When referring to the vagina most people mean the vulva, which is the external part of the female genitalia. Female anatomy, however, encompasses both the internal and external organs of the reproductive and urinary systems.
The urinary organs allow the female body to flush toxins and the reproductive organs contribute to sexual pleasure, hormonal regulation, conceiving a baby, and childbirth.
Read on to understand more about the parts of the vagina, female anatomy, the role each organ plays in the reproductive and urinary systems, and the much-contested existence of the G spot.
Why It’s Important to Understand Female Anatomy
Becoming familiar with your genitals and how the female anatomy works not only encourages a deeper understanding of puberty, menstrual cycles, sexual pleasure, pregnancy, and menopause for all women, it also allows women to recognize activities or products that upset this delicate area of the body.
Additionally, being aware of how the vagina and vulva feel daily can go a long way toward alerting women of any unusual irritation, itching, or vaginal discharge that might otherwise lead to a serious infection.
External Parts of the Vagina Explained
The external female anatomy, collectively described as the vulva, consists of the parts located outside of the vaginal opening. These include the mons pubis, labia, clitoris, urethral opening, vaginal opening, and glands.
The mons pubis is the soft fleshy area of fatty tissue that lays on top of the pubic bone in the lower belly region. It is where pubic hair usually grows and its function is to protect the female anatomy during sex. As women age, the mons pubis area is known to change and enlarge in size.
Labia is the Latin word for lips, and the labia majora refers to the fleshy skin folds, or outer lips, on either side of the vaginal opening. The function of the labia majora is to protect the more fragile external organs of the female anatomy that lay beneath it.
These are the more delicate vulvar lips located directly beneath the labia majora. Starting at the clitoris and extending to the vaginal opening, the labia minora can appear longer than the outer lips for some women, texture can vary from smooth to wrinkled, and colors range from pink to dark brown.
Located at the tip of the vulva, where the labia minora meet, the function of the clitoris is to deepen the feeling of pleasure during sex. Covered by a fold of skin known as the clitoral hood, only the tip of the clitoris is visible on the outside. Inside the female genitalia, however, two clitoris shafts extend for several inches.
The tube that transports urine from the bladder is known as the urethra and the urethral opening, located just below the clitoris and above the vaginal opening, is where urine, aka toxins, exits the body.
Located between the urethra and the anus, the vaginal opening is where menstrual blood leaves the body and where babies exit the body during childbirth. It is also where the penis, tampons, or menstrual cups are inserted.
Sitting inside the vaginal opening, on both sides, these small round-shaped glands release lubricant during sex to increase women’s comfort and pleasure.
Tasked with the function of lubricating the urethral opening, the Skene’s glands sit on either side of the urethra. The secreted lubricant is also believed to possess antimicrobial properties and some believe it is the source of the much-debated female ejaculation.
The Internal Female Anatomy Explained
The internal female anatomy consists of the organs located inside the vaginal opening. These include the vagina, cervix, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and hymen.
Often referred to as the ‘birth canal’, the vagina is a muscular channel that connects the uterus (or womb) to the outside world via the cervix. During sexual intercourse and childbirth, the vagina uses its rich supply of collagens and elastins to expand.
Also known as the opening to the womb or uterus, the cervix connects with the vagina. During childbirth, it widens, allowing the baby to leave the uterus and enter the vagina where it will exit the body via the vaginal opening.
The uterus is a muscular organ located in the pelvic area between both hips. In fact, the uterus is one of the strongest muscles in the female body. Also known as the womb, it is where fertilized eggs implant themselves and where babies grow and develop in the female body.
Located on either side of the uterus, the ovaries are small oval-shaped organs that produce, store, and release female eggs to become fertilized by sperm to make a baby. The ovaries also produce hormones to regulate the menstrual cycle and support pregnancy.
Found in the female abdominal cavity, the fallopian tubes are a pair of narrow ducts that play a huge role in conceiving a baby. Firstly responsible for transporting female eggs from the ovaries, the fallopian tubes also transport sperm cells to the egg, in addition to providing an appropriate environment for fertilization. Once fertilized, the egg is then transferred to the uterus via the fallopian tubes.
The hymen is a thin layer of tissue that covers part of the vaginal opening. Although it is formed during fetal development and is already present at birth, the hymen does not have any known biological function.
It becomes more elastic with age and is known to thin and sometimes tear as women grow older. Some women experience bleeding and mild pain when the hymen ruptures, while others experience no change at all.
The Female G Spot Explained
While some believe that the ‘mysterious’ G spot is the key to a penetrative orgasm, other researchers believe that vaginal orgasms are impossible, so it’s a tricky subject.
Also known as the Gräfenberg Spot, the G spot was first introduced by Dr. Beverly Whipple when she realized that performing a “come here” motion with a finger along the inside of the vagina could result in a pleasurable experience for women.
Although Dr. Wipple clarified that the G spot was not, in fact, a particular part of the female anatomy, she strongly believed that it is very likely the key to female orgasms during intercourse.
As it turns out, the G spot is actually part of the clitoral network, which is much more extensive than previously believed. So the “come here” motion (with palm facing up) is not only stimulating the tip of the clitoris but is also resonating along the two shafts of the clitoris which can extend inward for up to 4 inches.
The vulva, labia minora, and clitoris can vary in size and shape for each woman, so there is no one certain way of pinpointing this erotically stimulating area known as the G spot. However, women can experiment with relaxing massages of the vulva and vagina when relaxed, and practice finding what feels good for them.
Even though female anatomy might seem embarrassing or complex to understand, comprehending how it works can prepare women for changes they will experience during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.
An understanding of the female anatomy can also help women to ward off vaginal infections by being aware of any physical changes to the vulva.
If you have any insecurities or queries about your female anatomy, don’t hesitate to consult with a doctor or female health expert to address your questions and put your mind at ease. The female anatomy is a wonderful and natural system that should be celebrated rather than awkwardly dismissed.
WebMD – Picture of the Vagina - https://www.webmd.com/women/picture-of-the-vagina
Advanced Gynecology – Female Anatomy, A Simple Guide to Your Organs - https://www.advancedgynecology.com/2020/female-anatomy-101-short-simple-guide-your-organs/
Current Urology - Clinical Pathology of Bartholin’s Glands -
Associated Medical Schools of New York – Skene’s Glands - https://amsny.org/discovery/skenes-glands/
Center for Young Women’s Health – Types of Hymens - https://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/07/10/hymens/
Taylor & Francis Online - The whole versus the sum of some of the parts: toward resolving the apparent controversy of clitoral versus vaginal orgasms - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3402/snp.v6.32578