External Sex Organs Explained
External Sex Organs Explained
Most women are vague about the appearance and function of their sexual and reproductive organs. For unlike those of a man, those of a woman are almost hidden, so that entirely hidden, so that in a standing position the only obvious sign is the pubic hair.
The female external sex organs consist of the Mons Veneris, the major and minor lips, the glans of the clitoris, and the vaginal opening. All of these parts together are also often referred to collectively as the vulva.
At the front, if one were looking between a woman’s open legs is the:
- Mons Veneris (Mount of Venus)or mons pubis – a pad of fatty tissue over the pubic bone. The mons is sexually sensitive in some women and protects the pubic bone from the impact of sexual intercourse. Extending downward and backward from the mons veneris are the
- Labia Majora (outer lips) – a two folds of fatty tissue which protect the reproductive and urinary openings lying between them. The outer lips change size during a woman’s life. These labia are usually covered with pubic hair, and contain numerous sweat and oil glands, and it has been suggested that the scent from these are sexually arousing. . Between them lie the
- Labia Minora (innter lips) – two delicate hairless folds of skin. These folds are very sensitive to touch, thus, during sexual arousal, they swell and darken in color. The appearance of labia minora can vary widely, from tiny lips that hide between the labia majora to large lips that protrude. The most common metaphor for the labia minora is that of a flower. Below the mons area the they split into two folds to form a
- clitoral hood – a covering of tissue that protects the clitoris under which lies the
- clitoris – a small, bud shaped organ and the most sensitive of the female genitals. The clitoris corresponds exactly to the male penis and like it is made up of erectile tissue. During sexual excitement, the clitoris swells with blood and, for most women, is the center of orgasm. Just below the clitoris are the
- urethra – the external opening of the urinary passage which leads directly to the bladder – and the
- vaginal opening - the outside entrance to the vagina
- The hymen - or maidenhead, is a thin membrane just inside the vaginal opening. It varies greatly in shape and size. It may be stretched or torn with minor bleeding and possibly pain after the first sexual intercourse, but quiet often has already been stretched due to the use of tampons or petting.
- The Bartholin’s glands – vestibular glands lie either side of the vaginal opening. Contrary to previous belief, these glands play very little part in vaginal lubrication. In addition, they may occasionally become infected because of unhygienic practice.
- The perineum – the triangular area of skin lying between the end of the labia minora and the anus. Below its surface are muscles and fibrous tissue that are stretched during childbirth.
- The anus – lies below the perineum and is the external opening through which feces pass from the rectum.
All developing babies start out with external sex organs that look female. If the baby is male, the internal sex organs mature and begin to produce the male hormone testosterone. If the hormones reach the tissues correctly, the external genitals change into the scrotum and penis. Sometimes, the genetic sex (as indicated by chromosomes) may not match the appearance of the external sex organs. At birth, the sex organs and glands are already different in girls and boys. There are also some differences in the way the brain is “wired” in the two sexes. But nothing much happens physically in our sexual development until puberty, which starts between the ages of 11 and 15, with girls generally starting puberty a year earlier than boys.