Back to all blog posts


From Squirting to Tightness: An Exploration of Harmful Vaginal Myths

Your vagina is and has always been normal. Don’t let the myths define you.

From Squirting to Tightness: An Exploration of Harmful Vaginal Myths

Everybody with a vagina knows of the fascination with “tightness” and squirting.

But have we ever stopped to wonder why these qualities are subject to so much obsession? Have we ever wondered how these expectations have shaped the views on our own anatomy?

Whether we’re conscious of it or not, cultural pressures around what makes a vagina sexually desirable or worthy of sex, have likely influenced many of us—to the point where elective labiaplasty surgery increased by more than 50% from 2014-2018 alone.

To begin answering these complex questions and why our culture is oddly attached to the very specific qualities of a tight vagina and the ability to squirt, we first have to understand our society’s historical relationship with female pleasure and sexuality.

Historical suppression of female pleasure and sexuality

The suppression of female sexual pleasure has been passed down since the very beginnings of western civilization.

The first cultural perspectives on a woman’s purity and worth can be traced all the way back to Ancient Greece and Rome. While evidence is limited, some historical texts and artifacts can point to narratives that punished female sexuality. To enforce cultural values around celibacy, the Greek and Roman myths we know today (like the tales of the Vestal Virgins or the virgin goddess Artemis) enforced ideals of female purity and chastity. 

In both ancient Greek and Roman cultures, these societal expectations commanded young women, especially those belonging to high class families, to remain virgins before marriage, as it promised their husbands purity, virtue, and fidelity. 

Religious influences have also played an immense role in restricting female sexuality. Influential religious doctrines depict sex as, first and foremost, a means to reproduce strictly within the bounds of marriage. In earlier times, anybody who dared to engage in premarital sex, faced severe social and even physical consequences.

While both men and women would face stigmas and ostracization for premarital sex, women would come up against far greater consequences than men. The double standards and gender norms of the past have (and still do) burden women the most with preserving their sexual purity before marriage. While a man’s sexual misgivings could be punished, he would be granted more leniency—and in some cases, even be celebrated for it.

A woman’s virginity, on the other hand, has always been seen as a manifestation of her value and worthiness, which would place their sexual agency and desires under much more scrutiny, judgment and punishment in comparison to men.

This attitude is well-defined in Freud’s famous "Madonna-Whore" complex, a psychological concept that categorizes women into either the pure “Madonna,” worthy of male affection and commitment, or the sexually-desirable, yet outcasted “Whore.” This complex became a huge part of the cultural zeitgeist and reinforced the restrictive notions that if a woman expresses sexual desire, she is shameful and undeserving of committed partnership.

These documented cultural expectations are just a few of the many examples throughout history that have shaped society’s viewpoint on a woman’s sexual agency and her right to pleasure. A “good” woman, worthy of social acceptance, safety, and long-lasting love, according to western history, is one who hides any trace of her sexuality. 

And because she is a pure, sacred virgin who doesn’t even think of opening her legs, her vagina must be tight.

Demystifying vaginal tightness myths

Looking back through time, it’s evident that a woman’s perceived sexual innocence in western culture was highly prioritized. And they looked to vaginal tightness as the ultimate sign of it.

Earliest evidence from the west shows that ancient Greeks and Romans used herbal remedies to tone and tighten the pelvic floor muscles.

To this day, rumors around vaginal tightness and the pressures for women to maintain their tightness run deep in our culture. Mainstream media, peer pressure, and a lack of education are main drivers of these myths and they’ve manifested in women attempting to alter their own vaginas via surgery or other snake-oil remedies, like Goop’s “Jade Egg” trend.

The culturally long-lived desire for vaginal “tightness” is no coincidence—yet it’s a completely inaccurate indication of a woman’s sexual experience.

A vagina doesn’t somehow become “looser” the more it’s penetrated. The vagina is, by design, a highly adaptive, resilient muscle that is actually meant to relax and expand when the body is sexually aroused. “Tightness” only really changes as women age and reach the end of their reproductive cycles—to believe that most penises could ever be big enough to alter the shape of a woman’s vagina forever is deeply and profoundly incorrect. 

It’s important to understand that the myths around tightness have nothing to do with the woman and everything to do with society’s discomfort and dismissal of the complexity, adaptability, and power of female sex organs.

Western culture’s hatred for women’s sexual pleasure, and at the same time, its obsession with specific characteristics like tightness and the ability to squirt, is a complex and layered dynamic. While vaginal tightness and purity are deeply fetishized, how is it possible that the same culture could fetishize something as sexually explicit as squirting?

To comprehend how our culture can swing between two extremes, we have to understand certain taboos and their psychological impacts.

What are taboos, and how might they affect us?

A taboo, as defined by Merriam Webster, is a “prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure.”

Taboos were created for a variety of reasons, but the ultimate aim of taboos is to control behavior as a means to “protect.” The behaviors that a culture or group of people attempt to control reveals a lot about what they fear—whether it’s rational or not.

As Psychology Today claims, “If there's a taboo against something, it's usually because a considerable number of people desire to do it. The very taboos that we employ to protect us from each other and ourselves, are a map of our secret natures.”

While taboos are designed to keep us and our fascinations in line with societal norms, sometimes they elicit the opposite response.

The desire for taboo objects or behaviors can trigger a variety of psychological effects:

Forbidden fruit effect

When something is off-limits, it makes that object or behavior all the more desirable.


Taboo objects can be powerful sources of fantasy— an outlet to explore forbidden desires or experiences that are suppressed in everyday life.

Psychological needs

Desire for the taboo can also be connected to the need for novelty or validation. Fulfilling a taboo behavior may offer a sense of temporary gratification.

The Fetishization of Squirting

Today, the overwhelming fetishization of squirting may be correlated to its taboo and rarefied nature.

The fascination with “female ejaculation" is a phenomenon that can be seen as a reaction to historical suppression of women’s sexual pleasure.

Because it has been so taboo for women to experience sexual pleasure, squirting has become an ego-driven achievement for men to witness a woman in the throes of “rare,” visual pleasure. 

Squirting, a natural expression of orgasm, is an experience that only 10% to 54% of vagina-owners will have. A large majority of people with vaginas aren’t even physically capable of squirting, yet it’s turned into a cultural trend that, ultimately, caters to male taboo fantasies.

The normalization of squirting can be connected to its portrayal in pornography. The porn industry will explicitly represent squirting as the height of female orgasm. This very visceral performance can objectify a perfectly normal and natural part of a woman’s sexual experience and create expectation for every woman to perform in the same way.

Let us reiterate: it is unrealistic and also impossible for most women to experience squirting.

A lack of proper sex education can also fuel the myths of squirting and beyond. In many school systems, there’s minimal education about sexual anatomy and the diverse, complex experiences of sex. The gap in knowledge can leave room for misconceptions and unrealistic expectations around sexual satisfaction. 

Better sex education would be a good start

At the end of the day, fetishization is really just fantasy. Desire for vaginas to be one way or the other is simply a product of western culture’s volatile and complex relationship with female sexuality.

In other words, it has nothing to do with you or the “qualities” of your vagina. It’s vital for women to arm themselves with knowledge about the past and where these social stigmas come from to fight shame and reclaim their bodies.

The pressure to conform to these fetishized expectations is not worth it. Creating unhealthy dynamics with the self and within intimate relationships is not worth it. Investing in surgery and products that can harm your vaginal or overall health is not worth it.

Every vagina is normal and completely acceptable as it is. If someone says otherwise, they’re simply projecting the irrational beliefs of their own culture.

Getting educated, embracing self-awareness, and fostering more inclusive, nuanced understandings of female pleasure and anatomy is powerful.

As our understanding of our bodies (and our culture’s long-held beliefs about it) expands, the better we will get at building self-confidence, making healthy decisions, choosing the right partners, and spreading knowledge to help other women do the same.

Shop Now

Shop The Story