The vulva and its subcomponents have a number of uses. Here is a short list of some of the more common ones.

Nestled within the vulva is the endpoint of a liquid waste disposal system. The vast majority of the time when someone uses their vulva, it’s for urination.

Subsections within the vulva are often the primary source of sexual pleasure for people who have them. Certain components, such as the clitoris, can become particularly sensitive to stimulation in certain situations. Not everyone who owns a vulva will use it in this way.

For most vulva owners, a region located adjacent to the vagina will eventually begin redecorating itself as a nursery pretty much every month. If this nursery does not get a resident within that month, it will tear down what it built and throw it out, down the vagina. For many people, this is an annoying, unwanted process, but for others, it can be a welcome sign that a resident has not arrived, and for others, it can just be a thing that happens.

Some people who own a vulva enjoy using some or all of it with another person. On the other side, some people enjoy having a vulva they do not own used with them. Not everyone who owns a vulva will use it in this way.

Occasionally, often as a delayed reaction to certain activities with a partner (although that’s not always the case), the vulva will transform into a passageway by which a tiny human will be kicked out of the assembly floor where it had spent several months building itself. Not everyone who owns a vulva will use it in this way, not even everyone who hosts a self-assembling mass of cells known as a “baby”.

What Comes Out

It is important for a vulva owner to understand what sorts of things downstairs are common and “normal”, and which are potentially a bigger issue. This list cannot describe all possibilities, so please consult other resources or medical resources if there are concerns.

The vagina is the most common escape route for a baby looking to flee the uterus. There is typically ample advance warning (up to around nine months, in many cases) that a baby may be intending to use this passageway.

This is the most common thing to come out of a vulva. Usually happens to anyone who owns a vulva several times a day. Urine is a waste product of the biological processes of the body. It is usually released in a high pressure, high velocity stream. It is a flowing liquid in consistency and ranges from clear to deep yellow-brown in color. The exact volume varies, but it is typically a notable amount.

Urine is released from the urethra, which is located between the entrance to the vagina and the clitoris.

For a period of time, roughly once a month, there may be a flow of blood. This blood may be heavy, may be light, may be somewhat clotted and “chunky”. This flow is the result of the uterine lining breaking down and being discarded by the body. Vulva owners will often use a menstrual product, such as a tampon, pad, or cup to catch the blood flow.

It may be possible to lighten or even prevent menstruation from happening through the use of hormones sometimes called “birth control” for their ability to prevent pregnancy.

When aroused, the lining of the vagina may self-lubricate. This is generally a clear, slippery, viscous fluid. It’s similar in consistency to some kinds of liquid soap and a small string of fluid will bridge the gap if you pinch some of it between your fingers and slowly open them.

This natural lubrication may or may not be adequate for penetrative activities.

Throughout the month, there may be mucus that comes out of the vagina. The appearance can change from time to time, and these changes can be an indicator of the phase of the menstrual cycle. The mucus can range from clear to white to slightly yellowish, and may be reminiscent of snot. Sometimes it may be sticky.

Some other types of discharge may be signs of infection or other problems. If you notice a new type of discharge you’ve never seen before, it may be worth looking for more information or consulting a medical professional.

After penetrative intercourse that involves a penis ejaculating inside the vagina, a significant amount of the semen may drip out.

What Goes In

This is a non-exhaustive list of things that may potentially enter a vagina.

Nothing at all. Some people don’t want anything going in there, and that’s perfectly fine. The owner of the vagina gets to decide what to let in and what stays out.

As noted elsewhere on this site, it’s often possible for vulva owners to participate in sexual activities, masturbate, and experience orgasm without involving the vagina whatsoever.

Some menstrual products, like tampons or cups, may be inserted into the vagina to catch the blood during a period.

Certain medical procedures may require internal vaginal use of some sort of medical device. A speculum is a sort of metal duck bill-looking thing which is designed to hold the walls of the vagina apart. A swab, similar to a Q-tip may be used to take a sample. IUDs, or intra-uterine devices, are a form of birth control that is placed in the uterus, which will be accessed through the vagina. Sometimes dilators may be recommended to gradually stretch the vagina, if the vulva owner has a small vagina or a condition like vaginismus and wishes to take part in penetrative activities.

It is always your right to ask the doctor to explain a procedure beforehand and ask whether the procedure is necessary. Some procedures may not be warranted if you do not engage in penetrative intercourse. It is always your right to weigh the risks and decide not to proceed. If the procedure involves a speculum, you can typically ask the doctor to use a smaller size.

Sometimes body parts, such as fingers or penises, may be used inside a vagina. Lubrication might make this process more comfortable.

Sometimes toys, such as dildos, vibrators, or Kegel exercisers may be used inside a vagina. Lubrication might make this process more comfortable.

The vulva and related areas may occasionally change between a number of different states. The transition between the states is not instant. The exact configuration will be different for different people, and the differences may be easier or harder to discern for different people. , as the size and shape of various parts may affectmake some things more or less apparent.

The vulva and friends spend most of their time in a default, unaroused state. The clitoris will often be relatively small, and the inner labia may be hidden completely by the outer labia.

Some of the time, the vulvar area will enter a state of arousal. Sometimes this is brought on by certain kinds of physical contact or sexual thoughts, while other times it can be random.

During arousal, several changes will take place. Blood will flow to the region, causing various tissues to expand. The labia may become fuller and more pronounced and change color. The inner labia may push open the outer labia and become more prominent. This clitoris will experience an erection. The glans will become larger and harder, but the clitoral hood may also expand at the same time, so even though the clitoris is getting larger, it may end up more hidden. In some cases, a hard shaft may become noticeable, connecting the glans to the body, and may cause the clitoris to stick out. The vagina may also begin producing lubrication.

Many of these changes may not be immediately apparent unless you closely watch the process, and even then they may be hard to detect. Feeling the wetness of the vaginal lubrication is one of the more commonly noticed signs. People also describe a feeling of “fullness”, “warmth”, or “tingling” downstairs.

Arousal also often makes the entire region more sensitive. Some areas, such as the clitoris, may become more sensitive than others. If stimulated in the right way for long enough, this can often lead to sexual pleasure and possibly orgasm.

Internally, there are changes that are even harder to notice. The vagina may lengthen, and the cervix and uterus may shift position. And the temperature of the entire area might increase slightly.

The menstrual cycle may impact how the vulva behaves. One of the more well-known effects is the period, where blood will come from the vagina for several days. Cervical mucus will change in amount, consistency, and color during the cycle. At some points during the month, arousal may be more common or easier to achieve, leading some people to describe a few days where they tend to feel more “horny”.