Hanne Blank is not a virgin. (She's almost 37 and she's been living with her life partner for nine years -- we just thought we'd get that out of the way.) But she is a historian, a writer, and an expert on virginity, having written the first-ever history of the subject, "Virgin: The Untouched History."
There's a reason for taking things slowly, for putting off intercourse, or taking it away from center stage that often gets overlooked. I'm not talking about slowing things down for religious or moral ideals or social pressures. Not slowing things down to prevent STIs and pregnancy. Not even slowing things down for legal reasons or because of your age. I'm not talking about Just Say No, and I'm not talking about not having sex at all. I'm talking about PLEASURE.
Vaginal discharge and secretions are normal and usually healthy. The vagina is a passageway between the outside of the body and the internal reproductive system. Vaginal secretions are how the vagina cleanses and regulates itself -- how amazing is that? -- in the same sort of way that saliva helps keep your mouth clean and healthy and part of the fertility cycle.
What's the menstrual cycle? How does it all work? What are periods and options for managing them, and when's it time to check in with a healthcare provider?