For most women, the kitty, or what is more formally known as the vagina, is a part of the body that is simply, just there. Sadly for some of us, it’s no different than the elbow, or the shins on our brown legs. Ask yourself, when is the last time you’ve taken a mirror to your kitty to become a little more acquainted? When is the last time you’ve pleasured yourself instead of waiting for him? The sexual modesty, and downright sexual repression in our community is an issue that has plagued us for ages. Moreover, it is arguably this very issue that instigates sexually transmitted diseases, most notably HIV/AIDS. Our sexual modesty and repression is also linked to the fact that most of us have never experienced the pleasures of an orgasm.

Ladies, let’s make a change. Become one with the kitty. Name the kitty. Say hello to the kitty.

Here are 10 things we should know about our vaginas. Some of these you may already know, but here’s that reminder we need every now and then.

1. Every Kitty is Unique, Embrace Yours As Is. Some vaginal lips are naturally small or wide, and some hang low. So stop saving money to get rejuvenation surgery or labiaplasty. You don’t need it!

2. Goodbye Douche, No Really! Your kitty isn’t supposed to smell like a bouquet of roses, it’s supposed to smell like a kitty. Stop allowing him or yourself to convince you otherwise. Moreover, douching is simply not healthy. Loads of research shows vaginal douching modifies the chemical balance of the kitty and can cause infections.

3. The ‘He Don’t Count’ Method. Ladies wouldn’t we all love to omit that one dude from our list of sexual partners? But no matter how much we would love to convince ourselves, the ‘He Don’t Count’ method is not actually proven to lessen the quantity of your sexual partners. So don’t tell you’re prospective beau it’s three, when it’s really four. As a matter of fact, you really don’t have to share at all!

4. Name the Kitty. What’s in a name, you ask? Well, for the kitty it can be tremendously empowering. Give your kitty a little pet name, and make your partner address your kitty as such before entering. OOW!

5. ‘Tis True, Some Men Love a Bushy Kitty. When he says he likes it bushy, don’t go running to get it all waxed off. Keep a manicured kitty whether you decide to keep it native or clean cut. Your hairs shouldn’t get so long that he can braid it. Ew. By the way, you should never shave a kitty, it’s delicate down there! And keep in mind, if you decide to wax, be certain to exfoliate immediately; no one wants a bumpy kitty.

6. Pap Smears Only Screen for Cervical Cancer. Your annual or bi-annual Pap smear will not screen for ovarian cancer, or any cancers of the uterus or colon. Have your doctor test you for those separately.

7. HPV is Not a Death Sentence! And those weird freaking commercials don’t make it any better. If you’ve been diagnosed post the HPV vaccine age of 26–like many sexually active women in America–it doesn’t mean you did anything wrong or that you’re a bad person. And it most certainly doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have cervical cancer. Monitor the virus by having a bi-annual Pap Smear. Stay healthy with a good diet, workout regime, and your next screening could be regular again.

8. Workout the Kitty. You should workout the kitty like you would work any other muscle. And even if you don’t have a partner to get down with, go on and pull out that trusty vibrator or the legendary rabbit. Remember, sex is healthy! Not only is it beautifully amazing, it’s proven to lower risk for stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, depression and stress levels. And it helps you sleep better too—we all need that!

9. No Tide to the Kitty. The use of too much laundry detergent on your panties, thongs, boy shorts or your ‘time of the month’ grandma panties can irritate the kitty. Use a small amount in a wash cycle, or opt to hand wash your favorite intimates—they’ll last longer.

10. Mirror to the Kitty. Your sexual partner shouldn’t be the only one who knows how your kitty looks, you should know most of all. In the bathroom after a relaxing bath, have a looksie. Taking a mirror to the kitty is also critical for spotting any irregularities.  Know your way around your kitty. It’s yours.

Editor’s Note: Parts of this article were informed by Dr. Lissa Rankin, the ‘Girlfriend MD’.

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