The vulva is the entire area of your genitals, includes: The mons (pubis) veneris, clitoral hood, clitoris, urethra, labia minora, labia majora, vagina and the perineum. Not seen on the outside is the G-spot and the pelvic (PC) muscle, and not necessarily considered part of the vulva is the anal canal, rectum and sphincter muscles.
Females tend to know less about their genitals than males because they cannot see them as easily ~ fairly obvious. There is nothing wrong with using a mirror and taking a look at what is "down there." It's easy to see if you put a mirror between your legs and look, especially if you are trying to insert a tampon for the first time.
The mons (pubis) veneris is the pad of fatty tissue and pubic hair that sits on your pubic bone. The fatty tissue protects the pubic bone from impact during sexual intercourse and the pubic hair is designed to hold pheromones.
The clitoral hood is the area of skin formed by the joining of the inner lips over the clitoral head, which protects the clitoris.
The clitoris, the nerve center for orgasm, is the primary source of sexual pleasure ~ the only organ in the human body whose sole purpose is to provide pleasure. Women were blessed with this erogenous zone and should take advantage of it! Many women are unable to reach orgasm through intercourse alone, requiring some form of clitoral stimulation to achieve a climax. A very complex organ, the clitoris is comprised of a small "head" (the visible portion of the clitoris), plus two clitoral shafts or "legs" that extend inward and straddle each side of the vaginal canal. The clitoris' head is located at the top of the vulva, hidden slightly under the clitoral hood, where the inner and outer labia meet. About the size of a pea, the clitoris can be viewed by gently parting the labia. The clitoris can also be compared to a penis, though it's obviously smaller in size. Like a penis, the clitoris has erectile tissue and a very high concentration of nerve endings, while similar in number to the penis, they are much more concentrated and closer together. This highly sensitive organ swells with blood when sexually aroused, becoming erect and possibly doubling in size. Its sensitivity to touch varies greatly between women.
The urethra is the passageway in which urine exits your body from the bladder. This is also the passageway where the female ejaculate exits. The urethra is located between your clitoris and the vagina.
Labia majora and labia minora are folds of skin on the vulva's outermost parts. These folds contain fatty tissue and protect the inner vulva. The labia minora (the inner lips) are thin, smooth, parallel folds of skin inside the labia majora (outer lips). Filled with nerve endings, the inner lips can be very sensitive to touch. Both labia majora and minora swell with blood during sexual arousal, reacting to touch and penetration as highly pleasurable erogenous zones. The first mention and invention of the cosmetic "lipstick" came from ancient Egypt. It is believed that the Egyptians used lipstick as a way to make the lips on a woman's face mimic the labia majora and labia minora when stimulated ~ making the mouth a more eye-pleasing place to put a penis! Even today red lipstick still outsells every other color in the cosmetic industry!
The vagina is an elastic canal that measures about three to four inches long, but could double in depth and widen when aroused. Some women have vaginal orgasms, enjoying the pleasurable feelings of pressure, sexual fullness and stroking from various forms of penetration. These vaginal orgasms are still believed to be orgasms originating from the clitoris via the clitoral legs which straddle each side of the vagina.
When a woman is sexually aroused, the vagina begins to produce lubrication to aid in penetration. Your Bartholin's glands produce that lubrication. Most vaginas are only four inches in length. At the top of the vagina is what kind of feels like a semi-hard round ball. This is your cervix, the "neck" of your uterus. In the middle of the cervix is a small round opening, called the os, which leads to the uterus. The os is the small opening through which menstrual blood flows from the uterus into the vagina and where sperm swim up to fertilize. This is the same small opening that expands during childbirth. This is also where cells for a pap smear will be taken to make sure they are healthy. Many females have very sensitive cervixes, some do not.
Keep in mind that the vagina is a "potential" space. The walls of the vagina are normally in contact with each other. In other words, they are touching unless something is inserted between them; contrary to what most anatomy illustrations like the one here illustrates. This drawing looks like the vagina is an "open" canal. It is not. The vaginal opening is normally closed. It's important to realize that the vagina isn't a hole or cavity inside the body. When something enters the vagina, the body must make room for it, no matter how small or large it may be.
The vaginal walls are continually producing secretions necessary to provide lubrication, to cleanse the vagina, and to maintain the proper acidity to prevent infection. You will notice during different part of your menstrual cycle that your vaginal discharge will vary. The vagina tends to be fairly acidic (sperm tend to be more of a base or alkaline). The vagina is a naturally self-cleansing body part, so douching isn't necessary to keep the vagina clean. Some women chose to use a vinegar and water douche after the end of their period, but this is not necessary. Women who like to douche, however, should do so with products that are unscented. It is not normal to have a vagina that smells like a field of flowers and can you imagine the chemicals used to create that "fragrance"...not good for you at all. If you have a "strange" odor from you vagina, see a gynecologist!
The vagina is sometimes referred to as the "front door to life" one day you may even deliver a baby through it. Hard to believe that a baby can fit through that canal, but it can stretch (and tear) and they do. Of course, let's not forget that the vagina is where you have vaginal sexual intercourse or oral sex.
Wash your vulva when you shower or bath with a gentle soap or cleansing bar. Don't over-do-it or you can irritate the sensitive lining and it is not a pleasant feeling, but it will heal. I'm sure you've seen many TV ads for products that claim to care for your vagina, most are not necessary, unless you have a vaginal infection.
The perineum is the spot located between the vaginal opening and the anus (and in men the back of the testicles to the anus). During sexual arousal, the blood vessels in the underlying perineal sponge become engorged making the area sensitive to the touch.
The G-spot, also known as the female prostate is a small mass of spongy tissue that surrounds the urethra, and also known as the Grafenberg Spot ~ named after Dr. Grafenberg who was the first modern physician to describe the area and argue for its importance in female sexual pleasure. His claim is that when this spot is stimulated during sex through vaginal penetration of some kind (fingers during masturbation, penis or toy in the vagina), some women have an orgasm. The G-spot is found inside the vagina, near the roof behind the pubic bone and in front of the cervix. Normally, the G-spot is a small spongy bean, about the size of a dime and flush to the wall of the vagina. After adequate stimulation, it becomes slightly hard, can swell to around the size of a quarter and form a visible bump on the vaginal wall. Trying to explain what a G-spot orgasm feels like is very difficult, and just like other orgasms can vary woman to woman. Most women will describe an "electric" feeling running through the body, a great emotional release (which is why a G-spot orgasm is also called a "crying orgasm" in which some women will actually cry afterward), and a full-body total pleasure experience! Experiencing a G-spot orgasm may include a gush of fluid from the urethra, called female ejaculation. It is not urine!
Female ejaculation is caused by a release of fluid from glands located inside the urethra. When lab tests were done on fluid produced from female ejaculation, it was determined to not be urine at all. Some women may produce greater amounts of fluid from these glands than others, which explains why some women seem to gush during an orgasm while others many do not. Remember, not all women will have the capability of ejaculating or certainly not every time they have intercourse. It's not something that takes place every time a female experiences an orgasm either, so it does not reflect the quality or enjoyment of the sexual experience.
The pelvic muscle, also called the PC or pubococcygeus muscle, extends around the anus, across the pelvic floor and attaches in front to the pubic bone in both women and men. When squeezing to stop yourself from urinating, the same muscles that "hold it in" are your pelvic muscles. This muscle plays a very important role in sexuality. For both women and men, these muscles contract involuntarily during sexual arousal and climax. You can strangthen your pelvic muscles using a technique known as Kegel exercises, increasing your sexual control, orgasmic intensity and urinary continence. Squeeze and release or flex your pelvic muscles to build muscle tone alone or with Ben Wa Balls. You can make Kegels a part of your daily routine, "working out" while you sit at your desk, drive your car or applying your makeup.
The anal canal, rectum and sphincter muscles are full of densely concentrated nerve endings and can be quite sensitive to the touch. The anus leads into the rectum and is composed of loose folds of soft, smooth tissue surrounded by sphincter muscles. Stimulating these nerve endings can be intensely pleasurable, even orgasmic. When the sphincter muscles relax, the tissue folds that make up the anal canal have a tremendous ability to expand, similar to the vaginal opening. It is sometimes hard to think of this region as an erotic zone, but it is a pleasurable area for many, many women (and men).
Q. Are vaginal secretions normal? A. Yes. It's normal to have secretions at times of the month other than your period. These secretions keep the vagina clean, help prevent infection, and provide lubrication during sexual arousal and intercourse. You may notice clear sticky discharge about two weeks after your period. This is very normal and is a sign that you have ovulated. (Which may come in handy when you want to get pregnant, or if you choose to abstain during that time). If your discharge itches, burns, smells bad or changes color, you should see a health care provider promptly since you may have an infection. Don't stress over it, not all infections are STDs and even virgins get yeast and bacterial infections. When in doubt or worried please see a gynecologist or practitioner. No one can diagnose over the Internet.
Q. Why is my vagina so dry? A. At one time or another all women experience vaginal dryness. Before you feel sore, in pain, and or frustrated with yourself, you should know that normal estrogen fluctuations often cause vaginal dryness. Some women believe that vaginal lubricants are only for women who are not sexually aroused, or who are going through menopause, or if they are not very sexually experienced. Lubricants are for all of those reasons and for masturbating too. Vaginal dryness often occurs during your period, if you are stressed-out, and if you are using a condom with no lubrication! Yes, vaginal dryness can cause painful sexual intercourse. Make sure you are using the right amount of lubrication, especially when using a condom. Most people use too little lubrication. As a general rule, you can never use too much lube!
Several medications including antihistamines and some antidepressants can cause a loss of vaginal lubrication and dry out your vagina: