The idea that you can develop a “loose” vagina from too much sex is a myth created by capitalism and the patriarchy to feed vagina insecurity and sell you dumb products. Or at least, that’s the theory I subscribe to after learning about “vagina tightening” pills and the tragically titled “18 Again” cream. I can confirm that you can have rigorous penetrative sex with penises, dildos, and even fists and your vagina won’t “stretch out.” (It might, however, feel nice and well-cared for due to all the good sex it’s having.) “Having sex and using toys is not going to cause dramatic changes in your vagina, the size, or shape, or functioning,” says Hilda Hutcherson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center.
Exercises such as Kegels, meanwhile, can improve the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, which support your pelvic organs (including your uterus, bladder, rectum, and small intestine). A strong pelvic floor can reduce incontinence issues, help you have stronger orgasms, and make for easier vaginal delivery if you plan on having kids — but it is not about having a narrow vagina.
Childbirth — especially multiple births — and regular old aging can fatigue vaginal muscles, but still, “The vagina is a miraculous organ that can stretch way out and deliver a ten-pound baby and then snap back into shape,” Hutcherson says. In fact, especially for those for whom penetration was previously painful, Hutcherson says giving birth can actually make sex feel better. Still, the toxic idea that your vaginal canal has to be narrow continues to persist — and manifests in the form of “tightening” products and techniques that just don’t work. Read on for ways people have attempted to tighten their vaginas.
1. “Vaginal tightening” pills.
A company on Amazon wants to sell you vaginal tightening pills for $50. You can buy a Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator for just $10 more, and I promise your body will be much happier if you do.
“There is nothing you can take orally for your vagina that’s going to affect the ‘tightness,’ and I always put that in quotations. That’s ludicrous,” Hutcherson says. These so-called vaginal tightening pills contain ingredients like Manjakani extract, or oak gall, which is a tumor-like bulb that grows on oak trees. Spoiler alert: Hutcherson says there’s no way in hell it works. Inexplicably, these pills have a nearly five-star rating. “The placebo effect is absolutely possible,” says certified sex therapist Holly Richmond. “However, it’s more troublesome that women would even be in a position to think that their vagina isn’t fabulous in all of the ways.” Don’t spend your money on these pills. Use the $50 on a vibrator or martinis with friends to toast the death of the patriarchy and the fabulous vagina you already have.
Don’t get me wrong: Squats are terrific if you want to strengthen your butt and quads, but they won’t do, well, squat for your vagina. Yet they still pop up as a supposed way to tighten your vag. “Unless you’re doing Kegels at the same time as you’re doing your squats, that’s not helpful at all,” Hutcherson says. (And again, for the cheap seats in the back: Kegels don’t make your vagina tighter, they make your pelvic floor stronger.)
3. “Vaginal tightening” cream.
The names of some so-called vaginal tightening creams, such as “18 Again” and “Like a Virgin,” are sexist and creepy as hell. And the bad marketing doesn’t stop there. “Sex with that random guy from the party who might have been cute lasted 30 seconds if you were lucky. But, hey, you had a tight whoesy whatsy!” 18 Again’s product description says of what life was supposedly like when you were 18.