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A few choice words about "tightness"

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Mariah asks:

How long does it take for the "vagina opening" to get tight again after sex? A few days, a week? Do PC muscle exercises help? Say I hadn't had sex for about 5 months and then just had sex about a week ago, am I "looser" now then I would've been if I didn't have sex at all? And if so, how do I make it tight again and how long does it take? Is it already "tight" again...Does that even make sense!?? PLEASE HELP!!

Sarah replies:

You know, I really wish I could get a hold of whomever started this obsession with vaginal "tightness" and have a few choice words with them. Most of the words I'd have to say would not be very nice. But since that person is not here right now, all I can do is try to clear up a few of the unfortunate misunderstandings and blatant lies that seem to be so common about this issue.

  • Being "tight" is a good thing. WRONG! Absolutely, completely, 100% wrong. In fact, that particular myth is exactly opposite of the truth. When a woman is aroused sufficiently, her vagina actually loosens and her cervix pulls up to allow for comfortable penetration. That is just the way that sexual arousal works for women, thank goodness. So you should be looser when attempting vaginal penetration, not tighter. In fact, feeling "tight" is usually a pretty good indication that a woman is either not ready for penetration or simply does not want to be involved in penetration (or sex, period) at that point.
  • Being "loose" means you've had lots of sex/had sex recently/etc. Again, absolutely false. Being relaxed and well lubricated means that you're into whatever sexual activity is going on. It is important with this as well to understand that the vagina is a muscular tube. This means that the vagina will conform to whatever is inside it. So when there is nothing in a woman's vagina, it is closed in on itself (in other words, the walls will be touching). Essentially, it goes back to exactly the way it was prior to penetration. Immediately after sex, the vagina may remain relaxed for several minutes, but it will return to its prior state very shortly. Certainly, like any muscle, there are variations in muscle tone, but for most women, especially younger women, there's just no reason to worry about a lack of tone with the vagina and the surrounding muscles, and having had sex doesn't decrease tone: in fact, that'd be a pretty backwards thing to think about the use of any muscle, since use increases tone of the muscles. You could have intercourse everyday for a year and it still wouldn't change a thing. Similarly, you could abstain for a year and it wouldn't change a thing either (assuming that when you do have sex again, you are aroused and relaxed).
  • Penetration permanently changes the "tightness" of the vagina. Strike three! Penetration does not cause any permanent changes in the vagina. As I said before, the vagina is a muscular tube, so it stretches to accommodate and then returns to its previous state. Even vaginal childbirth results in very few changes to the vagina. In that case, the changes to the internal configuration are extremely minimal. Some change may be noticed in the vaginal opening if serious tearing occurs or if an episiotomy is done, but again this is generally fairly minimal. So if the passage of a baby does not permanently alter the vagina, it's not even logical that intercourse would cause changes. I haven't heard of a penis that's the size of a full term baby, have you?

So in short, worrying about being "tight" is a pretty pointless and actually counter-productive thing to do. Having sex will not make you looser. Not having sex will not make you tighter. There's not anything that is going to make you permanently "tighter" that is healthy or a good idea. And if you are feeling tight, that's a good sign that you don't want to be having sex right then anyway. If you want to do something like Kegel exercises, that's fine. Rather than making you inherently tighter during sexual arousal, it will probably give you more conscious control over those muscles that you can exercise during sex if you desire. But really, you should focus on being relaxed and enjoying yourself, rather than being as tight as a partner may (incorrectly) believe you should be.

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written 25 Aug 2007 . updated 23 Jan 2014

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