I always thought that I had two holes, one in the front and one in the back.
I took health class. I saw the same diagrams as everyone else, but I was so busy trying to make sense of the uterus, ovaries, and other tunnels and channels and bloody lining that when I saw the hole, which is the vagina, I assumed that it was the pee hole.
I remember learning that when a baby is born, the vagina is stretched to superhuman proportions. But, the process of growing and having a baby was so mysterious and wonderful to me that I let that be the explanation.
Magic. Yeah, that’s it.
No further explanation needed.
Except when I would stand in front of the toilet, using all of the ab muscles that I could muster, I would push my pee stream as far as I could (because I was of the opinion that not only boys should experiment with their aim), I would notice the steady, pin-sized stream of pee and wonder, “It doesn’t even look like a grape could fit through there, let alone a baby’s head.”
But, it was really just the beginning.
Later on, as I began to mature and became interested in boys, I thought it might be a good idea to explore my own body.
Somehow, my mother had this incredibly psychic ability to know when my hands were about to Christopher Columbus their way into my crotchal region. She would literally pop her head into the frame of my bedroom door like, “Whatcha doin?” But, not in a “heyyyy, I’m passing through” type of way, but in a “I must ensure that you don’t go blind, grow hair on your palms, or burn in the fiery pit of hell” kind of way. It was so bad that for years after I started having sex, I could still see and hear her pop in.
Add to this the fact that, once I discovered my clitoral easy button, I didn’t even feel the need for much more exploration.
I remember being with guys and wondering how they found some secret porthole to Narnia on my body that even I hadn’t known about.
I almost wanted to ask them, see if they could draw a map or something.
Instead, I grabbed a mirror. When I looked between my legs, I still only saw one hole. But, I was determined to get to the bottom of this (no pun intended).
The next time that I went pee, I grabbed the mirror. It looked like the pee came from higher up than the hole that I could see.
Then, because we live in the Google age, I did even more research.
Here is what I learned:
The Vaginal Opening
This is the hole where penis (and other fun objects) go in. This is the hole where tampons are placed when we have our period. Pee does NOT come from this hole. This is also where babies come from (what goes in must come out. Pun TOTALLY intended). Beyond the opening of the vagina is the cervix, which forms the lower end of the uterus.
This is a very small hole that is connected to the bladder. When we pee, some pee may trickle down into the vaginal hole, but pee actually comes from this tiny hole. The sole purpose of the urethra is for pee to exit.
I was surprised to learn that I was not the only person who had this misconception. The Internet is filled with stories like mine of men and women alike who had no idea about how things really work in the vagina. Some suggest helping to make the distinction by differentiating the vulva from the vagina. Others say that the diagrams which depict female anatomy should be layered to show different tubes going to different areas, although this may only lead to more confusion.
Whatever the case, mothers of daughters should encourage body curiosity and take the time to make sure young people know and understand the functionality of their bodies long before other explorers enter the picture.
Knowing your lady business also helps you to know and communicate how you like to be pleased. Not knowing can lead to frustration on both sides.
Don’t be afraid to take a mirror in the bathroom and look down there from time to time if you aren’t sure what’s going on. And even if you already do, it might be a good idea to take a look and admire your lovely lady bits.