Most of us have them, but not many of us necessarily know all that much about them (although we kind of have an advantage over our heterosexual sisters in this regard, don’t we?). IF we are lucky enough to hear about them in school we probably get a diagram similar to this one and not much else. The focus in this area seems to always be on reproduction, which is important, but not relevant for all of us or the only topic of interest. In light of this here is a VERY basic lesson on the anatomy of the vulva.
Vagina vs Vulva:
The term vagina is often used in place of vulva but it is important to remember that they are different. The vagina is the passage, sometimes referred to as the birth canal, that leads from outside the body towards the uterus. It’s is a very important part of the internal genitalia as it provides a passage for (SAFE) sexual objects (eg. body parts or toys and semen if there’s potential for it) to enter the body as well as fluids, menstrual blood and possibly even babies to leave.
The vulva however is all the external parts of the genitalia. It includes the labia (both minora and majora), the external parts of the clitoris (I’ll explain these in a future post) and the urethra, the hole that you pee out of.
Why does it matter?
Common language allows for the use of vagina when referring to the vulva, so in this sense which term you use probably doesn’t matter much. However there are some concerns around why we have come to refer to the vulva as the vagina. Some people suggest that this generalisation comes from an ignorance of female sexuality, as though using the word to describe the part that would be penetrated by a male in a hetero-normative situation to describe the entire genital area of (most) females ignores the importance of the rest of the vulva. It’s probably important that we keep this in mind and at least acknowledge that there is a difference. In terms of this blog it is important to know the difference as from here on in I will be using the term vulva to describe the external parts of this kind of genitalia.
This article was printed with the permission of Saffic Sex Guide who wrote the article.