Q&A: Genital Fit vs. Genital Size

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QUESTION: A couple years ago, it felt like my wife's vagina started feeling and looking bigger and wider than I remember. I asked her if she masturbates with objects bigger than my penis or if she’s had other lovers, and she said no. Is there any other reason her vagina could have gotten bigger?

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Close-up shot of a ruler

Photo: Balakov (Flickr)

When discussing how sex feels, I find it helpful to start by talking about “genital fit” rather than either partner’s genital size, given that both partner’s genital size affects the overall fit.

Although many people joke about the size of penises and vaginas, people rarely talk about genital size in ways that are helpful or informative. As such, it leaves many people wondering if their own or their partner’s genital size is normal.

Genital Fit

When discussing how sex feels, I find it helpful to start by talking about “genital fit” rather than either partner’s genital size, given that both partner’s genital size affects the overall fit. It seems that sex feels different to you now and you have attributed this to your wife possibly having a bigger or wider vagina than she did when she was younger.

Changes With Age

Men’s and women’s bodies both experience changes with age, and it is possible that her vagina has not changed but your erections may be what has changed. It is common for men to experience less rigid or reliable erections with age, which can translate into a somewhat smaller erect penis size with age. If your erections are even slightly shorter or thinner than they used to be, it could cause vaginal intercourse to feel more “loose” or “roomy” than it used to.

Then again, you are not the only person who has been getting older. Your wife, too, is aging as we all are and her body also bore your family two children. Even though both children were both delivered by C-section rather than through vaginal birth, the experience of being pregnant can weaken women’s pelvic floor muscles, as may other things such as heavy lifting or medical conditions.

Over time, as a woman’s pelvic floor muscles weaken or relax, they can make the vaginal feel wider or looser than it once did. Often times, this is associated with symptoms such as mild, moderate or severe urinary or fecal incontinence – in other words, feeling as though one has to urinate or defecate without meaning to.

Questions of Trust and Fidelity

Again, given how little we talk about genital size in helpful ways, it is understandable that you wondered how it is that sex now feels different. However, it may also be that your questions about her fidelity or sexual practices have made your wife feel bad about her body or as if you don’t trust her.

Try to consider ways that you can express your love and respect for her, and how you can approach your aging and changing bodies in open and accepting ways.

If your wife is experiencing symptoms related to incontinence, she might find it helpful to talk to a healthcare provider, such as a gynecologist.

Recommended Reading

You and your wife may also find it helpful to explore each other’s bodies in ways you may not have done in months or years. A book such as For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy is packed with tips and techniques for exploration and re-connection.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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