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Chapter 4

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PSYC 333
Kelly Suchinsky

Page 74-90, 17 pages Page 1 of 6 Chapter 4: Sexual Anatomy GENITAL SELF-IMAGE • 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 External Organs • The eternal organs are collectively known as the vulva, and appearance differs greatly between individuals The Clitoris • 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 body. • 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 nerve endings. • The clitoris is the only part of sexual anatomy with no known reproductive value, although important in sexual arousal. The Mons • The mons pubis is the rounded, fatty pad of tissue under the pubic hair. The Labia • 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 unknown. • 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 vaginal opening 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. Self-Knowledge • Female external genitals much less visible than a male’s, which can be seen by direct vision or in a mirror. • 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. The Hymen • 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 wedding night. • 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 any intercourse. Internal Organs The Vagina • 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 (birth canal). • 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 inside. • Glands in the cervix create mucus, that when mixed with watery substances create lubrication for the vagina during sex • 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 individuals. The Uterus • 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 cavity 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 • 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
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