Medicine:Human vaginal size

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The dimensions and shape of the human vagina are of great importance in medicine and surgery; there appears to be no one way, however, to characterize the vagina's size and shape.[1] In addition to variations from individual to individual, the size and shape of a single woman's vagina can vary substantially during sexual arousal and intercourse.[2] Carrying a baby to term, or parity, is associated with a significant increase in the length of the vaginal fornix.[1] The potential effect of parity may be the result of a stretching and elongation of the birth canal at the time of vaginal birth.[1]

There are a number of studies that have been done into the dimensions of the human vagina, but it has not been as intensively researched as penis size.[1]

Dimensions in the baseline state

A 1996 study by Pendergrass et al., using vinyl polysiloxane castings taken from the vaginas of 39 Caucasian women, found the following ranges of dimensions:[3]

  • lengths (measured using rods): 6.9 to 14.8 cm (2.7 to 5.8 in);
  • widths: 4.8 to 6.3 cm (1.9 to 2.5 in);
  • introital diameters: 2.4 to 6.5 cm (0.94 to 2.56 in)

A second study by the same group showed significant variations in size and shape between the vaginas of women of different ethnic groups.[4] Both studies showed a wide range of vaginal shapes, described by the researchers as "Parallel sided, conical, heart, [...] slug"[3] and "pumpkin seed"[4] shapes. Barnhart et al., however, weren't able to find any correlation amongst the race and the size of vagina. They were also unable to characterize the vaginal shape as a "heart, slug, pumpkin seed or parallel sides" as suggested by the previous studies.[1][5] A 2003 study by the group of Pendergrass et al. also using castings as a measurement method, measured vaginal surface areas ranging from 66 to 107 cm2 (10.2 to 16.6 sq in) with a mean of 87 cm2 (13.5 sq in) and a standard deviation of 7.8 cm2 (1.21 sq in)[6]

Research published in 2006 by Barnhart et al., gave the following mean dimensions, based on MRI scans of 28 women:[1]

  • Mean length from cervix to introitus: 6.3 cm (2.5 in).
  • Mean width:
    • at the proximal vagina: 3.3 cm (1.3 in);
    • at the pelvic diaphragm: 2.7 cm (1.1 in);
    • at the introitus: 2.6 cm (1.0 in)

A 2006 U.S. study of vagina sizes using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) on 28 volunteers between 18 and 39 years old, with heights ranging from 1.5 to 1.7 metres, and weights between 49.9 and 95.3 kilograms, revealed a greater than 100 percent variation between the shortest (40.8 millimetres) and the longest (95.0 millimetres) vagina length.[7]

Medical devices used in the vagina

Given the large range in vaginal dimensions noted in studies such as the above, many fitted vaginal devices, for example pessaries, do not adhere to a "one-size-fits-all" mentality.[8]

Sexual arousal

Lawrence, citing Masters and Johnson's Human Sexual Response (1966), states that pages 73 and 74 of that book show that typical vaginal depth in Masters and Johnson's participants ranged from 7–8 cm (2.8–3.1 in) in an unstimulated state, to 11–12 cm (4.3–4.7 in) during sexual arousal with a speculum in place.[2]

Surgically created neovaginas

The depth of the typical neovagina created by male-to-female sex reassignment surgery is generally limited by the length of Denonvilliers' fascia, and is reported to be between 11 and 12 cm (4.3–4.7 in), within the range of the natural female vagina.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Barnhart, K. T.; Izquierdo, A.; Pretorius, E. S.; Shera, D. M.; Shabbout, M.; Shaunik, A. (2006). "Baseline dimensions of the human vagina". Human Reproduction 21 (6): 1618–1622. doi:10.1093/humrep/del022. PMID 16478763. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Anne A. Lawrence. "Notes on Genital Dimensions". Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pendergrass, P. B.; Reeves, C. A.; Belovicz, M. W.; Molter, D. J.; White, J. H. (1996). "The shape and dimensions of the human vagina as seen in three-dimensional vinyl polysiloxane casts". Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 42 (3): 178–182. doi:10.1159/000291946. PMID 8938470. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pendergrass, P. B.; Reeves, C. A.; Belovicz, M. W.; Molter, D. J.; White, J. H. (2000). "Comparison of vaginal shapes in Afro-American, Caucasian and Hispanic women as seen with vinyl polysiloxane casting". Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 50 (1): 54–59. doi:10.1159/000010281. PMID 10895030. 
  5. "The Social - How much do you know about vaginas?". 
  6. .Pendergrass, P. B.; Belovicz, M. W.; Reeves, C. A. (2003). "Surface area of the human vagina as measured from vinyl polysiloxane casts". Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 55 (2): 110–113. doi:10.1159/000070184. PMID 12771458. 
  7. "Baseline dimensions of the human vagina". Human Reproduction, Volume 21, Issue 6, June 2006, Pages 1618–1622. Retrieved 27 January 2020. 
  8. Ding, J., Song, X., Deng, M. et al. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China (3 June 2016). "Which factors should be considered in choosing pessary type and size for pelvic organ prolapse patients in a fitting trial? Int Urogynecol J 27, 1867–1871 (2016)". International Urogynecology Journal 27 (12): 1867–1871. doi:10.1007/s00192-016-3051-3. PMID 27260324. 

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