Image: Eduardo Sarmiento, “Getting Hungry and Ready”

A Case of a Growing Vagina

Did anybody know vulvas, like ears, keep growing? I mean, nobody warned me. As if birthing two children back-to-back wasn’t enough stretching for one vagina for an entire lifetime, it turns out vulvas keep expanding as well. Literally, an inside out job. Uhg!

When I was much younger and saw my mother and grandmothers naked, I recall thinking their ‘area’ was kind of much larger than mine, but had no clue it was on the account of a later in life development. Then, my friend D. told me something similar a few years ago. Her grandmother’s privates were, well, grandmotherly.

Here is the thing I’ve just discovered. Indeed, after forty, something happens down there aside from the inner and outer lips extending. A sudden growth spurt all around. ¡Ay! How I wish this were a product of my imagination along with our pet dragon Raquelita, icy rum raindrops on excruciatingly warm summer nights, and that the truth about the real location of the eternal fountain of youth is homemade everything. However, I can’t escape facts. Recently, I noticed a meaty sort of change in the entire anatomy of the vulva, my vulva. I have not put on any weight, so there goes that hypothesis. And I’ve been single for a while, therefore no witness to corroborate or what would be even more pleasing, to denydenydeny. There we have it; a heftier look is what’s trending in this new decade. I just got here, no need to rush me through it.

Since one of my girlfriends who is in her late thirties gave birth almost two months ago, we’ve been talking vagina and nearby departments, nonstop. Therapy is more like it. Me giving it to her as the expert I’m not. Is it too soon to get intimate again? Does it hurt? Will it be extra dry and extra enlarged in there? And most importantly, when is it safe to check out in front of the mirror the aftermath left behind after pushing a baby thru it. Ne-ver, is sort of the answer, but I lie and say better to wait until she loses the baby weight. My theory is that after giving birth, like the rest of the body, the vagina needs time to go back… as much as it’s going to go back, that is. Truth, not much shrinks to its original size. After I became a mother for the first time, when we finally got intimate, I asked my husband at the time if he had noticed the difference; he had noticed the difference. Why couldn’t he tell me otherwise? That’s one lie I was ready to forgive. Eventually, I just got used to the new and more mature ‘look and feel’ imposed by the trauma of childbirth… And now this?

You’re obsessing, says my friend whose entire reproductive system is extra fatty, sensitive, dry, and beyond broken. She’s right. Who wouldn’t when that’s all we talk about aside from all things baby milestones? What’s crazy is lately I can’t stop myself from checking out ‘the package’ of every woman I encounter. It all started in Playa del Carmen a couple of weeks ago. I was vacationing with a friend and we noticed a lot of king size forties and over vulvas hiding beneath bathing suits. Have they always been there in that sort of larger than life scale? One thing was evident; younger women displayed smaller packages.

The moment I got back to the States, I consulted my ob/gyn about the sudden phenomena to make sure it wasn’t a real medical issue. She explained that the vulva wouldn’t put on weight unless the rest of the body did. What does she know? She’s never birthed or even reached her forties yet. Then she added, with a circumspect look on her face, ‘at least your vagina is not in the business of collapsing.’ What? ‘Yes, the vagina is a potential space, if nothing holds it, it collapses just like that.’ Stoooop! ‘How about pelvic prolapse? Bet you’ve never heard of that either?’ No, not even on accident have I heard about that. ‘Well, imagine your vagina falls out and it hangs between the legs?’ ¡Alabao! ‘Yes dear, don’t worry too much if yours got a little saggy or plumpier, not a big deal, really… looks the same to me…’ Not a big deal? In comparison to collapsing or pelvic prolapse, maybe, but it’s still my vagina we’re talking about, suddenly bigger; which is only but a sign of more body evolution, and by that I mean decaying. I get dress and leave the doctor’s office with the same question I arrived: What will happen next and where?

A long stroll to think things through was in order. Does this change affect me in any way? Is anyone even noticing it? The thing about turning forty, whether size matters or not, so much has happened to our bodies at this point, that in the end we are not as afraid of constant discoveries as when we didn’t know any better. Yet my mind is elsewhere, staring at every single vulva that walks past me while mine is doing Kegels perpetually, too worried about the potential inside conditions that have now become an even greater concern.

When I finally get home, I run to the mirror and check it all out once more. Feeling better now that I took ‘her’ to the doctor and then to the gym; 500 Kegels are not few. I talk to ‘her’ nicely and tell ‘her’ she’s still got it. I make all sorts of crazy promises, like to start using the Ben Wa balls daily, wax monthly, wear more lace, and such. Because if I’m going to be dragging an overweight vagina around town, at least she’s going to be strong, muscular and more confident than she’s ever been.

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