Vagina, to her friends. Actually: vulva
I’ve always heard about sexuality in terms of contraception methods, venereal diseases and little less.
It happened through middle school lessons, during the few hours of sexual education taught by the Italian teacher (who, I don’t know why, pretended to be everyone’s big friend and confidant while was giving bad grades on the essays). As well as through high school, when a gynaecologist was regularly invited to give speeches about sex in the lecture hall, pretending to be funny and youthful.
I’ve always had the impression that ‘the grownups’ were putting all their efforts into spreading one single message – Be careful, sex is dangerous, but I can teach you how to protect yourself!
I wonder how many people’s approach to sexuality would have changed if only anyone else had told us – Sex is beautiful, especially if you know where to go and what to do: now I tell you how to enjoy it as best you can!
Probably, before to talk about contraception and sex, it was time to fill few hours explaining to everyone what we girls look like past the bellybutton. And not in terms of female reproductive system, the definition which everyone learned by heart while yawning and turning the pages of the schoolbook showing awful drawings of wombs resembling funnels with earphones and woman bodies riddled with arrows and boring captions acupuncture-style.
Probably, today a lot of people, far beyond the puberty age, would not have to wonder:
how many holes are in the vagina? and from which one does the pee come out?
If only Wikipedia and WikiHow were the titles on the schoolbooks!
According to the comments read around the web and heard on the street, the doubts about what is still wrongly called vagina are many and the same for several people.
Besides the lack of education, I think the problem comes from the fact that, unlike the man (few organs clearly visible and easily accessible), that body part responsible for women’s sexual life (let’s leave aside the brain for the moment) is well hidden and highly complex. And if you want to really know it, you have to observe closely, touch, massage and poke around. All things that no one ever advised me to do, but rather to avoid (!!).
Let’s start with the basics
What a lot of people, almost everyone, still call the vagina, is actually the vulva, the external area containing the visible female genital organs (not that I want to dot the I’s and cross the T’s, but, as I’ve learned from my husband, names are important!).
The vagina is ‘just’ the organ which hosts the penis during the intercourse, the opening which releases the menstruation, as well as the birth canal through which the fetus is delivered. That fame opening imitated by joining the thumbs and the index fingertips to form a triangle. (actually, there are decades of history and feminist fighting behind this gesture which deserves a wider analysis).
Above the vagina, there’s the urethral opening or pee hole. So the pee doesn’t come from the same place into which the penis goes. Banal but not obvious!
Above the urethra, there’s a crucial spot: the clitoris. Absolutely everyone must know that it exists, where it is and how it works. It’s hidden by the foreskin (prepuce), a fold of skin which covers the clit when it is not stimulated and in a state of arousal. Lifting the skin with the fingers, the clit gets revealed.
It’s a really (really, really) sensitive spot which, with a correct stimulation (by fingers, vibrating toys, tongue or whatever), can drive to an unforgettable orgasm (at least till the next one).
The vagina and the urethra are surrounded by the labia minora, or inner labia, which run from the foreskin, and in the majority of women are the vulva’s flaps of skin with the greatest projection. They can vary in form and size from woman to woman.
Surrounding them, there are the labia majora: we’re at the most external part of the vulva, where the hair grows. They run from the mons Venus, on top, to the perineum tract close to the anus. They might get swollen in a state of sexual arousal (good to know in order to avoid unnecessary frights).
The mons Venus or mons veneris (mons pubis), whose name is more poetic and philosophical than scientific, is that body part on the top of the vulva, between the groins, which resemble a triangle and gets covered with hair, easy to draw, see and touch. In short, that bunch of pixels on my iPhone’s screen.
Let’s go all the way
My collages might leave you with some doubts, I admit it. But in this way you don’t have to be afraid of scrolling the page while you’re on the bus and run into the picture of a fullscreen vulva by capturing commuter’s curious eyes.
If you’re locked in your room and you miss the middle school-style schemes, a Wikipedia tour could come in handy.
If you want to be absolutely sure of having a clear idea of the anatomy, this is the right place for you: eye on the photographies 😉