Female Genitalia 101

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • Well I covered the male anatomy in Male Genitalia 101, so it's only fair that I cover female anatomy as well.  Of course, it's an area I am far more familiar with, but even I learned some new information as I researched the topic.


    Let's start by saying that we women are a bit more complicated because we seem to more sensitive (than guys) to the mind-body connection, when it pertains to our sexual responses.  Let's first look at the female physical anatomy which is comprised if internal and external parts.


    The key female organs internally that have a direct impact on conception and pregnancy include:

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    Ovaries - women have a pair of these organs and they resemble almonds in terms of size, shape.  They house the eggs and also produce estrogen, the female sex hormone.  Women typically have several thousand eggs that are not "called into action" until puberty begins.  When you menstruate you release an unfertilized egg.

    Fallopian tubes-these are the bridges, so to speak, between the ovaries and the uterus.  When a sperm fertilizes an egg, it usually happens in these tubes and then the egg travels to the uterus.  A tubal pregnancy is considered a medical emergency and can be very painful.

    Uterus- this organ is located in the woman's pelvic area and is actually comprised of muscular tissue.  It's also called the womb, and every month its lining becomes rich in nutrients, in anticipation of a possible pregnancy.  When pregnancy does not occur, you shed the lining and have a period.  If pregnancy does occur, the baby remains in the uterus until birth.  You can develop uterine cancer.

    Cervix- this is the lowest part of the uterus which connects to the vagina.  It remains closed during pregnancy but can open to quite substantial sizes once labor begins.  It can be seen by your gynecologist during a PAP smear, and it can also become cancerous.

    Vagina- is sometimes also called the birth canal because the baby does indeed travel through this passageway during a standard vaginal delivery.  It is made up of muscle, skin, and it also allows your menstrual flow to leave the body through its opening.  When you have sexual intercourse, the penis will ejaculate sperm containing semen into this passageway.


    Clearly when we are interested in preventing pregnancy, the options we use somehow affect on of these organs.


    Women also have external sexual anatomy:


    Labia majora - or "large lips" are the flaps of skin that protect the vagina from foreign objects.  The size and shape of the labia majora can differ among women and can enlarge a bit after vaginal deliveries.

    Labia minora - or "small lips" also protect the vagina, but more internally.  Women definitely differ in the size and shape of these "lips" and can become quite embarrassed if they appear unusually large, which can sometimes lead to reticence to engage in oral sex.

    Clitoris- this is a very sensitive organ located in the opening of the vagina.  It is not directly connected to reproduction, but it is most definitely implicated in orgasms.  Many women need clitoral stimulation in order to achieve a single or multiple orgasms.

  • Perineum - this stretch of hairless skin runs from the bottom of the vagina, backwards to the anus.  It is also considered quite sensitive and responsive to sexual stimulation.

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    Clearly the internal organs lend themselves to dysfunction/abnormalities and possible disruption of normal fertility.  Ovarian cyats, blocked Fallopian tubes, fibroids in the uterus, endometriosis, and a cervix that has a different anatomical orientation or that remains open are just a few of the problems that can interfere with a healthy pregnancy.  Inadequate stimulation by your sexual partner, a small vaginal opening, lack of lubrication can interfere with sexual pleasure.


Published On: October 23, 2009