Island Sexual Health Society Be informed, not surprised!

Female sexual anatomy

2006 June 08

The female reproductive system is made up of the organs that allow a woman to:

* have and enjoy sexual intercourse
* produce eggs (ova)
* be pregnant
* give birth

Breasts are considered part of the female reproductive system.

h3. Pictures and details

“Inside parts”:#inside:

* “Ovaries”:#ovaries
* “Fallopian tubes”:#tubes
* “Uterus”:#uterus
* “Cervix”:#cervix
* “Vagina”:#vagina

“Outside parts”:#outside:

* “Breasts”:#breasts
* “Vulva”:#vulva
* “Mons pubis”:#mons
* “Labia majora”:#labia-majora
* “Clitoris”:#clitoris
* “Labia minora”:#labia-minora

h3(#inside). Internal female sexual organs

h4(#ovaries). Ovaries

* Located on each side of the uterus
* About the size and shape of almonds
* At birth a girl’s ovaries contain 2 – 4 million immature eggs (called ova)
* The ovaries release one egg during each “menstrual cycle”:/body/menstruation/; this is called ovulation
* Ovulation occurs about once a month, starting at puberty and ending at menopause

h4(#tubes). Fallopian Tubes

* Two tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus (one on each side)
* About 10cm (4 inches) in length and narrower than a piece of spaghetti
* Fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes when a sperm meets an egg

h4(#uterus). Uterus

* hollow, muscular organ about the size of a fist where a fertilized egg develops until birth
* located low in the abdomen, behind the bladder and in front of the bowel
* enlarges during pregnancy, to accommodate a growing fetus
* also called the womb

h4(#cervix). Cervix

* Lower part of, or opening to, the uterus
* Acts to keep things out of the uterus while allowing sperm to get in
* Cervical mucous is found here and is thinner around the time of ovulation to allow sperm to get in
* When a woman gives birth, the cervix opens to allow the baby to move into the vagina

h4(#vagina). Vagina

* A muscular tube connecting the cervix to the outside of the body
* The penis enters the vagina during sexual intercourse
* Passes the menstrual flow during a woman’s period
* When relaxed, the vagina is about 8 – 10cm (3 – 4 inches) long and the walls fold in and touch each other
* During the arousal process the vagina gets larger and lubricates (gets wetter)
* The hymen is a thin piece of skin which may partially cover the vagina

h3(#outside). External female sexual anatomy

h4(#breasts). Breasts

* Start to develop during puberty; breast development can continue into a woman’s 20’s
* Nipple contains erectile tissue which often becomes erect during sexual arousal
* Surrounding the nipple is the areola which varies in size and colour between women
* Breast size and shape varies from one woman to the next and is determined by her age, her genes, her weight, etc.

h4(#vulva). Vulva

* Includes all the outer genitals
* You can see the vulva by holding a mirror between your legs

h4(#mons). Mons pubis

* The only part that is visible from the front of the body
* The pad of skin that covers the pubic bone
* Area is covered by pubic hair

h4(#labia-majora). Labia majora

* Literally meaning “larger lips”
* Form the outer part of the vulva
* Are sensitive to touch and help in lubrication

h4(#clitoris). Clitoris

* Most sensitive part of the vulva
* Same components as the penis
* Only function is to provide sexual pleasure
* About 2 – 4cm (3/4 – 1 1/2 inches) long although the visible part is only about 1cm long
* During sexual arousal, the tissue becomes filled with blood and becomes erect

h4(#labia-minora). Labia minora

* Thinner and more delicate than the labia majora
* The labia minora and majora differ in size and shape in different women
* Also helps to lubricate and is sensitive to touch