By Korin Miller; image from Unsplash.com
We asked the experts if there’s any merit to this term.
Mean Girls has so many quotable lines – “That’s so fetch,” “Don’t have sex. You will get pregnant and die,” and, of course, “I can’t help it if I’ve got a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina!” Mean Girls fans throw around the wide-set vagina line all the time but… what does that mean for your sexual health, exactly?
First, it’s not an actual medical term. “No gynaecologist has ever used this word,” says Dr Lauren Streicher, an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynaecology. However, she says, some women have a wider (or more narrow) vagina than others, which is totally normal. “Body parts are different sizes in different people,” Streicher says. “Someone who has had vaginal births before is going to be different from an 18-year-old virgin.”
The average diameter of the vagina is between two and 3.5 centimetres, says women’s health expert Dr Jennifer Wider, so anything larger than that could technically be a “wide-set vagina” in Mean Girls-speak.
That said, it really doesn’t mean anything and you really would have no way of knowing if your vagina is wider-than-average anyway, Streicher says. It won’t impact the heaviness of your flow or cause a tampon to fall out of you. The larger Mean Girls quote about the wide-set vagina references having to use “super-jumbo tampons” but Streicher says the size of the tampon you need and whether it stays in you has nothing to do with width and more to do with the strength of your pelvic floor.
Having a wider-than-average vagina also wouldn’t impact your ability to get pregnant. In fact, having multiple vaginal births could cause your vagina to become a little wider than it was, Wider says, but this is largely due to your vaginal muscles relaxing.
Wider stresses that this really isn’t something that women should stress over. “This quote from Mean Girls, while meant to be funny, resonated with some women who worry about the size of their vaginas,” she says. “While most women worry more about the appearance of their labia, some worry that they are too loose.”
If you’re concerned that your vagina is wider than you prefer or you’re having difficulty keeping tampons in, you can do pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles in your vaginal wall, Wider says. But again, this is not really something to worry about.