Q&A: Vaginal Size And Stretching From A Large Penis

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QUESTION: For years I was with a man who had a very large penis. We broke up and now I have met a man who does not have as big of a penis. Although we haven't had sex yet I feel like that when we do my vaginal size will be much looser to him. Is that true? Will my vagina be stretched out from my ex?

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Given cultural messages that encourage women to have a vagina that is “tight” but not “too tight”, some women wonder about the size of their vagina – perhaps as much as some men worry about penis size.

Vaginal Size

And yet, vaginal size doesn’t vary as much as people may think. Women’s vaginas are relatively similar in size, with a difference of a centimeter or two here and there. And though having given birth is sometimes thought to significantly change a woman’s vagina, research has not found significant differences between vaginal size of women who have given birth and those who have not, in most cases.

There is no research, that I’m aware of, that has specifically looked at long-term vaginal changes following sex with a man who has a large penis – or, for that matter, sex with a vibrator or dildo of considerable size.

That said, many sexual health professionals surmise that if vaginal size doesn’t change much, if at all, after giving birth, it is unlikely to change much from sex with a well-endowed man. This is because the vagina is a fibromuscular tube and it tends to accommodate, and fit around, objects that penetrate it.

For example, the vagina hugs closely around a man’s penis, sex toy, fingers, tampon or medical instruments during a gynecological exam. And once stretched a bit, the vagina tends to return to its smaller state.

The other important thing to know is that, during sex, the vagina expands naturally as part of a woman’s experience of sexual arousal. As such, your ex’s penis isn’t the only thing that was helping to expand your vagina; during arousal, your vagina was likely expanding in both length and width – and then returning to a smaller size – all on its own.

Different With A New Partner

This is not to say that sex may not feel different with this partner. It might. You may find that sex feels difference due to his size, shape or technique. You may feel more or less sensation than before, or on certain parts of your vagina. Some differences – rather than being about size – may be related to experience.

You were with your ex for years and had likely found preferred techniques or positions. It may take time, with your new partner, to explore and learn what works best for the two of you.

If you find that you feel less sensation than you would like, consider keeping a small towel on hand to dab your or his genitals if you find that you feel very wet. Though vaginal lubrication can add to the pleasure and comfort of sex, sometimes by decreasing friction, it can decrease sensation too. Dabbing each other’s genitals may help to heighten sensation for the both of you.

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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