Home' LOTL : September 2005 Contents 47
By Dr Ann
THE GOOD BITS
QIs it weird to know next to nothing about female anatomy yet
be in a lesbian relationship? Sometimes I wonder if everyone
else knows stuff I don’t! Mystified.
ADear Misty, No it’s not weird. It’s probably the norm. Even
assuming that you know enough to be enjoying a sexual side
to your relationship, you can always learn more! Personally,
the science lessons at the Jolly Hockeysticks School strangely
bypassed the finer points of female genitalia and even medical
school provided little detail, preferring to concentrate on the “easier”
model of male anatomy. It’s not surprising that most of us know only
the bare minimum. So bearing in mind you don’t need a degree in
anatomy to have a good time, let’s delve into the basics of how all
those usually unmentionable bits of your nether regions fit together.
Now there’s a disturbing trend to anglicise most of the medical terms
used to describe bodies, quite upsetting for those of us who find
Latin and Greek sexy. I’m therefore going to use English for the terms
you’ve probably heard before, and give you the medical version in
brackets. It’s also interesting to note how many of the terms begin
We’ll start at the top: the most visible part of a woman’s genitals is
the pubic mound (mons veneris – the mound of venus…I told you
it was sexy.) This area of skin overlies the pubic bone and is mainly
composed of fat, and the skin itself is covered in pubic hair (unless
you’re one of those ladies who likes razors or wax). Below the mons
is your vulva, the area between your legs, which is composed of
various delicate structures that have been likened to flowers, clams,
mouths, and other romantic phenomena.
The outer lips of the vulva are called the “labia majora” or major lips,
whose skin is covered in pubic hair. These may cover the inner (labia
minora) lips – or the inner lips of the vulva may be visible, peeking out
from between them. At the top of these inner lips, just above where
they come together (the frenulum), you find the clitoris (glans clitoris).
This small round area of tissue is literally the tip (glans) of a much
larger structure: your clitoris is much larger than you think!
From the tip the clitoris extends under the skin into a shaft and two
“roots” (crura) which sit on either side of the vulva. The tip (glans) is
protected by a fold of skin joined to the inner lips called the clitoral
hood (prepuce). If you can’t see the glans of your clitoris you can pull
back gently on the hood and there it will be.
Below the glans clitoris is the “vestibule”, the area bordered by the
inner lips on either side, the frenulum at the top and the fourchette
(where the outer and inner lips join) at the bottom. At the top of the
vestibule is the opening of your urethra (where urine comes out from
the bladder). At the bottom is the introitus (hmm, not the sexiest of
names) – the entrance to the vagina. The vagina is a space formed
by muscular walls, at the end of which lies the neck of the uterus
(the cervix). The spaces at the end of the vagina on either side of the
cervix are called fornices.
So much to learn! So much Latin and Greek! And there is so much
more to learn about what all these different parts actually do. But
next time you have a mirror or your partner handy, try to see if you
can remember the names for these fascinating structures which make
us who we are: i.e., beautiful, and infinitely interesting. You’ll never
walk into a vestibule the same way again.
Dr Ann is a doctor at a Sydney metropolitan area hospital. The opinions
expressed in this column are those of the author and are not intended as
a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns about your health
please consult your health practitioner.
“The area between your legs is composed
of various delicate structures which have
been likened to flowers, clams, mouths and
other romantic phenomena.”
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