The region of the external genital organs, including the...
A fatty pad covered with skin and pubic hair located just above the vaginal lips. The fat and pubic hair act as a cushion during intercourse to prevent bruising caused by impact between the pubic bones of each partner.
The soft, fatty, skin-covered tissue that encloses and protects the rest of the vulva. The outer lips swell with blood during sexual intercourse.
The thinner more delicate folds of skin surrounding the inner components of the vulva. They produce secretions from oil glands to keep the vaginal opening moist. They contain many nerve endings that are stimulated during sex. Like the outer lips, they swell with blood during sexual arousal. Toward the front, the lips join forming the clitoral hood, which protects the clitoris.
The name comes from the Greek word for "key." The clitoris is the most sensitive part of the entire genital area. The sole function of this tiny pea sized structure is to bring pleasure to the female during sexual arousal.
The area of the vulva inside the inner lips. This includes the tissue that surrounds the urethral and vaginal openings. The vestibular (Bartholin's) glands open into the vestibule on either side. These glands release mucus around the vaginal opening for lubrication during sexual intercourse.
The exit for urine located just above or in front of the vaginal orifice. This little piece of anatomy is not classified as genitalia.
The opening of the vagina to the outside of the body. The exit for menstrual flow and birth and the entrance for the penis during sexual intercourse.
Simply washing with soap and water during a bath or shower is enough to avoid unpleasant vaginal odors.
A healthy vagina is self-cleaning.
Avoid feminine sprays, and douching (cleansing the vagina by using a douche bag or squeeze bottle to wash the vagina with a solution of water and vinegar or other commercial douche preparation.) Douching was more common in the past. Today we know that these solutions irritate the sensitive tissue in and around the vagina and provide no benefit to you. Douching in a way is more superstitious than practical. Just because your mother may have done it, does not mean you have to. Douching can be abusive if your parent is forcing you to do it. If this is the case, read our section on abuse for help.
A clear whitish to pale yellow nonirritating vaginal discharge is normal, especially during sexual excitement or ovulation.
Symptoms of infection include...
If you notice any one of these symptoms and you've ruled out the old tampon mistake, consult a physician immediately. Ignoring these symptoms or attempting to self-treat could be very hazardous to your health. Only medical professionals are trained to differentiate between the many different types of vaginal infections, each of which requires a unique treatment. Examples of infections include...
Two masses of fat and glandular tissue lying over the chest muscles. Each breast contains 15 to 20 glandular lobes, embedded within fat. Each lobe is composed of several milk-producing alveolar glands. Hormones stimulate these glands to produce milk during pregnancy. Each lobe has a lactiferous duct, which carries its milk directly to the nipple. Each duct widens to form a sinus just before reaching the surface of the nipple. Milk is stored within these sinuses, until the baby sucks it out through pores in the nipple. The areola (the darker area of skin around the nipple) produces a secretion that protects the nipple during breast-feeding.
Why are the breasts so sensitive and why are men fixated on them? Female humans are the only female primates that have swollen mammary glands when they are not producing milk. This is evidence that women's breasts have evolved to serve more functions than nursing their young alone. Breasts provide pleasure during sexual activity and play a role in attracting a mate. Throughout their evolution our female ancestors who received pleasure during mating and breast-feeding, were selected because this provided incentive to mate thus producing more offspring and to nourish those offspring ensuring their survival. Similarly our male ancestors have been selected throughout their evolution to be attracted to a female with healthy breasts, because this attraction provided incentive to mate and reproduce, and ensures the female's ability to nourish the offspring. This attraction remains as a remnant of evolution and early life. Today there are many substitutes for breast milk, making the appearance of a woman's breasts unrelated to the survival of her offspring. Another attraction existing today as a remnant of our past is that of a woman's hips. Studies have found that men are attracted to women, whose hips were proportionately a certain degree larger than their waistline. This might have represented a larger birth canal and thus a greater ability to bear offspring. However, today with Caesarian sections, the size of a woman's hips have little to do with her ability to bear children.