Debunking the “Loose” vs. “Tight” Vagina Myth

Debunking the “Loose” vs. “Tight” Vagina Myth

The SMSNA periodically receives and publishes ‘guest editorials.’ The current article was submitted by Mia Barnes, a freelance writer and researcher who specializes in women's health, wellness, and healthy living. She is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine.

First things first — There's no such thing as a permanently "loose" or "tight" vagina. Your vagina is elastic, capable of accommodating childbirth and returning to its former shape. While aging and childbirth may weaken vaginal walls, it's not a permanent condition. Explore how vaginal composition can change and how to maintain pelvic floor health for optimal well-being.

First, Understand the Vulva

It's necessary to include the vulva when discussing vaginal health. The vulva is the external part of the female genitalia, consisting of the labia, clitoris and vaginal opening.

Similar to the vaginal canal, the vulvar tissue can also experience changes such as relaxation and increased lubrication during sexual arousal. Understanding its anatomy and how it responds can help you recognize how your vulva and vagina play key roles in sexual health and comfort.

  1. Natural Changes Over Time

As you age, your vagina undergoes natural changes, especially during menopause. When you enter menopause, your estrogen levels will start to drop. You may notice your vagina becoming:

  • More rigid
  • Thinner
  • Drier

That said, the changes will be minimal. To combat these effects, consider using water-based lubricants during intercourse to ease discomfort. Pelvic floor exercises like Kegels can help strengthen the pelvic floor and improve symptoms or stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

  1. Childbirth

Vaginal delivery can indeed cause temporary changes in vaginal elasticity — and that's natural. The stretching of the vaginal canal during childbirth is necessary for the baby to pass through. Your vagina should return to its pre-birth state over time, though it might not take its former shape entirely. Multiple births, however, may lead to more significant changes in elasticity.

If you have concerns about vaginal changes post-birth, discuss them with your health care provider. They can provide the necessary reassurance and guidance.

  1. Pelvic Floor Health

Weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to vaginal laxity. Your pelvic floor muscles support many organs and are an essential part of your core. They may weaken, which can have the following adverse effects:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • A persistent urge to urinate
  • Accidental urination, which could also indicate an underlying condition such as SUI

To strengthen your pelvic floor, consider including Kegels in your daily routine. You can also consider neuromuscular electrical stimulation, which uses electrical pulses to stimulate specific muscle groups.

Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding heavy lifting can also help prevent further strain on these muscles. Consult your health care provider if you're experiencing pelvic floor weakness symptoms.

  1. Sexual Arousal

During sexual arousal, your vaginal muscles undergo the following changes:

  • Naturally relaxes
  • Increases lubrication

This relaxation of the muscles allows for greater elasticity and flexibility in the vaginal canal. These changes are vital for those who have penetrative intercourse. However, if you're experiencing a lack of arousal or are feeling tense during sexual activity, your vaginal muscles may tighten. As a result, it can lead to discomfort or difficulty with penetration.

To combat this, prioritize foreplay, communication with your partner and exploring relaxation techniques. These tips may help with your vaginal relaxation for a more enjoyable sexual experience.

Some women may experience these symptoms due to past trauma. In such cases, seeking support from a therapist or counselor specializing in sexual health and trauma can be beneficial.

  1. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can contribute to vaginal tightness and discomfort during penetration. One example is Vaginismus. Vaginismus is the involuntary contractions of the vaginal muscles. This condition can make intercourse painful or even impossible due to its effect on vaginal elasticity.

Seeking medical advice and treatment from a health care professional — such as a gynecologist or pelvic floor therapist — is essential. They can help address any underlying issues and develop a tailored treatment plan.

  1. Emotional and Psychological Factors

Your psyche and emotions are all intertwined with sexual activity. These factors can affect arousal levels and the ability of vaginal muscles to relax during sexual activity:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Past trauma
  • Negative sexual experiences

To promote vaginal relaxation and comfort, try a few self-care practices. You can practice mindfulness, try stress reduction techniques and communicate with your partner. Seeking support from a therapist or counselor can also be beneficial. Remember — taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is essential for sexual health.

Busting Common Vagina Myths

The myth of a "loose" or "tight" vagina oversimplifies the complexities of vaginal health. There are numerous factors that can influence vaginal elasticity and tightness. Additionally, not all people with a vagina engage in penetrative intercourse. Understanding and respecting these diverse experiences can promote inclusive and comprehensive sexual health.

You can always work on addressing the tone of your vaginal and pelvic floor muscles. Consult with a gynecologist if you're concerned about the strength of your vaginal muscles. Since sex-related problems are frequently psychological or emotional in nature, you might want to see a therapist.


  1. Dominoni, M.; Gritti, A.; Bergante, C.; Pasquali, M. F.; Scatigno, A. L.; De Silvestri, A.; Gardella, B. (2022, October 30). Genital perception and vulvar appearance after childbirth: a cohort analysis of genital body image and sexuality.

  2. Vaginal Atrophy.

  3. Cherney, K. (2023, May 9). Premenopause, Perimenopause, and Menopause.

  4. Stress Urinary Incontinence.

  5. Li, Wenjuan PhD; Hu, Qing BS; Zhang, Zhujuan PhD; Shen, Fengxian PhD; Xie, Zhenwei PhD. (2020, April). Effect of different electrical stimulation protocols for pelvic floor rehabilitation of postpartum women with extremely weak muscle strength.

  6. Huang, Y.C., Chang, K.V. (2023, May 1). Kegel Exercises.

  7. Hwang, Ui-Jae, PhD, PT and Lee, Min-Seok, MD, PhD. (2023, April 19). Relationship between female sexual function, vaginal volume, vaginal resting tone, and pelvic floor muscle strength in women with stress urinary incontinence.

  8. (2024, February 16). Painful intercourse (dyspareunia).

  9. Vaginismus.

  10. Liu, M.; Juravic, M.; Mazza, G.; Krychman, M.L. (2020, January 31). Vaginal Dilators: Issues and Answers.

  11. Vulva | Definition, Anatomy, & Function.

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