What the Hell Is the Vaginal Fornix?
The vaginal fornix isn’t always the star of the show in high school health class, but in our eyes, it's the real MVP. Here’s what you should know:
The vaginal fornix – or fornices – is the widest part at the end of the vaginal canal, forming a dome shape around the cervix. (Hint: This is where the Flex Menstrual Disc sits for up to 12 hours at a time while you’re on your period.)
To get a better picture of this, scroll through your memory for all the duck-face selfies you’ve ever taken. The opening of the cervix is shaped a little bit like puckered lips (1), and it pokes forward into the vaginal canal. The space created where the opening of the cervix meets the vaginal canal makes up the vaginal fornix (2).
For a better understanding of what this space looks and feels like, try puckering your lips and placing your fingers around them, one on top and one on bottom. That space between your fingers and your protruding lips is what the vaginal fornix feels like.
The Vaginal Fornix During Sex
Sometimes, the vaginal fornix is referred to in two parts: the anterior vaginal fornix (in the front) and the posterior vaginal fornix (towards the back). During penetrative sex, the posterior fornix is shaped to catch ejaculated semen at the back of the vagina. The semen can stay in the posterior fornix for approximately 20-30 minutes until it liquefies, allowing it to be more efficiently absorbed into the cervical canal (3-4).
We’ve been asked a few times if the Flex Menstrual Disc can be used in place of birth control. It is important to emphasize that the Flex Disc is not a contraceptive, but it’s safe to use with other forms of contraception.
During period sex, the Flex Disc may intensify orgasms by rubbing up gently against the cervix. Clitoral orgasms are typically centered around the vagina, and the sensations may only last a few seconds. Whereas, when the cervix is stimulated, the pressure can build up and result in full-body orgasms that may last longer than usual (5). The vaginal fornix is the little space that makes this all possible.
The Vaginal Fornix & Period Protection
When it comes to period protection, the Flex Menstrual Disc is designed to sit in the vaginal fornix. We recommend inserting the disc down and back, where the medical grade polymer rim cups the back of the cervical opening. Once the back is secured, the front of the disc finds its rightful place at the front of the fornix. By the sheer magic of gravity, the weight of the pubic bone will push down on the front edge of the disc, securing it in place.
Even though no one really talks about the vaginal fornix, we’re here to sing its praises. This small but mighty vaginal space allowed us to create products that help us bleed easier every month. Stress- and mess-free periods, brought to you by the vaginal fornix and its trusty sidekick, the Flex Disc.
Had you heard of the vaginal fornix before? Have questions about the role it plays during sex, orgasm, or your period? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Anderson, Charlotte Hilton. “7 Cervix Pictures Everyone Woman Should See.” Women’s Health Mag. Web. August 18th, 2020.
- SEER Training Modules “Anatomy of a Female Pelvis” U. S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. Web. August 18, 2020.
- Thompson, Louisa. “The Vagina” Teach Me Anatomy. Web. August 18th, 2020.
- Wildt, L et al. “Sperm transport in the human female genital tract and its modulation by oxytocin as assessed by hysterosalpingoscintigraphy, hysterotonography, electrohysterography and Doppler sonography.” Human reproduction update vol. 4,5 (1998).
- Go Ask Alice Staff. “Dear Alice: Possible to penetrate the cervix during sex?” Go Ask Alice! Web. August 18th, 2020.
Writer: Leo Aquino (they/them) is a storyteller living in Los Angeles. They love reading books on the beach and eating Filipino food. Follow Leo @sunshine.baby.leo.