“That’s not what a vagina is!” I yelled at her. She’s sitting right next to me, so yelling wasn’t exactly necessary but was probably still appropriate.
“What? What do you mean?” she asked, taken aback by my sudden increase in volume.
I took a deep breath and responded “You’re talking about the vulva. The vagina is on the inside.”
“But, why can’t we just call the whole thing the “vagina”?!” she whined.
“CUZ THAT’S NOT WHAT IT IS!” I yell again.
I don’t usually yell about genitals..
Yet this confusion over what the vagina and vulva are seems to be a reoccurring theme in the life of anyone who talks about sex professionally. Not to mention when doing research for this article, I got more relevant results by searching for “vagina” than I did “vulva”. *sigh*
Anyways, let’s do a simple review! (and I mean simple. There is a lot more to the vulva, vagina and reproductive organs, but we’re going to stick with defining the basic terms for now.)
The Vulva consists of:
Mons Pubis: the rounded section in front of the pelvic bones
Clitoral Glans: The clitoris is not just the little bump under the labia minor and majora, it’s actually an internal tissue that provides sexual stimulation and swells with blood when aroused, similar to the penis. The part of the clitoris that you can *see* is only the glans, the exposed ending.. the rest is inside.
Urethral Opening: This is where urine comes out, it’s located below the clitoris and above the vaginal opening. Menstrual blood and urine do *not* come out of the same place.
Vaginal Opening: the opening to the VAGINA: the entrance to all the internal reproductive organs.
Labia Majora and Minora: two folds of skin surrounding the clitoris, urethral opening and vaginal opening; majora is the outer fold, minora is the inner fold.
The Vagina & Reproductive Organs
Vagina: interior muscular tube that connects to the reproductive organs.
The Reproductive Organs Consist of:
Uterus: hollow organ connected to the vagina (this is where development of an embryo usually occurs, although fertilization can occur in the Fallopian tubes). Sometimes referred to as the “womb”.
Ovaries: set of glands at the end of the Fallopian tubes. These glands are responsible for producing hormones and ovum (eggs).
Fallopian Tubes: tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus.
So, no, the vagina is not the “whole thing”, though I’m sure you vagina-owners out there have great “pet names” for yours and I’d love to hear them!