Women’s knowledge, attitudes and perception of the vagina – an international survey

Women’s knowledge, attitudes and perception of the vagina –


international survey

E. Ng1, C. Ramers-Verhoeven2

1Organon International, Medical

Services, Roseland, NJ, USA, 2NV Organon, Oss, Netherlands


To examine women’s knowledge, attitudes and perception of the vagina in a large

group of women of reproductive age.

Methods Two surveys were conducted: one in

the United States (US) and another in Europe (11 countries), Canada and Brazil (worldwide

[WW]). Women aged 18-44 years completed online interviews.

Results Over 10,500

women worldwide completed the surveys (9441 WW women and 1117 US women). Overall

results are presented for the 13 countries in the WW survey. The vast majority

of women (95% WW/90% US) thought that it was important that women were educated

or well informed about their vaginas. About a quarter of WW women (26%)

considered themselves to be very knowledgeable about the vagina compared with

51% of US women. About half of the women thought that the vagina is the body

part that women know the least about and around half were not confident about

whether their vagina was the right size (47% WW/57% US). More than half, however,

were comfortable with looking at their vagina (65% WW/55% US) and with inserting

something (such as a tampon or their fingers) into their vagina (62% WW/77% US).

More US women somewhat or strongly agreed that discussions about the vagina

should not be held in public (29% WW/47% US). However, the majority of women

thought that society has too many misconceptions about the vagina (65% WW/59% US)

and that vaginal health did not receive the attention it deserves (66% WW/65% US).

Women also felt that understanding one’s vagina will help increase sexual

satisfaction (87% WW/80% US). Interestingly, while 48% of WW women were

comfortable speaking with healthcare professionals about vagina-related issues,

79% relied on their advice when choosing a contraceptive. In the United States,

79% of women said that they were comfortable talking to their physician about

vagina-related matters and 64% relied on their advice for contraceptive choice.

Conclusions Women would universally welcome more information on vagina-related

matters and felt that society would also benefit from additional education on

this topic. Furthermore, a more open approach is needed to educate women about

their vaginas and in matters such as choice of contraception.

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