipment. Hang on, we’re still talking about finding a mirror or your phone at this point (a‑boom tish!). You can lie in front of a big mirror but you might need to get into some interesting positions to see what’s going on. We found a make-up compact was a better size as you can move it around, dentist style.
Lie on your back with your knees pulled up to your chest and your legs spread. Hold your mirror with one hand and use your other hand to poke around, basically. You’ll find your urethra somewhere between your clitoris and your vaginal opening, but exactly where we can’t tell you: everyone’s built differently, and the urethra is often hidden among the natural folds we all have. You might need to part your inner labia with your finger and thumb in order to reveal it. You’ll know you’ve struck gold when you find a small hole, a bit like a piercing. It might look a bit star shaped or have some creases around it. And there you have it: your peehole in all its glory.
Why bother, you might ask? I know it’s there, do I really need to look it right in the…eye? We understand, there are enough items on your to-do list without lolling around with your legs akimbo staring at your own vagina-not-vagina. But having a good idea of what you look like down there has loads of benefits. You’ll know if any changes occur, so you’ll be able to judge when to get any lumps, bumps, redness or soreness checked out. If you’re using Tampliners it’s really helpful to have an idea of how your body is arranged, as you might want to move the mini-liner out of the way when you pee to stop it from getting wet. But most importantly, knowing more about yourself helps you to feel confident and assured in your own body. Knowledge is power, and goodness knows every woman could do with a bit more of that in 2018.