Whose Vagina Is It, Anyway?

Q: I’m a 32-year-old woman being driven up the wall by my fiancé always saying that he can tell I’m playing with my toys when he’s at work because I’m loose that day. I swear to him up and down that I haven’t, and even tell him the last time that I have done something like that. But he doesn’t want to hear it. He always says I’m lying about it all. Why some days is my vagina tighter than another day? Is there a position during sex that would make my vagina tighter? I already do those “pee exercises.” Please HELP!!! I’m sick of being accused of something I’m not even doing.

A: I think there’s a sounder, healthier solution than trying different sexual positions or doing more kegels. Because the problem here isn’t your vagina.

I don’t think the problem is your partner being uneducated about vaginas, either. I’m not even sure he is earnestly feeling the physical differences he’s reporting. Even if he is, we’ll experience a different feeling with sex than we expect or want sometimes. But in a healthy dynamic, that’s usually how we’ll frame it, as things just feeling different, no big whoop. We might ask to try different positions or different sexual activities to experience what we’re looking for, or may just explore that new feeling without seeking something else at all.

That’s sound for a whole bunch of reasons, including the ways we treat a partner with care, respect and courtesy. But it’s also sound for another reason. Genitals are not sound tools for taking accurate measurements of anything (which is likely why we don’t use them to figure out what size drapes to buy or as a quick fix when we’re baking and we can’t find the darned measuring cup). Their size, shape, texture, temperature and other properties change all the time. How they change and feel is very strongly influenced by what we are thinking and feeling. And when genitals are interlocked, all of these things are happening for more than one person at once, with more than one body, so telling how one set of genitals feels separately by measuring with another set is impossible.

You can know you’re likely outside a healthy dynamic when a person has made a pattern of baseless accusations, despite your objections, exasperation and hurt. You feel like your sexual body is living under constant interrogation, so you can know something is wrong with your relationship. You understand this is your vagina, and your body, not his, right? Of course you do. But he does not. That’s very bad news if you want a healthy relationship.

It sounds like no matter what you do sexually, or what information you give this person, this won’t stop. And, personally, continuing an intimate relationship with someone like this sounds about as appealing as chewing glass.

I think the only potentially sound solutions are a) this guy dedicating himself to ongoing counseling, work he goes into and participates in with a strong understanding that his behavior is really messed up and with a strong desire to change it, or b) you getting out of this relationship. Since you’re engaged, I assume you’re very invested in this relationship and may prefer the first option to leaving. Just know that counseling can’t do squat if he doesn’t deeply invest in it, want to change and stop with this behavior right now and for good. And you can stop all of this yourself right now, and prevent dynamics like this ever after, by choosing to take and keep yourself and your vagina far, far away from someone like this. You’ll both be a lot happier if you do.

You can find out more about your body for yourself: Here are a few links to fill you in on the ever-changing nature of your vagina and the parts of your body surrounding it, something people who like vaginas and the people they’re part of usually find fascinating, not infuriating. Our Bodies, Ourselves was just released in a new edition this month: if you don’t have a copy, go get one. It can fill you in about your anatomy, and there’s also information in there about healthy and unhealthy relationships that I think you could use.

Photo of San Francisco Bay to Breakers participants in 2005 by Flickr user joethedork under license from Creative Commons 2.0 


Heather Corinna is the executive director of Scarleteen, the inclusive online resource for teen and young adult sexuality education and information she founded in 1998. She is the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College; a co-founder of the All Girl Army; and director of the CONNECT sexual health outreach program for King County, which primarily serves homeless and transient youth. She is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Sexuality Education, a writer and contributing editor for the 2011 edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, a member of the Board of Directors for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and her sexuality advice is also syndicated weekly at RH Reality Check. Heather was the winner of The Champions of Sexual Literacy Award for Grassroots Activism from the National Sexuality Resource Center/SFSU in 2007; in 2009 the winner of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, Western Region's Public Service Award and the Our Bodies, Ourselves' Women's Health Heroes Award. In 2011, Scarleteen won a Seattle Web Award for Best Nonprofit Website. A Chicago native, she now lives and works on an island in the Pacific Northwest.