Textbook Notes (368,035)
Canada (161,583)
Psychology (1,063)
PSY3122 (64)
Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Female Sexual Anatomy and Physiology

9 Pages
Unlock Document

Peggy Kleinplatz

Chapter 4 – Female Sexual Anatomy and Physiology THE VULVA The Vulva: the external genitals of the female, including the pubic hair, mos veneris, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris and urinary and vaginal openings The Mons Veneris: a triangular mound over the public bone above the vulva - Consists of pads of fatty tissue between the pubic bone and the skin - Numerous never endings, therefore touch and pressure can be sexually pleasurable - With puberty gets covered with hair - Scent that accompanies vaginal secretions is held by pubic hair - Pubic hair also prevents uncomfortable friction and provides cushioning during intercourse The Labia Majora: the outer lips of the vulva - Extend downward from the mons on each side of the vulva - Begin next to the thigh and extend inward, surrounding the labia minora and the urethral and vaginal openings - Next to the thigh the outer lips are covered with pubic hair, their inner parts, next to the labia minora are hairless - Skin of labia majora usually darker than the thighs - Nerve endings and underlying fatty tissue are similar to those in the mons Gynecology: the medical practice specializing in women’s health and in diseases of the female reproductive and sexual organs The Labia Minora: the inner lips of the vulva, one on each side of the vaginal opening - Located within the outer lips and often protrude between them - Inner lips are hairless folds of skin that join at the prepuce and extend downward past the urinary and vaginal openings o Prepuce: the foreskin or fold of skin over the clitoris (clitoral hood) - Contain sweat and oil glands, extensive blood vessels, and never endings - During pregnancy inner lips become darker in colour - Many women get surgery done in order to enlarge their labia (labiaplasty) – the risks of this are painful scarring or nerve damage that can result in hypersensitivity or sensation loss that impairs sexual arousal and pleasure The Clitoris: a highly sensitive structure of the female external genitals, the only function of which is sexual pleasure - The clitoris comprises the external shaft and glans and the internal crura, or roots, that project inward from each side of the clitoral shaft o Shaft: the length of the clitoris between the glans and the body o Glans: the head of the clitoris, which is richly endowed with nerve endings o Crura: the innermost tips of the cavernous bodies that connect to the pubic bones - The shaft and glans are located by the clitoral hood or prepuce - Genital secretions, skin cells, and bacteria combine to form smegma, which can accumulate under the hood and occasionally form lumps and cause pain during sexual arousal or activity o Smegma: a cheesy substance of glandular secretions and skin cells that sometimes accumulates under the hoof of the clitoris  Can be prevented from collecting in this area by drawing back the hood when washing the vulva, if already formed, health care practitioner can remove it - The shaft – cannot be seen, but can be felt o Contains 2 small spongy structures called the cavernous bodies  Cavernous bodies: the structures in the shaft of the clitoris that engorge with blood during sexual arousal o These become the crura where they connect to the pubic bones in the pelvic cavity - Glans – often not visible under the clitoral hood, but can be see if the labia minora is parted and the hood is retracted o Look smooth, rounded, and slightly translucent The Vestibule: the area of the vulva inside the labia minora - Rich in blood vessels and nerve endings, and its tissues are sensitive to touch - Urinary and vaginal openings are located within the vestibule The Urethral Opening: where urine collected in the bladder passes out of a women’s body - The urethra: the tube through which urine passes from the bladder, connects the bladder to the urinary opening o Located between the clitoris and the vaginal opening The Introitus and the Hymen - Introitus: the opening to the vagina, located between the urinary opening and the anus - Hymen: tissue that partially covers the vaginal opening, has no known function, but can protect the vagina tissues early in life - If semen is placed on the labia minora, the sperm can swim into the vagina - Hymenalplasty: surgical reconstruction of the hymen The Perineum: the area between the vagina and anus of the female and the scrotum and anus of the male - Perineal tissue s endowed with nerve endings and is sensitive to touch - Episiotomy: an incision sometimes made in the perineum to prevent the ragged tearing of tissues that can occur when the newborn passes through the birth canal UNDERLYING STRUCTURES – could be seen if the hair, skin and fatty pads were removed from the vulva - Shaft of the clitoris and the crura would be visible - Vestibular bulbs: two bulbs, one on each side of the vaginal opening, that engorge with blood during sexual arousal o Cause the vagina to lengthen and the vulvar area to swell o Similar to the spongy tissue in the penis that engorge and cause erection o Compression of these tissues by the penis during intercourse cause internal sensation that some women find pleasurable - Bartholin’s glands: two small glands slightly inside the vaginal opening that secrete a few drops of fluid during sexual intercourse - Pelvic floor muscles: have a multi-directional design that allows the vaginal opening to expand greatly during childbirth and to contract afterward - Kegel exercises: a series of exercises that strengthen the muscles underlying the external female or male genitals – mostly used for women who have just given childbirth INTERNAL STRUCTURES - Consist of the vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries The Vagina: a stretchable canal in the female that opens at the vulva and extends about 4 inches into the pelvis - Unaroused vagina – approximately 3-5 inches long - Changes in shape and size during sexual arousal - Contains 3 layers of tissue: mucous, muscle and fibrous tissue – all richly endowed with blood vessels o Mucous  Mucosa: layer of mucous membrane that a woman feels when she inserts a finger inside her vagina  Rugae: the folds of tissue in the vagina, feel soft, moist and warm  Walls produce secretions that help maintain the chemical balance of the vagina  During intercourse – lubricating substance exudes through the mucosa o Muscle  Composes of muscle tissue and concentrated around the vaginal opening o Fibrous tissue  Surrounding the muscular layer  Inner most vaginal layer  Aids in vaginal contraction and expansion and acts as connective tissue to other structure in the pelvic cavity Arousal and Vaginal Lubrication - Vasocongestion: the engorgement of blood vessels in particular body parts in response to sexual arousal – causes lubrication o Clear fluid seeps from the congested tissues to the inside of the vaginal walls to form the characteristic slippery coating of the sexually aroused vagina - Vaginal lubrication – 2 functions o Enhances the possibility of conception by helping alkalinize the normally acidic vaginal chemical balance – vaginal pH levels change from 4.5 to 6-6.5 with sexual arousal  Sperm travel faster and live longer in this new environment o Vaginal lubrication can increase sexual enjoyment  Manual genital stimulation: the slippery wetness can increase the sensuousness and pleasure of touching  Oral-genital sex: some women’s partners enjoy the erotic scent and taste of the vaginal lubrication  Intercourse vaginal lubrication makes the walls of the vagina slippery, which facilitates entry of the penis and makes thrusting pleasurable The Grafenberg Spot: glands and ducts in the anterior wall of the vagina - Consists of a system of glands and ducts that surround the urethra - Stimulation can cause sexual pleasure, arousal, orgasm and ejaculation of fluids in some women - Developed from the same embryonic tissue as the male prostate gland Vaginal Secretions and Chemical Balance of the Vagina - Both vaginal wall and cervix produce white or yellowish secretions o Colour depends on hormone level changes during menstrual cycle o Taste and scent also depends on timing of cycle and level of arousal - Douching: rinsing out the vagina with plan water or a variety of solutions, it is usually unnecessary for hygiene, and douching too often can result in vaginal irritation – can alter the chemical balance of the vagina The Cervix: the small end of the uterus, located at the back of the vagina - Contains mucus-secreting glands - Sperm pass through the vagina into the uterus through the os, the opening in the center of the cervix - Speculum: an instrument used to open the vaginal walls during a gynecological exam The Uterus: a pear-shaped organ inside the female pelvis, within which the fetus develops - Suspended in the pelvic cavity by ligaments o Anteflexed: tipped forward toward the abdomen o Retroflexed: tipped back toward the spine – ore menstrual discomfort - Walls consists of 3 layers: o Perimetrium: external layer, thin membrane covering outside of the uterus o Myometrium: middle layer, made of longitudinal and circular muscle fibers that interweave, smooth muscle layer of the uterine wall, enables the uterus to stretch during pregnancy and contract during labour and orgasm o Endometrium: inner lining of the uterine wall o Inner lining: endometrium, rich in blood vessels and nourishes the zygote, source of hormone production The Fallopian Tubes: two tubes that extend from the sides of the uterus, in which the egg and sperm travel - Fimbriae: fringelike ends of the fallopian tubes, into which the released ovum enters - Once inside the fallopian tubes (eggs) – the movements of tiny hair like cilia and the contractions of the tube walls move it along at about 1 inch every 24 hours, once fertilized, zygote begins to develop and continues traveling down the tube to the uterus - Ectopic pregnancy: occurs when a fertilized ovum implants in tissue outside the uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tube o Implantation can rupture the tube and cause uncontrolled bleeding – a serious medical emergency o Most common symptoms: abdominal pain and spotting occurring 6-8 weeks after the last menstrual period The Ovaries: female gonads that produce ova and sex hormones, at the ends of the fallopian tube, one on each side of the uterus - Connected to the pelvic wall and the uterus ligaments - Endocrine glands that produce 3 classes of sex hormones: o Estrogen – influences the development of female physical sex characteristics and helps regulate the menstrual cycle o Progesterone – help regulate the menstrual cycle and promote maturity of the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy o Testosterone: about half of woman’s testosterone produced here - Ovulation: the release of a mature ovum from the ovary – occurs as the result of the complex chain of events we know as the menstrual cycle MENSTRATION - The sloughing off of the built-up uterine lining that takes place if conception has not occurs- a sign of normal physical functioning Menarche: the initial onset of menstrual periods in a young woman -
More Less

Related notes for PSY3122

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.