Sexual Health and Wellness

THE VAGINA

IMAGE 1: THE VAGINA PARTS OF FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE TRACT The mons pubis The mons pubis is a rounded mound of fatty tissue that covers the pubic bone. During puberty, it becomes covered with hair. The mons pubis contains oil-secreting (sebaceous) glands that release substances that are involved in sexual attraction (pheromones). Prepuce Also called the clitoral hood is a fold of skin that surrounds and protects the clitoris. It develops as part of the labia minora and is comparable with the foreskin (equally called prepuce) in male genitals. Clitoris The clitoris, located between the labia minora at their upper end, is a small protrusion that corresponds to the penis in the male. The clitoris is very sensitive to sexual stimulation and can become erect. Stimulating the clitoris can result in an orgasm. Labia Minora The labia minora (literally, small lips) can be very small or up to 2 inches wide. The labia minora lie just inside the labia majora and surround the openings to the vagina and urethra. A rich supply of blood vessels gives the labia minora a pink color. During sexual stimulation, these blood vessels become engorged with blood, causing the labia minora to swell and become more sensitive to stimulation. Labia Majora The labia majora (literally, large lips) are relatively large, fleshy folds of tissue that enclose and protect the other external genital organs. The labia majora contain sweat and sebaceous glands, which produce lubricating secretions. After puberty, hair appears on the labia majora. Vagina The vaginal opening is the entryway for penetration during sexual intercourse and the exit for menstrual blood and vaginal discharge as well as the birth canal for a baby. When stimulated, Bartholin’s glands (located besides the vaginal opening) secrete a thick fluid that supplies lubrication for intercourse. Urethral Orifice It is the opening to the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the outside and is located above and in front of the vaginal opening. Length 8 – 10 cm Position The vagina lies between the bladder and the rectum and extends from the cervix to the body exterior. Pubic Hair The function of pubic hair is:

  • visual indicator of sexual maturity;
  • collection of secreted pheromones;
  • reduction of external friction during sexual intercourse;
  • and warmth (may be a side effect)