Vaginas are shamed for all sorts of things, unfortunately: the way they look, the way they smell, the way they taste. They’re also shamed for how they feel – specifically, how tight they are, or are not.
You’ll hear it in porn scenes and read it in erotica stories: the culture-wide obsession with ultra-tight vaginas and their supposed magnificence. Vaginal tightness is also often talked about as a marker of virginity or purity. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
First off, let’s dispense with the virginity myths. While it’s true that people who’ve never experienced penetration before may have a harder time being penetrated, often this is because their muscles are clenched due to nervousness about the act, or their hymen is still intact (although the hymen is the subject of its own fair share of myths). Vaginal tightness has a lot to do with pelvic muscle tone and overall build, both factors that can cause virgins and non-virgins alike to feel tight inside.
Tightness can also sometimes be the result of legitimate medical problems, such as vaginismus, a condition in which the pelvic muscles involuntarily contract when penetration is attempted, making penetrative sex impossible or profoundly uncomfortable. People suffering from vaginismus may find relief through physical therapy from a trained professional and the usage of vaginal dilators.
In cases where no vaginal medical condition is present, feeling “too tight” is often the result of not being turned on. Yes, it’s true: despite the way tight vaginas are often bragged about as the pinnacle of sexiness, usually a tight vagina is an unaroused vagina! During the typical arousal process, the vagina widens and lengthens to allow for more comfortable penetration (a process called “vaginal tenting”), and it begins to self-lubricate. If you or your partner struggle with feeling too tight to allow for comfortable penetration, but vaginismus has been ruled out, it’s likely you’re simply not doing enough foreplay. Remember that the clitoris, not the vagina, is the anatomical pleasure equivalent of the penis – so, for most people with vulvas, vaginal penetration on its own won’t prompt nearly as much pleasure or arousal as clitoral stimulation, and it may not even be possible without prior clit stimulation for many people.
It’s true that some people with penises prefer the sensations a tight vagina can provide for them during sex – but some decidedly do not! If you’ve ever perused the BigDickProblems subreddit, then you know that a decent-sized contingent of the penis-owning population struggles to penetrate partners at all due to their size. These folks may therefore be more compatible with someone whose pelvic muscles are more relaxed and welcoming.
It’s also possible to tighten one’s vaginal muscles at will during sex; this is essentially the same action as doing Kegel exercises. If your partner enjoys the sensation of tightness, squeezing your muscles rhythmically and strategically may help ramp up their arousal or even send them over the edge into orgasm. It also tends to intensify sensations for the partner doing the squeezing. Having sex in positions where your legs are closed (or nearly closed) can also make your vagina feel tighter.
Sadly, many people shame their partners for being “too tight” or “not tight enough,” “too big” or “not big enough.” The truth is that different bodies fit together in different ways, and one partner having an issue with your anatomy does not mean anything is wrong with your body; it just means your body and theirs are an imperfect fit. There are usually workarounds you can try, such as lubricant, sex toys, switching positions, or more warm-up. Plus, remember that penetrative sex isn’t the only type of sex! It’s extremely limiting to think that only a penis going into a vagina “counts” as sex, or that no other type of sex can be pleasurable and intimate. Hand sex, oral sex, “outercourse,” and kink are all other perfectly valid forms of sexual expression that can be every bit as exciting as intercourse for many people – and may be a good bit more comfortable as well.
What are your thoughts on vaginal tightness?