Image source: girlshealth.gov
The what now? The Vulva. V-U-L-V-A! Lots of people refer to a woman’s sex parts as the “vagina” – but vagina is only one specific part of her internal reproductive anatomy. Don’t worry, we’ll explain the vagina soon enough, but let’s start with what you can see.
The vulva is everything outside the body you see between a woman’s legs.
Outer Labia: This is the fatty tissue on either side of the vaginal opening. “Labia” is a really old word for lips. That might help you remember it. Outer labia usually have hair.
Inner Labia: These are the small flaps of skin behind the outer labia. They can swell and get darker when she is turned on. They come in all different shapes and sizes. They are sensitive.
Different labia can make each woman look very different down there. This drawing gives a good example of the diversity that is out there.
Clitoris: Above the urethra, and the vaginal opening, this hides underneath the hood of skin that the inner labia form at the top. Because there are so many nerve endings here, this spot is usually very sensitive and can make a woman feel very good if touched in the right way. Each woman has her own right way.
Urethra: Same as in boys, this is where pee comes out.
Vaginal Opening: This is a different hole in the female reproductive anatomy that is for sex, menstruation, and child birth. Things a girl wants to go into the vagina go in, blood during her period and babies when she’s giving birth come out.
Important things to keep in mind:
- Every woman’s is different. Shape, size, smell, touch, taste, color, hair, sensitivity, wetness, etc. If you get to interact with one, don’t think the next one will do everything the same.
- Some people make a big deal out of the clitoris – like all you have to do is poke at it and it makes a girl orgasm. (Sidenote: don’t poke at it! This is not the Staples Easy Button!) Sorry, but you’re going to have to ask each one how she likes to be touched and where. Some girls won’t know and that’s okay. Now you two get to explore what feels good together.
- You don’t get to critique what she looks like down there. Any negative comments would be the equivalent of her telling you that you had a nasty looking little weenie. Try to find the beauty in each!
- Always start out gentle if you’re touching her there.
- If you and she become close enough and have an intimate connection, you should ask if you can just look and appreciate her vulva.
- Ask her what she likes it to be called. We have a lot of bad words for the vagina/vulva and she may not like hearing them. If you’re going to refer to it you should use the word she prefers.
Learn more about the vulva other places at sites like Planned Parenthood, Scarleteen, or Wikipedia. The more you know about her parts the more she will appreciate your expertise.
Still have questions? Ask them here.