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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » A Vagina Question

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Author Topic: A Vagina Question
Gwaihir
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Something I've been wondering for a while: does anyone know how strong the vagina actually is? I know it's described as a "muscular tube," but is the vagina itself a muscle, or it something else that just has muscles around it?
Has its strength ever been recorded in any way?

Just curious. .

EDIT: Oops. . I think I should have posted this in the Body and Soul section.

[ 11-09-2009, 10:54 PM: Message edited by: Gwaihir ]

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Heather
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That's a great question!

The vagina is smooth muscle, but it is ALSO surrounded by a handful of other pelvic muscles, too.

I don't actually know if any studies have been done on it's strength. I have a bunch on my plate this morning, but I'll do some poking around this afternoon and see if I can find any. [Smile]

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Heather
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Couldn't keep from geeking out on this.

Alas, most of the study done I could find has not been exclusive to the vaginal muscles, but included the muscles of the pelvic floor because the studies seem to have all been done -- understandably, as this would be the only practical use for this info -- in relationships to urinary incontinence and/or post-childbirth issues.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Gwaihir
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They should do more studies on this! I remember my mom saying once that the uterus was the strongest muscle in the human body. . dunno where she got that from though.
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Heather
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The thing with studies -- because they need to be funded -- is finding a practical use for the information. In other words, what use does (besides curiosity, which I'm right there with you on) knowing how strong the vaginal muscle alone have?

And could we even determine that separate from all the other muscles it interacts with: how?

To my understanding, the uterus IS the strongest muscle in the human body by weight. If we consider the heart a muscle (it's not, but it has muscles), though, I think that wins it.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mike2
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It is possible to measure the strength of a woman's PC-muscles (which in effect (and everyday talk) *is* vaginal muscles).

Several studies have done this and there are several relatively simple ways a woman can measure her own vaginal strength.

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Heather
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Actually, the PC muscles are only part of the muscular structure of and around the vagina. And they're not the vaginal muscles full-stop: there's more to the vagina muscularly than the pelvic floor.

I haven't seen any of these studies: I'd love to, though: can you pass on the links here?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mike2
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Are there other muscles than the PC-group involved when the vagina contracts (like when squeezing a penis)?

I don't think so. If you know of other muscles involved, please let me know as I find this subject interesting.

According to these studies, it is puborectalis that is the muscle responsible for contraction, with just a little help from bulbocavernous (both count as PC-muscles as far as I know):

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/57364/1/20407_ftp.pdf
"The posterior bill is pulled toward the anterior bill in the distal region of the vagina by the contraction of a U-shaped muscular 'loop' formed bilaterally by the pubovisceral muscle, the puborectalis muscle, the ventral-most fibers of the iliococcygeus, and the bulbocavernosus muscle (the latter contributing little force)."

http://www.freshpatents.com/Pelvic-floor-function-diagnostic-and-therapeutic-station-and-uses-thereof-dt20070809ptan20070185417.php?type=description
"It is probable that the shortening of the puborectalis muscle pulls the anal canal, the vagina and the urethra in an anterior direction, thereby compressing these three structures against each other and in turn against the posterior surface of the pubic bone. This argument is supported by the observation that vaginal high pressure zone is circumferentially asymmetric with higher pressures oriented in the anterior and posterior directions. Thus it is reasonable to assume that the puborectalis muscle component of the pelvic floor muscle provides constrictor function of the pelvic diaphragm and vaginal manometry measures this function.'"

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The vagina itself also has muscles. I'm not sure of their function, however, but think they help make the vagina stretchable. Could also have some role in the adjustments the vaginal area goes through before intercourse.
Don't think these muscles are very strong, though. And I don't think they are used during intercourse.
Maybe during orgasm?

---

On the subject of what muscles that are responsible for contracting the vagina, lots of women claim they can control not only the muscle located close to the vaginal entrance, but also muscles deeper inside the vagina. Do you know the name of these muscles?

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As for studies where vaginal contraction strength is measured, there are several. Here are two;
http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0002-9378/PIIS0002937807005479.main-abr.pdf
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118640671/abstract

In some studies, contraction strength has been as high as >200 mmHG.

Not a study, but on the topic of measuring vaginal strength: Tatiana Kozhevnikova is claimed to lift over 30 lbs with her vagina (world record).

---

And if a woman wants to gauge her own strength (for curiosity, interest or just to check progress of her kegel training), not just read values from different studies, there are simple ways to do this.

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Heather
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Mike, thanks for the links: I look forward to looking at them over the weekend. After I do, I'll be back with more comments.

Just to be clear, the PC muscle is a specific muscle, the pubococcygeus. The other muscles you're talking about are....well, mostly (not the puborectalis, that's part of the PC) other muscles to my understanding. The iliococcygeus is not part of the pubococcygeus, for instance: they are interconnected, but different.

The tricky thing with any of this -- which was my issue in saying finding study of the *vaginal* muscle specifically -- is that everything going on in and around the vagina, muscularly and per innervation, isn't something I think we can isolate very well, because it's complex, and not so easy to isolate. But I'll take a peek at those links in the morning. Just know this isn't my top priority, though, given your age.

(I'm not sure why we're suddenly talking about intercourse here, though, since that's hardly the only thing the vagina exists for.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mike2
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Heather, thanks for clearing that up - in my above post I erroneously thought of PC muscles as all the muscles of the pelvic floor.

quote:
Originally posted by Heather:
(I'm not sure why we're suddenly talking about intercourse here, though, since that's hardly the only thing the vagina exists for.)

Just to clarify - we're not just talking intercourse here, but given the topic and forum - and that intercourse is one of the main uses of the vagina - it's not that strange it gets mentioned. [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Heather:

But I'll take a peek at those links in the morning. Just know this isn't my top priority, though"

As far as I'm concerned, you don't have to look at them at all. [Smile]
Instead, devote that time to tell me the names of the deeper vaginal muscles many women claim to control. [Smile]
(if you know, of course)

---

About those studies; they have measured the strength of the vagina (as in how much strength would be exerted on a penis), not smooth muscle strength of the vaginal tube itself.

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Heather
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Please don't tell me what to devote my time to. As I made clear, what MY time needs to be devoted to are the young people who this forum and the site here is for.

I don't know about these "many women" who claim what you say: I haven't heard much of that in my travels. When women talk to me about their sexual experiences or wants (in my personal life or at work), they tend to talk more about enjoyment than about what muscles they may or may not be isolating.

But the PC muscles, when it comes to the vagina, have more to do with the outer (posterior) third. When it comes to the back of the vagina, again, the vagina is ITSELF muscular tissue, so there's that. The levator ani muscles also play a part, as do several ligaments and the muscles of and around the rectum. (And when you're talking about contractions that can happen during orgasm, you're primarily talking about the uterus.) When you talk about what keeps the vagina flexible, despite it being a muscle, it's glands that have more to do with lubrication per flexbility.

If you're more interested in this further, my suggestion would be to pick up a medical reference book for surgeons who work with female pelvic anatomy. Those kinds of references are where you find the most detail about muscles and ligaments.

Like I said, I'm curious to look at your links, but since none of our younger users have asked for such an in-depth look at this level of musculature, I'm not going to have much more conversation about it with you here.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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mike2
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OK.
Thanks for your explanation of what muscles that may be responsible for controlling the deeper part of the vagina. I never wanted you to go in-depth into books or studies to check for the muscles I asked for, only tell me what you think/know and that's what you've done, so - as you pointed out - there's no need for us to discuss this further.

I understand that you haven't heard much about vaginal control in your travels... Guess it's not the first thing you mention for another person when you discuss sex... [Smile]

As for the studies where vaginal contraction pressure were measured, I only posted them because you asked me to. No need (for me) to discuss them further, either.

I already have a reference book of the muscles of the pelvic area, but it's hard to know what muscles that affect the vagina.
Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

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