Althealth

Vulva - Female Body

Female Body

Can you imagine if women took their sex organs as seriously as men take theirs What if the size of your labia was an indication of sexual prowess Imagine teenage girls sitting around at sleep-overs, measuring the length of their vaginas. Can't you just hear it "Wow, mine's a half-inch longer than yours! How about you, Jennifer"

This scenario isn't just preposterous; it's unthinkable. For most women, the nether region of the female body is uncharted territory. We don't look at it, we don't explore it very much, and some of us don't even know exactly what's where.

In fact, some women might not even know that the vulva itself isn't an organ. Vulva is actually the name given to the entire outer area of a woman's genital-urethral organs. It's made up of the labia majora (or large lips), the labia minora (or small lips), the clitoris, the urethral opening and the vaginal opening.

Getting to Know Yours

Because of the way they're constructed, it's not as easy to get a gander at a female's genitalia as at a male's. You have to really make an effort.

"It's amazing how many women are afraid to look at their genitals," says Barbara Levinson, R.N., ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner and director of the Center for Healthy Sexuality in Houston. "How do you expect to guide your lover to give you pleasure if you don't know what you look or feel like" When you have some free time, Dr. Levinson advises taking a handheld mirror and exploring until you have a complete picture.

The labia majora are the large lips on the outside of all of the genitalia. They contain deposits of fatty tissue and are covered with hair. Their purpose: completely covering the vagina so that no dirt or sweat can enter it.

The labia minora are the smaller, hairless lips inside the larger lips. They are a backup vaginal protection system for the labia majora. It's the labia minora that fill with blood during sexual arousal. With the swelling that accompanies that rush of blood, your labia get a tighter grip on the penis, enhancing sexual pleasure.

The most common problem that women have with their labia is vulval itching, which is usually caused by an allergic reaction to chemicals in deodorants, spermicides, creams and douches. It's also very common during menopause, when there is a reduced level of estrogen in the body. Antibiotics, Heathfood and hormones, both of which are taken orally or sometimes applied in cream form, are the best treatments.

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