1. Get to know what it looks like so you're not flipping out over that ingrown hair you get all the time. You've been living with your same mons pubis for 30 years. Study it like it's an unsolved burglary case (and what better time to wear a detective hat and use a magnifying glass than to stare curiously at your vulva and take notes?) so you know what is normal for you and when you might need to see your gyno.
2. Lock down your go-to treatment for yeast infections. Going to the doctor for a yeast infection is like going to the doctor for a cold: you feel like an idiot, they just tell you to take something, and you could've spent that money on ankle boots. If something works, stick with it.
3. Stop believing that your vagina smells like a fish market. If you're washing your body, your vagina smells normal at worst, great at best, and even better to someone who is crazily attracted to you. Afroman's intro to "Colt 45" is just a gross sexist joke. Why were you believing Afroman about your vagina anyway?
4. Yes, it is OK to call a guy out on refusing to go down on you and then asking for a blow job. This person is a man-child who doesn't get to sleep with anyone and can shut the hell up. Bye. Out the door. Throw his shoes out the window to him, or keep them and set them on fire in a trash can.
5. If someone is really into you, your vulva looks like a sculpture in a fancy museum they want to go to every day. There's no perfect vulva like there's no perfect body like there's no perfect pizza (unless there is cheese in the crust and comes with a dipping sauce for that crust, and if so, then we can talk). Point is, whatever you have going on down there is someone's idea of the perfect vulva.
6. You're not weak because you hate the speculum. You hate the speculum because speculums are torturous assholes and most women hate them. Even the gyno will be like, "I know this doesn't feel good."
7. Stop being lazy and just pee right after you have sex already. Lying in the wet spot checking your Instagram likes for 45 postcoital minutes is not worth getting a UTI. #RealWomenPee.
8. Worry more about being polite to your own vagina than some random Tinder fuckboy. You're allowed to not like something or think it feels awful, so just ask for something else that you know you do like or figure it out together. Otherwise, you're not having fun, which is the point of sex.
9. Take control of your orgasms like a boss. Try new things with or without a partner, and when it seriously works for you, speak up. By now I don't have to tell you that your partner will probably never guess the exact right way to get you off, so just tell them, and then high-five yourself for asking for what you want and getting it.
10. Your vagina is not the closet to Narnia. It is not possible to lose something in your vagina. Not Ben Wa balls, not a condom, not a tampon. They can all get stuck up there, but they're not gone forever. Your cervix will stop anything from going further up into your body. (Though your vagina is just as magical as Narnia, obviously).
11. Sometimes you need to let it breathe. Keeping your vagina locked up in tight underwear and yoga pants during sweaty workouts is an easy way to breed bacteria and yeast infections. Take this as your excuse to sleep naked.
12. Lube is not just for dried-up old crones. As you get older, being turned on and getting wet have less and less crossover on the old sexual Venn diagram. Everyone involved will be a lot happier if you get over your qualms with lube and just squirt some on there.
13. Even if you don't give birth, your vagina will age like Grandmother Willow. No, it probably won't get smile lines (although high-five if it does), but it won't look the same at 40 as it did at 20. If you want to jazz it up with surgery or lasers, go for it, but if that's not for you, and you'd rather spend that money on ~*wiNE*~, re-read no. 5—that's fine too. â€‹
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.