Aunt Vadge: Do I have a short vagina?

Hi Aunt Vadge,

So here’s the deal:  I’m 18 years old and I haven’t had sex yet. I have been fingered a few times by my boyfriend, and it did hurt a bit because I wasn’t turned on, but when I am wet I barely feel it. I can feel max two fingers until I feel that I hit a wall (the hymen?). I know how to arouse myself with the clitoris and all that, and when I’m wet, I can fit up to two fingers in my vagina without really feeling pain. The thing is though that every time I insert a finger, something really hard, like a barrier, stops it, and it feels like there is no way it can pass that wall. 

I recently tried to insert a tampon. I tried everything: I was comfortable, I used lube, had a lot of blood flow (my finger entered easily, but again, up to a point). I tried a lot of angles. The fourth time I tried, the tampon went almost all the way in, but it felt really uncomfortable, and I know it is supposed to go much deeper, and it was hitting a wall again. I couldn’t put it any deeper, and it really hurt until  I decided to remove it and pulling it out hurt a lot too.

Do you think there’s a problem with me? The gynaecologist saw me a few years back and everything was fine, but I didn’t know about these issues back then. 

I feel I tried everything and I’m just scared… could I have a problem like a short vagina? And if a thing that small hurts me so much, then how is it going to feel when I have sex? I have virgin friends who didn’t hurt a bit… why is this happening to me?

Yours,

Shorty

______

Dear Shorty,

Thanks for your email. I can understand why you might be worried – having a short vagina would be quite the surprise, and although it’s not impossible, since you saw a gynaecologist not that long ago, they would have noticed something like that. For this reason alone, it is probably safe to assume you do not have an anatomical abnormality. If you did, however, you would have been born with it, and it might be a transverse or longitudinal vaginal septum, which is an extra piece of skin formed when you were in your mother’s womb. It may be far inside and oddly positioned, causing difficulty with penetration.

It is also possible that you have what is called a microperforate hymen, which is where the hymen is thick and fibrous, and hasn’t naturally disappeared like most hymens tend to do. If this is the case, you would be hitting something that would feel like a barrier, but the barrier would have a small hole in it so your menstrual blood can flow through, as you mention that you are getting your period. If this was the case, your gynaecologist would have found that to be perfectly normal, and may not have either mentioned it or thought you needed to do anything about it, but the gynaecologist would not have been able to insert anything into your vagina at all without breaking it or stretching it.

The hymen is far closer to the vaginal entrance than anyone realises, and in fact is considered to be part of your vulva or external genitalia, not internal. This means it becomes less and less likely the more fingers you have inside of you that it’s actually your hymen causing the problem.

Read our article on the hymen and check out the diagrams so you can see A) how far up the hymen really is (it is quite close to the vaginal entrance) and B) what you can do about it if you suspect this is your problem.

The HymenBut, before you do anything else, go and visit your doctor or local sexual health clinic where it will take five minutes to examine you using a speculum and torch, and see what the blockage is precisely, if it actually exists the way it feels like it does. It is unlikely at your age to be nefarious (like a tumour or other growth) but because it is causing you distress, you need to be looked at by someone who understands what they are seeing. Sadly we can’t do that from here!

If you are normal, your vagina is normal-sized, and everything looks to be in order, your next step is figuring out how to find the right angle to get a tampon, finger and penis in (check out the diagrams in Vag Basics). It seems like you have tried quite a few angles and methods, so when you visit the doctor, discuss this with them – your doctor will be able to help you understand what you’re doing wrong and give you some practical suggestions.

If you do happen to be abnormal or have something truly wrong, now is the time to find out. Don’t worry about feeling stupid or embarrassed – this is too important for your mental health, and blazing progress as a tampon-inserting penis-loving lady of the world.

Warmest regards, and good luck!

Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.