You’ve probably wondered if your vagina is much like others’ and whether or not your smell, size or look differ greatly from that of your fellow female peers. You want to know what’s normal so that you also know what’s abnormal. While this question is pondered by many and searched more often than you’d think on the internet, the answer to “What does a normal vagina look/smell/feel like?” is that there isn’t a “normal” at all. There are however some fairly common traits that one can assume are shared as ordinary or familiar. Here, we share the many ways you very well are unique and different to anyone else’s.
Scent. You may not openly admit it, but the typical woman has taken an intentional whiff of her vagina. Either out of plain curiosity or even caution to ensure everything is kosher down below. Smelling for odors that are offensive is likely, especially before a date or maybe after a scare of uncommon discharge. The truth is that even when not concerned with any specific odors related to illness or infection, your vagina has its own “fleshy”, musky aroma that you should become familiar with so you know when you are balanced below the belt. You vagina may smell different during times of your cycle and during ovulation as well. Knowing this helps you identify if and when the scent turns from "normal" to worrisome.
Size and Shape. From the lips to the opening of the vagina, all women are shaped and sized differently. The layers of lips, called “labia” are the inner and outer folds of the vulva, at either side of the vagina. They can be large, small, thick, thin, uneven or symmetrical. Many women stress over whether or not the appearance of their labia are “attractive” or at least not unsightly. For this, you can snag a pocket mirror and check this out for yourself. While there aren’t a ton of studies on women’s vulvas, the results that do exist show that most women have labia that look and measure differently between the right and left. The only average was that of the outer labia compared to the size of a traditional bottle of nail polish.
Color. Believe it or not, there is something called the Labia Library, and in it is a vast array of vaginas from around the globe. If interested in taking a peek, visit labialibrary.org.au and go to the gallery. You’ll be prompted of the content warning: Please be aware that this gallery includes images of genitals. Then forward on by clicking OK to view or Cancel to exit if not interested. Once there, you’ll see that nearly every single vagina has its own distinct color palette and shades of pink, red, brown, tan and more.
Volume of Discharge. We already discerned that no vagina smells exactly like another. The same can be said for the volume, scent and viscosity of discharge. There isn’t a “normal” standard to compare yourself to. And discharge can vary greatly even in just one woman from cycle-to-cycle and even dependent upon lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, sexual activity and stress! Some women see a lot more moisture down there than others. The kind of discharge you want to see is typically clear, white, and pasty but as long as your vaginal health is good to go, your discharge is likely different than others but OK for your personal hygiene.
So don’t worry about comparing yourself to any other woman! Do what’s right for your own body as it is unique – and that is worth celebrating with confidence!