Genitals/Genitalia: The term genitals or genitalia is used to describe the reproductive organs in either males or females. Female genitalia are typically separated into external and internal structures. The external genitalia include the labia majora and minora, the clitoris, and the urethra (which is NOT a reproductive organ but is included here). The internal genitalia refer to the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus (including the cervix), and vagina.
Vulva: The vulva includes all the parts you can see, including your labia majora (outer lips), labia minora (inner lips), clitoris (or clitoral glans) with its soft tissue hood (or clitoral hood), mons pubis (soft, hair bearing fatty pad above your clitoris), and the vulvar vestibule (opening of the vagina).
Vagina: Your vagina is the canal that runs up from the opening between your inner labia to your cervix, which is the lower end of your uterus. Your vagina holds a tampon to absorb menstrual fluid and is the path that babies follow to enter the world (also known as the birth canal).
Vaginal Opening, Vestibule, or Introitus: All of these describe the outer most portion of the vaginal canal. When looking with a mirror, the very distinct opening you see between the inner lips is the vaginal opening.
Labia Majora (Outer Lips): The labia majora are the outermost portion of the vulva. Like the mons pubis, the labia majora can vary in plumpness, from full to thin, and grow hair. The labia majora are filled with blood vessels and nerve endings, allowing them to respond and contribute to the sexual arousal cycle.
Labia Minora (Inner Lips): The thinner, often more wrinkled, labia minora are between your labia majora. The labia minora come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors and are often longer than the labia majora. Your labia minora also cover and protect your vaginal and urethral openings, as well as your clitoris. Like the labia majora, the labia minora are very important, as they are full of blood vessels and nerve endings that play an important role in arousal and sexual pleasure.
Clitoris: The clitoris is a complex female sexual organ. It has three parts—the clitoral head or glans, the shaft and legs—that contribute to what Sheri Winston, a renowned sexuality teacher, has called the female erectile network. The clitoris is large and primarily internal. The only function of the clitoris is to contribute to sexual arousal. Delightfully, the entire clitoris is made up of erectile tissue, which means it swells and engorges with arousal.
The clitoral head or glans is home to 6,000–8,000 nerve endings, double the amount in the penis, creating twice the sensitivity. It can be small or large and may or may not be covered by the clitoral hood.
The clitoral hood is actually a fold of tissue created by your labia minora that surrounds and protects the clitoris. The clitoral hood provides a variety of coverage, depending on its size and shape.
The clitoral shaft extends from the head of the clitoris and is found under the clitoral hood. Its shape is tubular, like a pencil or straw. It varies in length from about one half-inch to one inch.
The clitoral legs can be more difficult to locate. They branch off from the base of the shaft and run down along the sides of the pubic arch, attaching underneath the pubic bone on either side. It might be helpful to picture a wishbone bending from the center point. The legs are about 3–4 inches long.
Vestibular bulbs: An additional part of the female erectile network is the pair of vestibular bulbs located beneath the labia, lying on either side of the vaginal opening. Here it might be helpful to picture a set of parentheses. Imagine them thin at the top, fat at the bottom. At the top, the bulbs connect directly to the shaft of the clitoris. When swollen during arousal, they too play an important role in sexual pleasure.
Mons pubis: The mons is the soft, fatty mound of hair bearing tissue, just above your vulva. The mons can vary in size. This is home to most of the pubic hair. The mons is quite sensitive to vibratory sensation, fine touch, pain, and temperature, making it an additional source for sexual pleasure.
Vulvar Vestibule: The vulvar vestibule is everything visible between the labia minora. It is below the hood of the clitoris and includes the urethral and vaginal openings.
Urethra: The urethra is the muscular tube that leads from the bladder to an opening above the vaginal opening. It provides the passageway to empty urine from the bladder.
Perineum: From an anatomical perspective, the vulva lies within the boundaries of the perineum. These boundaries form a diamond-shaped area that extends from the mons pubis on the front to the tailbone at the back and to the sits bones on either side. It includes an area of tissue called the perineal body that lies between the vaginal opening and the anus.
Anus: The anus is comprised of 2 muscular sphincters that control the expulsion of feces or stool. It is the end of the gastrointestinal tract.