So, are you confused about where the sperm meets your eggs? When someone tried to explain how a contraceptive worked & you couldn’t wrap your head around certain body parts they were talking about? We understand how difficult it can be to know your body & what it does when biology is something you hated or that our schools do not provide comprehensive sexual education! In this article, we have tried to simplify the female genitalia, reproductive system and what it does. Read ahead, so you can flex your knowledge!
The Female Reproductive parts can be divided into two viz internal and external:
1. The External Reproductive Parts:
- Labia Majora: These are relatively large protective tissue folds that prevent the other external genitalia from getting infected. It can be compared to the scrotum found in the male genitalia. After puberty, this area can be covered by hair. They also contain sweat and oil-secreting glands.
- Labia Minora: These lie underneath the labia majora and cover the vaginal opening & urethral opening. These contain a rich supply of blood and can be stimulated resulting in intense sexual arousal.
- Clitoris: It is a highly sensitive part of the female genitalia comparable to penis in males. It can become erect when aroused. Clitoris or more commonly known as the clit, is found at the upper end where the two labia minora meet. It is stimulating this region that can produce orgasms. So, make sure you find that clit.
- Bartholin Glands: These glands are located besides the vaginal opening for the secretion of lubrication during sexual intercourse.
- Hymen: It’s a muscular tissue that surrounds the vaginal opening. It is just residue tissue depending on how the vagina is formed during the development. There is a myth that the hymen breaks during the first vaginal penetration, giving some kind of proof if the person is a virgin or not. However, that is not true in all cases. Some women may experience slight bleeding due to the hymen being torn during first sexual intercourse. Some women may not experience this at all. Virgin or not, all women are beautiful and have a right to seek sexual pleasure!
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2. The Internal Reproductive Parts
In the diagram above, we have tried showing the major reproductive parts which are inside your body (internal). Their functions are as follows:
- Vagina: This part is often confused to be an external part. However, what you see is just the vaginal opening. Vagina actually consists of a canal (also known as the birth canal) and joins the cervix (lower part of the uterus) to the outside of the body. The vagina is where the penis is inserted during sexual intercourse, where a baby passes through from the uterus during childbirth and also the passage for menstrual flow.
- Cervix: It acts as a gateway between the uterus and the vagina. Its main function is the passage of the sperm to the upper reproductive parts of the body and for the menstrual blood to flow outwards. It plays a major role in protecting your internal parts from bacteria invasions.
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- Uterus: This part is also called the womb. This is where a fertilized egg plants itself and gets it nourishment. The fetus is developed inside the uterus to become a full-grown baby. This organ can stretch as much as to accommodate the growing baby. It is here that IUD (intrauterine device) is inserted by your doctor which works as a contraceptive.
- Ovaries: This is where your eggs (ova) are produced and stored. It is also responsible for producing female hormones. Ovaries are situated on either side of the uterus. During the ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, eggs are released from the ovaries to the fallopian tubes.
- Fallopian Tubes (uterine tubes): These are narrow tubes attached to the upper part of the uterus. They serve as a pathway for the eggs to travel down to the uterus. It is inside these tubes that the sperm has to fertilize the egg. During the female sterilization procedure known as tubectomy, these tubes are blocked so that they prevent the egg from travelling down to the uterus.
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- Fimbriae: These are fingerlike projections that help in capturing the eggs from the ovary.
- Endometrium: It is the inner tissue layer of the uterus playing an important part in the pregnancy and menstrual cycle. After the egg is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, even this layer goes through changes. It becomes thicker and enriched with blood so that the fertilized egg can implant itself. If there is no fertilization, this layer will shed and this forms your period blood. Hormonal birth control works on this principle. Those contraceptives prevent the endometrium to go through these changes making the environment of the uterus hostile for the fertilized egg to develop. Young girls who don’t have periods and women going through menopause also don’t go through these changes.
- Myometrium: It is located between the endometrium and outer layer of the uterine layer. This layer increases in size and number during pregnancy for the uterus to stretch as and when the fetus develops. This is the layer that contracts during the process of labor and finally expels the placenta (temporary organ formed for the nourishment of the baby) helping in the vaginal delivery process.
Awareness is the first step for everything. You need to know your body because your body belongs to you. Be it sexual health, sexual pleasure, menstrual health, overall health, when you know your body, you will have greater power to identify what works for you and what does not. Also, you will no longer be ignorant when your body gives you signs that something is just not right. So listen to your body!
[If you have any other questions or doubts about periods, pregnancy, abortion, or your sexuality, please talk to us. We will immediately help you. Talk to us by clicking on this Whatsapp chat button:
About the Author: Vidhi Gada
She is a 4th-year law student from ILS Law College, Pune, who firmly believes the law can be used as a weapon of change in our country and thus began her journey in the field of law. Apart from trying her best to be updated with all the legislations, her interests lie in Human Rights & Intellectual Property Rights. The best way to connect with her is to suggest a song that sets her mood and also, dogs. No! Kidding, she loves all the animals! She really likes dancing, writing and making puns!
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