A clit-ical look into your vulva

First off, you have been tricked. I am so sorry, but if you were looking for an in-depth article about the vagina you have come to the wrong place. However, if you are looking for an in-depth article that explores the vulva, welcome!

It’s not just me who has tricked you, but most of the world too. Thanks middle school sex education, for teaching me about every part of the penis, yet nothing about the vagina. While I could tell you exactly where the scrotum is at any given moment, just last week I didn’t have any idea as to where the female urethra is.

So, my fellow vagina owners, if you are like the me before I wrote this article, someone who did not have the slightest clue as to what a vulva even is (it’s the female external genitals, not a car), take my hand and follow me into the beautiful world that is ~The Female Genitalia~.

Let us start with the basics. 

The vulva and the vagina are not the same.

I know, crazy right? Many women think that the vagina is the vulva—that the entirety of our crotch is the vagina. I know I did. But alas, they are not the same. Planned Parenthood describes the vulva as “the whole female genital ‘package’,” the package being the clitoris, labia, vagina and the opening of the urethra. So while the two terms are not interchangeable, the vagina is indeed part of the beautiful package of the vulva.

Then what is the vagina?

The vagina is what connects the uterus to the outside world; it is in simple terms, just a canal. However, this particular canal is incredible. It menstruates (ok, not so incredible), births babies and is a big part of sex. It is important, however, to remember the vagina is not the vulva. It is not the external sex organ.

And now onto what the hell everything else is!

The labia.

There are two forms of the labia, commonly known as the lips: the labia majora and the labia minora. The first literally translates into “large lips” and the latter “small lips.”

The labia majora are relatively large and fleshly and serve as a type of protectant, enclosing the external reproductive organs. Pubic hair grows on the labia majora once puberty hits — something that would have been very helpful for me to know as I was terrified when I realized that I had hair down down there.

The labia minora are the inner lips that lie inside the labia majora, beginning at the clitoris and ending around the vaginal opening.

Debby Herbanick, co-author of “Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva” described a fun way to picture the labia. In her book, Herbanick recounted to readers a time when she had been asked to explain the vulva by stating, “Imagine my face is a vulva. My mouth would be the vagina and my lips would be the labia minora … My cheeks would be the labia majora.”

There’s a mental picture for you and if that’s not good enough, you can look at essentially any fruit and see the labia.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 3.02.56 AM

Urethra! (Read as “Eureka!”)

Pee does not come out the vagina. I repeat: pee does not come out of the vagina. While this is one of the better-known facts about lady parts, it’s still nice to have a small reminder. If you don’t like reading reminders, you can always go back and re-watch the iconic “A Whole Other Hole” episode of Orange is the New Black.  The urethra is where urine actually comes out. It sits between the clitoris and the vagina, and that’s really all there is to it.

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 3.01.41 AM

And last but definitely not least — the clitoris.

Ah, the clitoris. Dare I say, women’s best friend? When it comes to sex, that is. This little pearl exists exclusively for pleasure. While most of the clitoris is hidden from view by a clitoral hood, the only visible part is the tip — similar to the foreskin on a penis — which can be seen at the top of the vulva. The clitoris is super cool, it has thousands of nerve endings and has absolutely no part in baby making! Basically, it’s there to make you feel good.

THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT TO KNOW

All vulvas are unique. No two vulvas look the same. Thanks to pornography and most other sexual images, women are lead to believe that everything down there has to be a certain size and length. But they don’t because very few vulvas are going to look like the small proportionate ones seen in porn. Your vulva is perfect just the way it is.

And those, my friends, are the basics of the female genitalia. Thank you for accompanying me on this educational journey and I wish you luck on getting to know your vagina—I mean, vulva (including your vagina). Go home, get those hand mirrors out and get to know your little friend down there!


Jenny Aranda

Jenny is a dog enthusiast and the queen of procrastination. She loves One Direction with no shame, books and movies, and is addicted to the outdoors. On a typical day you can find her outside smiling at all passing dogs and drinking water from her reusable bottle.

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “A clit-ical look into your vulva

  1. If you didn’t know where your urethra is, you’re incredibly dumb. That’s not the fault of the sexist patriarchy, that’s your fault for never playing with a mirror. Of course you know where the scrotum is, it’s the big sac. Yeesh. My public school in the middle of the country taught me both parts equally. Plenty of things are sexist in this country, but this isn’t one of them.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s