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What Happens To Your Vagina After Sex? 7 Things You Should Know

It’s astounding how many misconceptions about the female body are still kicking around. At a time when many people have more access to information than ever before, there are still some myths about women’s bodies that continue to persist. And when the topic of sex comes into the picture, the misconceptions seem to increase tenfold. While there are plenty of gross jokes about women getting super “loose” after getting it on, the realities of what happens to your vagina after sex are actually pretty interesting (and far less shame-y).

A lot of these misunderstandings are based in plain old misogyny and anxieties about sexuality. The undertone is always something along the lines of, "if you have too much sex you’ll wear it out." In reality, though, it just doesn’t work that way. But a basic understanding of the vagina’s anatomy and physiological responses can go a long way toward dispelling these myths. In general, the vagina is extremely resilient and not in any danger of getting overused. And there is some evidence that regular sex can help keep vaginal tissue healthy. Here’s a quick overview of the physical responses that occur in the afterglow of sex, when your body slowly returns to its normal resting state.  

1. The Flush Fades

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Thanks to increased blood flow during arousal, a woman's vagina may appear darker. After sex, everything gradually returns to its normal color, as Women's Health Matters explained.

2. Size Returns To Normal

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The vagina will return to its normal size shortly after sex. "Even the largest penis in the world won't compare to the size of the baby, so it won't affect the size of the vagina," Lauren Streicher, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, told Women's Health. It's resilient enough to just pop back into place.

3. Elasticity Remains Intact

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"Pull the corners of your mouth out toward your ears then let go. What happens," sex journalist Michael Castleman wrote in Psychology Today. "The mouth immediately snaps back to its pre-stretched state because the tissue is elastic. Do it 100 times. There's no permanent stretching." Likewise, having lots of sex will not make a vagina "loose."  

4. Bleeding May Occur

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A little spotting is probably not cause for concern. "Vaginal bleeding after sex is common and can happen when you're not menstruating or don't expect to be menstruating," Mayo Clinic reported. If you're premenopausal, it's probably just due to some friction to the cervix.

5. Tissues Benefit From The Workout

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Sex can actually help your vagina stay in shape, so to speak. As gynecologist  Lissa Rankin told Woman's Day, sex keeps the vaginal tissue healthy. Now there's a good workout plan.

6. The Vagina Shortens In Length

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Did you know that the vagina expands during arousal? It's due to the increased blood flow. And once the deed is done, it returns to normal. After sex (AKA the "resolution phase"), the "vagina shortens in length and the clitoris and breasts return to their usual size," the Daily Mail explained. Who knew so much activity was going on down there?

7. Aching Might Happen

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For many women, partnered sex does not always result in orgasm. When this happens, "women can experience pelvic heaviness and aching if they do not reach orgasm," as sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D. said in Women's Health. You might feel uncomfortable for a bit, but it's a harmless sensation.