The Female Body

The female body
The female genitalia
The female genitalia
A woman’s/girl’s body can give her pleasurable sexual feelings, allow her to have sexual intercourse, have orgasms, become pregnant and give birth. Any girl who has begun her period can become pregnant if sperm fertilizes one of her ova (eggs). The parts of a girl’s body that are in the genital area make up her reproductive system. The reproductive system has both outside and inside parts. Each part has a medical name and there are lots of other names that people sometimes use. The names for the outside parts are:

Breasts

A girl’s breasts are part of her reproductive system because they will provide breast milk if she has a baby. A girl’s breasts are sensitive and when they are touched they can give her pleasurable sexual feelings. During puberty it is normal for girls to have sore, tender breasts as they grow and develop. As your breasts grow, and throughout your life, it is important to practice Breast Self Examination (BSE). This is what health professionals call the checks you can do yourself to make sure your breasts are normal. The link below will take you to a web site that can answer questions about BSE: My First Pelvic Exam (Pap Test) and Breast Exam

Vulva

The vulva is the name for the outside sexual parts of a girl’s body “down there”. The vulva includes the labia, the clitoris and the openings for the urethra (where pee comes out) and the vagina. Every girl has a vulva. It is the source of most of the sexual pleasure that women feel.

Labia

The word labia means “lips” in Latin. Every girl has two sets of lips as part of her vulva. The outside lips are thicker folds of skin that come together and hide the rest of the vulva. Their medical name is the “labia majora” which means the big lips. They usually have pubic hair on them and they can be long or short, large or small. There is no one right size. When a girl gets sexually excited (turned on or horny) they swell up and may change colour. Inside the outer lips is a second set of very sensitive lips that some people think look little wings or flower petals. Their medical name is “labia minora.” They are often pink in colour but they can also be everything from brown to black. Some women’s inner lips stick out between their outer lips. This is perfectly normal and not a problem. The inner lips can also be wrinkled or smooth.

Clitoris

The clitoris (sometimes shortened to “clit”) is located at the top of the vulva where the inner lips come together to make a little hood that hides the clitoris. Just like everything else, the clitoris can vary a lot in size. It can be as small as a tiny pea or as large as a fingertip. The clitoris is the pleasure centre of the vulva. When a girl is sexually aroused the clitoris gets bigger and firmer. It is super sensitive and its one and only purpose is to make a woman feel good.

Urethra

The urethra is the small opening where urine (pee) comes out of the body. It is just below the clitoris.

Vaginal Opening

The opening to the vagina is where the two inner lips of the vulva come together at the bottom of the vulva. The vagina connects a girl’s outer sex organs to her internal sex organs. The names for the inside parts are the:

Vagina

The vagina is where the menstrual flow from a girl’s monthly period comes out the body and where the penis goes in during sexual intercourse. The vagina is very expandable and is the opening through which the baby is pushed out of the body during childbirth.

Cervix

The cervix is the narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina inside a girl’s body. The word cervix means “neck” in Latin.

Uterus

The uterus is the Latin word for the womb. It is the part of the reproductive system (the part of the body that allows a woman to get pregnant and have a baby). The uterus is where the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus, becomes a fetus and grows into a baby.

Fallopian Tubes

The Fallopian Tubes are named after a medical researcher who first studied this part of women’s bodies. There are two fallopian tubes and once a month the ovaries deposit an egg in one of the tubes where it can be fertilized by sperm from the man’s body. If the egg is fertilized it moves down the tube and attaches itself to the inside of the uterus. When that happens a woman has become pregnant.

Ovaries

The ovaries are hidden deep in a woman’s body, are small (about the size of a large olive) and are connected to the fallopian tubes. All of the eggs in a woman’s body are stored in the woman’s ovaries. Web sites with more information include: www.sexualityandU.ca www.teensource.org www.teenwire.com

Periods and Menstruation

There’s lots to learn when it comes to understanding the female reproductive system. For more information on the menstrual cycle, or “periods” please have a look at these websites: