To know your body is to love your body and learning about your anatomy can help to open a whole new world of discovery. One of the biggest questions a lot of girls have is – what is a vagina? Sounds like a pretty straightforward question, but the answer is actually so much more than ‘girls are born with them.’

It’s important to understand the female anatomy and all its individual parts. Before we break down the vagina, you might like to find a private place and grab a mirror. By getting to know what your body looks like, it can help to keep you safe. If for any reason, you experience any bumps or redness around your vagina then you will already know what healthy is for you and you can inform your doctor of the changes.

Now, let’s explore the vagina!

What is a Vagina?

Before we start, we better answer the question above – what is a vagina? A vagina is part of the female reproductive organ and is an elastic, muscular canal that connects your uterus to the outside world.

Sounds candid, right? Wrong! The word ‘vagina’ is used to refer to the female reproductive system, but it’s in fact only one part of your anatomy. Here are the other parts of your female anatomy that you might like to learn about, we promise we won’t quiz you at the end!

The External Anatomy

Your vagina can be broken down into two parts – your external anatomy (seen on the surface of your body) and your internal anatomy (located inside your body). Let’s start with your external anatomy, which are the parts you should be able to see with your mirror.

Vulva: many girls don’t know what the vulva is, or they think that it’s the vagina. Your vagina is the internal tube that connects the uterus to the outside world. Your vulva includes all of the external parts including the inner and outer lips.

Labia Majora/Outer Lips: if you have a mirror handy, then your Labia Majora (outer lips) will be the first thing you see. It’s number one job is to protect the more sensitive parts of your vagina that are internal. You may notice hair grows on your Labia Majora, and this is normal.

Labia Minora/Inner Lips: your Labia Minora (inner lips) are designed to protect the underlying structures and vaginal opening. Although you can’t see them, they have oil glands to keep you lubricated and comfortable. If you are looking in the mirror and notice that they aren’t symmetrical, or they might extend beyond your Labia Majora, then that’s okay. A Labia Minora is unique for everyone!

Clitoris and Clitoral Hood: if you spread your Labia, you’ll notice you have a little nub at the top. This is called a clitoris and it contains 8,000 nerve endings! What this means is that your clitoris can be really sensitive, and for some women, it can stimulate an orgasm. The clitoral hood is a flap of skin that moves back and forth. It protects your clitoris and prevents any irritation or even arousal when you don’t want it.

Urethra: have you ever wondered which hole you urinate from? That would be the urethra. It’s a small opening that is located just below your clitoris. Don’t worry if you can’t see it in your mirror, it’s very small and it’s hard to feel anything there.

Vestibule: the opening to your vagina, located just below your urethra, is called the vestibule. This is another part of the female anatomy that is unique to the person. The vestibule can vary in color and can depend on your skin tone or whether or not you are sexually excited.

The Internal Anatomy

Now that you’ve explored the external part of your female anatomy, it’s time to learn about what is located internally. Don’t worry about using your mirror for this section as you won’t be able to see anything. So, sit back, relax, and learn about what goes on in your internal anatomy!

Vagina: although we’ve covered what the vagina is, we’ll go over it one more time. Your vagina connects your uterus to the outside world. When you experience your period, this is where you can insert a tampon. It’s important to note that although the vagina connects to your uterus, you can’t lose anything that is inserted into your vagina. You will have an enclosed pouch at the top of your vagina that stops anything going into the rest of your body.

Cervix: your cervix is a part of your uterus that extends into the vagina. If you haven’t experienced one yet, this is the part of your vagina that a sample for a Pap smear is taken (checks for abnormal cells). The cervix is also the part that will dilate before a woman gives birth. If you aren’t pregnant, then the cervix will only open up enough to allow you to get your period, and then will close again.

Uterus: should you choose to have one, the uterus is the place where you can carry a baby for nine months. It’s also the reason that you experience your period. The uterus sheds its lining every 28 days or so, depending on your menstrual cycle, when there is no pregnancy, and this creates your period. There is no way to feel your uterus as it’s buried deep in your lower abdomen.

Fallopian Tubes and Ovaries: your ovaries are where your eggs are formed. Every month, your ovaries will shoot out an egg and send it traveling down your fallopian tubes and into your uterus. There, your egg will hang around in the hopes of meeting up with sperm to create a baby.

Internal Clitoris (crura): remember how we talked about your clitoris above? Well, you have an internal one, too! You will have a wishbone-shaped structure that extends from your external clitoris to an area located just under your labia majora (but deep inside). The internal clitoris is there for sexual arousal.

And that’s it! You are now educated in the female anatomy. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your body and understand what is considered healthy or normal for you, that way you can always stay safe.


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