Island Sexual Health Society Be informed, not surprised!

Frontal diagram of the biological female reproductive/sexual system

All about the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries

This reproductive/sexual system is made up of the organs that allow a person to:

  • have and enjoy sexual intercourse
  • mature and release eggs (ova)
  • be pregnant
  • give birth

Breasts are also often considered part of the reproductive system.

Pictures and details

Through regular sexual health exams, we can help you ensure that all components of your sexual and reproductive system are healthy and happy! Illustration by Rita Wakelin, one of our amazing youth committee members!

Through regular sexual health exams, we can help you ensure that all components of your sexual and reproductive system are healthy and happy! Illustration by Rita Wakelin, one of our amazing youth committee members!

Inside/Internal parts:

Outside/External parts:

Internal/inside  sexual organs

Female body parts: ovariesOvaries

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

Fallopian tubesFallopian 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

Female body parts: uterusUterus

  • 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

Female body internal part: cervixCervix

  • 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 it’s time for the fetus to be born, the cervix opens to allow the fetus to move into the vagina

Vagina

  • A muscular tube connecting the cervix to the outside of the body
  • Female inside body part: vaginaThe penis may enter the vagina during sexual intercourse
  • Passes the menstrual flow during a  period or menstruation
  • 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 relaxes, lengthens and lubricates (gets wetter)
  • The hymen or corona is known as a thin piece of membrane found at the entrance to the vagina. This membrane varies from person to person and usually they erode over time because of hormonal changes, tampon use, fingers being inside the vagina, etc.  It is rare that membrane would be completely covered the vagina from wall to wall. 

External  sexual anatomy

Breasts

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

Vulva

  • Includes all the outer genitals. People often mistakenly call the vulva the vagina when in fact the vagina is the canal that runs from the cervix to the vaginal opening of the body.
  • You can see the vulva by holding a mirror between your legs

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

Labia majora

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

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

Labia minora

  • Usually thinner than the labia majora
  • The labia minora and majora differ in size and shape in every body
  • Also helps to lubricate and is sensitive to touch