Front and back view of a woman in her underwear
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

Overview: the female body

You've got sexual organs on the inside as well as the outside. The word 'vagina' is often used to describe the genitals, but actually, it's just one part of them.

The vagina is the opening that connects the inner and outer sexual organs.

The external sexual organs are what you see on the outside of your body – between your legs. In women and girls, this is called the vulva:

vulva labia clitoris
© Love Matters

Vagina

The vagina is the passage between the vulva (the sexual organs on the outside) and the womb (uterus).

It’s where menstrual blood leaves the body, where the penis goes in during intercourse, and where a baby comes out when it's born.

Vagina close-up
© Love Matters

The vagina is a muscular passageway lined with mucous membranes – skin which produces moisture, like the inside of your mouth. This moisture acts as a lubricant for sex, making it more comfortable and pleasurable, and it protects against infections.

When you get sexually aroused, your vagina becomes wetter and relaxes. This allows you to fit a finger or penis into the vagina. Because the vagina is a muscle, it can tense up or relax, and you can have some control over it.

 

 

Vagina
© Love Matters

Feel for yourself

  • Squeeze and release your muscles when you are urinating. You can have some control over the speed and amount of urine. These muscles are the same ones used to tighten the vagina. You can also use them during sex.
  • Take a mirror and look at the opening of your vagina. Use your fingers to feel what your vagina is like.
  • Put a finger inside your vagina. The inside feels soft like the inside of your cheeks, and also feels a bit bumpy like the top of your mouth.
  • Stroke your vagina and clitoris. See what feels nice and makes you feel aroused. This is how you can have an orgasm. Female masturbation – sex on your own – is a good way to find out what you like. The better you know what turns you on, the easier you will find it to enjoy sex with another person.

Pelvic floor

The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles around your anus, vagina, and urethral opening, between your pubic bone and coccyx.

pelvic floor
© Love Matters

The pubic bone is the bone below your belly, just above your vagina. The coccyx, or tailbone, is the bottom of your backbone, just above your anus.

Feel for yourself

  • Tense and relax your pelvic floor muscles. One way to see what this feels like is to stop your urine in mid-flow. You do that by tensing your pelvic floor muscles.
  • You can feel the muscles around your vagina tense and relax with a finger. Put a finger inside your vagina, then squeeze the muscles around your vagina.

Womb

The womb, or uterus, is where a baby can grow in your belly. It's like a bag made of strong muscle, quite low down in your belly.

When you're not pregnant it varies between 7.5 and 10cm (3 and 4 inches) in length. It’s shaped like an upside-down pear.

The inner lining of the womb is where a fertilised egg can develop into a baby. To be able to hold the baby, the uterus can stretch to become as big as 31cm (12 inches) in length.

The womb is also where blood comes from when you have your period. If no fertilized egg fixes itself to the lining of the womb, the uterus sheds its lining and it comes out of the vagina as blood.

Cervix – feel for yourself

The cervix is the entrance to the womb. You can feel it yourself by putting a finger right inside your vagina. Your cervix is all the way at the end. It’s smooth and firm, like the tip of your nose.

You might have trouble reaching it if you’re aroused because then it moves up to make the vagina longer.

female reproductive system womb
© Love Matters

Ovaries

The ovaries are on either side of the womb. They produce egg cells and hormones called estrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen is the hormone that tells your body to change during puberty, so you develop breasts and become sexually mature.

Along with estrogen, progesterone makes the lining of the womb get thicker during menstruation and pregnancy.

ovaries
© Love Matters

Fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes, one on each side of the womb, join the ovaries to the womb. They carry unfertilised eggs from the ovaries to the womb.

fallopian tubes
© Love Matters

Egg cells

All girls are born with around 250,000 unfertilised eggs in their ovaries. That means the egg that might one day grow to become your son or daughter is already somewhere inside your ovaries when you are born! The eggs are the size of a very small pinhead.

Ovulation

When you reach puberty, hormones start signalling to the ovaries to release one unfertilised egg cell every month – roughly 28 days. This is called ovulation. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube.

If a sperm cell gets to the egg to fertilize it, it will fasten itself to the lining of the womb and start growing into a baby. If it isn’t fertilized, it will just come out of your vagina with the blood when you have your period.

Around the time of ovulation, you are at your most ‘fertile’ – able to get pregnant. This means five days before or one day after your ovulation.

Anus

The anus is the opening of your bowel – where the stool comes out. There are little hairs around the anus, often spreading between the buttocks.

The anus is a sensitive area, which is why some people include it in their lovemaking. You can stroke your partner’s anus when you make love, or your own when you masturbate. It can also feel nice if your anus is licked. Some people like having a penis or finger inside their anus. This is called anal sex.

Anus
© Love Matters

Infection

If you’re a woman, make sure you don’t touch your anus and then your vagina. If your partner is performing anal sex, make sure he knows not to take his penis out of your anus and put it straight into your vagina.

Bacteria from the bowel region can get into the vagina, causing a bladder infection or worse – a sexually transmitted infection.

Comments
Hi Nathan, Intercourse that lasts under 10 minutes but longer than two minutes is within the average. If one however ejaculates sooner than you wish or sooner than your partner wishes you maybe experiencing premature ejaculation. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/how-to-overcome-premature-ejaculation
Anonymous
Tue, 10/31/2017 - 12:05
Jane my man do sex more 30 min and I really gt tired he do say he is not done I feel pain he doesn't stop till he is done is that normal coz am about to quit
Hi Jane, Your partner may be experiencing what is know as delayed ejaculation which maybe caused by a number of issues like fear, stress or anxiety. It may also be a physical or medical issue. If it happens all the time. It is important to find out why this is happening so he can find a solution. You also need to talk about sex, sex should be pleasurable for both partners. Find a good time and talk about this so that together you can find a solution. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

Hi Dan,

There is nothing wrong with oral sex as long as you are both safe. Keep enjoying it.

 

Love matters Team.

Hi Ken, fingering your partner can stretch the hymen however breaking virginity has to do with having intercourse or penetrating the vagina with a penis. Check out this article;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/virginity/female-virginity-top-five-facts

Hi Freddie, First time sex can be painful for women because of the stretching of the Hymen during intercourse. If your partner is however well prepared by taking time in foreplay, the vagina will self lubricate which makes penetration easier, pleasurable and reduces the discomfort or pain. Do talk to your partner and let her know that it is possible for her to enjoy her first time with minimal pain.

Have a look at the following articles;- https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/virginity/female-virginity-top-five-facts

https://lovematters.co.ke/making-love/virginity/first-time-sex-top-five-facts

Wambo Alice
Thu, 06/28/2018 - 08:00
I have seen a lot of products in the market for breast firming and enlargement, butt enlargement and vagina tightening do they work? If they do, are there any product you can recommend for this? Thank you.

Hey Alice, there is no proof that these products work and for this reason there are no products for us to recommend for your use. The only way, for instance, to increase your breast size is to get plastic surgery. There maybe changes especially after delivery but partners can still enjoy sex even after a normal delivery. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/sex-after-pregnancy-myths-and-facts

Hey Salim, there are a number of body parts you can caress but what will lead to arousal for one person may be a turn off for another. It helps to talk to your partner to get to know what arouses them. Sex is better when you talk about it with your partner. Check out the following;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/foreplay-turning-up-the-heat

Am looking for a Lady who can enjoy sex with me,,am 28yrs from western but currently in Nairobi,,, if interested holla me thank you members
my man romance me well and i rumblucate well ready for sex,,but wen her penis come intorch with my virgina i jump nd lead for no sex,,i have never ejoyed sex wuth him even asingle day ,,he finger fuck me nd i ejoyed but th problem is her penis entrying my virgin,,wat can b the cause?

Hi Jayne, sorry about this. One of the causes of pain during sex dry sex. This doesn't seem to be the problem with you. The other reason maybe the presence of an infection in the vagina. Another reason is the position during sex. Often when you change the position and try different things it may help address the pain. The size of your partner's penis can also cause pain. It is important that you communicate during sex and also ensure that you are relaxed before penetration happens. Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/sex-problems-how-to-overcome-them/painful-sex-time-to-listen-up

Hey Tom, there are different activities you can do with your partner to get her in the mood. This is called foreplay and different people enjoy different things, and this is why it is important to talk about sex and get to know what your partner likes or enjoy. Do talk with your partner about this to get to know as you share your own preferences. Check out the following articles for more tips;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/foreplay-turning-up-the-heat

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/ways-to-make-love/talking-about-sex

Dan Kioko
Wed, 11/28/2018 - 14:57
I have started a new relationship with a girl who has big breast but she says she is a virgin. Some people say big breast come if someone has been having sex or when a girl has given birth how true is this?

Hi Dan, a person’s breasts in terms of their shape and size are determined by their genes and not whether they have had sex or not or whether they have given birth. The shape is also influenced by the surrounding muscles. The breast may also get bigger or smaller if you put on or lose weight. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/breasts

Hey Tony, dry sex can lead to discomfort and even pain particularly for your partner. It is arousal that causes the vagina to become wet or moist. Foreplay can help to get your girlfriend aroused. It is important that you spend sufficient time in foreplay to get your partner arouse and ready for intercourse. Talk with your girlfriend and get to know what get’s her aroused and spend more time on foreplay. You can also consider using lubricants to supplement this so you can both enjoy sex. Check out the following article for more tips;-

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/foreplay-dos-and-donts

https://lovemattersafrica.com/making-love/lubricant-top-five-facts

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