Page 74-90, 17 pages Page 1 of 6
Chapter 4: Sexual Anatomy
• Genital Self-Image: Our attitudes and feelings about our genitals.
• Negative feelings may be influenced by perceptions about cultural norms (too big, too small), sexual
experiences (child sexual abuse), and by medical conditions.
• A negative genital self-image can affect sexual well-being – self-conscious during sexual activity, lower
sexual self-esteem and satisfaction.
• Genital cosmetic surgery has been getting more popular: vaginoplasty (tightening of vagina),
hoodectomy (removing clitoral hood), labia reduction or remodelling (labiaplasty)
• In reality, there is a wide variation in genital appearance, which should all be considered normal; genital
surgery also does not necessarily enhance sex and may have many risks and complications.
FEMALE SEXUAL ORGANS
• The eternal organs are collectively known as
the vulva, and appearance differs greatly
• Clitoris: A highly sensitive sexual organ, a
glans found in front of the vaginal entrance with
the rest of the structure extending deep into the
• Consists of a knob externally, a shaft of two
corpora cavernosa (spongy bodies similar to
those in the penis), and two crura that run in a
wishbone-shape to either side of the vagina
under the labia majora
• The clitoris is homologous to the penis,
developing from the same embryonic tissue.
They both have corpora cavernosa that are erectile when filled with blood, and have a rich supply of
• The clitoris is the only part of sexual anatomy with no known
reproductive value, although important in sexual arousal.
• The mons pubis is the rounded, fatty pad of tissue under
the pubic hair.
• The outer lips/labia majora are rounded pads of fatty
tissue lying on either side of the vaginal entrance covered
with public hair
• The inner lips/labia minora are two hairless folds of skin
between the outer lips and along the edge of the vaginal
opening. They come together in front to form the clitoral hood, and in the back behind the vaginal
opening in the fourchette.
• Bartholin glands are two small glands located on either side of the vaginal entrance, function
• The perineum is the skin between the vaginal entrance and anus. Page 74-90, 17 pages Page 2 of 6
• The vaginal opening is known as the introitus. The urethral opening lies between the clitoris and
The Vulvar Vestibule
• Vestibule: The area of vulva enclosed by the inner lips, containing urethral and vaginal openings. It is
highly sensitive, well-supplied with nerve endings.
• Vulvar Vestibulitis: Vestibule gets extremely sensitive and red; sexual activity, penetration, or touch
from exercise can become very painful.
• Female external genitals much less visible than a male’s, which can be seen by direct vision or in a
• The clitoris, labia, and vaginal opening are harder to see – can be viewed by putting a mirror on the
floor and sitting in front of it or standing with one foot on an object.
• Hymen (“cherry”, “maidenhead”): A thin membrane that may partially cover the vaginal entrance. It may
be one of a number of different types, generally with some opening to allow menstrual flow
• The hymen may be broken or stretched at the time of
first penetrative intercourse; this may be painful or
cause bleeding. This can be avoided by physician
trimming of the hymen, or the woman can stretch the
hymen w/ her hands.
• Droit du seigneur: In Middle Ages, the lord claims the
right to deflower a bride before her husband on her
• The hymen is falsely believed to represent virginity, and bleeding as a sign of “intactness”. Some are
simply born without a hymen, while in others it may be torn in active sports or with tampon use before
• Vagina: Tube-shaped organ in the
female into which the penis is inserted,
the ejaculate is received, and through
which the baby passes during birth
• In a resting state, the vagina is 3-4
inches long and tilted slightly
backwards; it ends in the introitus
outside and connects with the cervix
• Glands in the cervix create mucus,
that when mixed with watery substances
create lubrication for the vagina during
• The walls are extremely elastic and capable of
expanding to accommodate intercourse and childbirth.
During arousal, it expands like an inflated balloon to
accommodate the penis.
• Walls of the vagina have three layers: Vaginal
mucosa mucous membrane on the inner layer, middle
muscular layer, and outer covering layer. Page 74-90, 17 pages Page 3 of 6
• Nerves mostly supply the lower 1/3 of the vagina near the introitus; the inner 2/3 contain almost no
nerve endings and is not particularly sensitive to erotic stimulation. The G-spot is a spot on the front-wall
of the vagina
• The introitus can be stretched by childbirth; there is considerable difference in the appearance of the
vulva of a woman who has never had a baby (nulliparous) and one who has (parous).
• The pelvic floor muscles surround the vagina, urethra, and the anus. The pubococcygeus muscle is
particularly important; it can be strengthened through Kegel exercises by voluntary contraction, and may
be stretched during childbirth.
The Vestibular Bulbs
• Vestibular bulbs (bulbs of the clitoris) are erectile tissue running on either side of the vaginal wall
under the inner lips and Skene’s gland, about the size and shape of pea pods.
The Skene’s Gland (Female Prostate)
• Skene’s Gland is the female prostate, lying between the urethra and vagina. Its ducts empty into the
urethra, but can be felt on the front wall of the vagina.
• It secretes fluid biochemically similar to male prostate fluid. Size and secretions vary between
• The uterus is where the fetus develops, usually the size and shape of an upside-down pear tilted
forwards, and held in place by ligaments.
• The narrow lower 1/3 is the cervix, opening into the vagina; the top is the fundus and the main part the
body. The entrance to the uterus through the cervix is the os, or cervical canal, and only about the
diameter of a straw.
• The uterine inner layer of endometrium is richly supplied with glands and blood vessels. It depends on
the woman’s age and menstrual cycle – sloughed off at menstruation.
• The middle layer of myometrium is muscular, creating powerful contractions during labour and
orgasm, and highly elastic. The outer layer is the perimetrium, separating the uterus from the pelvic
The Fallopian Tubes
• The fallopian tubes (oviducts) extend from the uterus to the ovaries. They are extremely narrow at
0.2-0.5mm, and are lined with cilia. The sperm travel through to fertilize the egg, and the egg travels
through to the uterus
• Fertilization occurs in the infundibulum, the area of tube closest to the ovary. The infundibulum ends in
fingerlike projections of fimbriae that extend toward the ovary.
• The ovaries produce eggs and sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, and are the size and shape
of almonds, lying on either side of the uterus.
• Each ovary contains numerous follicles, a capsule which surrounds an egg. A female is born with ~1
million immature oocytes; from puberty, one or several follicles mature each menstrual cycle, and one
egg will burst from the follicle to be released.
• The egg is released into the body cavity, and reaches the fallopian
tubes through the fimbriae. If the egg does n