FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
Humor us for a sec:
If the average woman had a Facebook page for her private parts (we know, shut up), odds are her relationship status would be "it's complicated," and she'd desperately need to post a profile picture. After all, new research from the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University suggests that she hasn't checked herself out much–only 26 percent of women look closely at their lady bits. Hey, we get it. Guys have it so much easier. Their junk is hanging out there, just waiting to be experienced. Most of our parts are internal, so we can't exactly see what we're working with.
Well, here's some incentive to change all that: The more you make your vagina your business, the more pleasure you'll experience. In a separate study published in the International Journal of Sexual Health, scientists found that women who had a positive view of their genitals were more comfortable in their skin, more apt to orgasm, and more likely to experiment in bed. Ding-ding-ding rings the pleasure bell! In fact, just looking at your goodies can be a turn-on. "Research shows that seeing signs of sex helps inspire arousal and lubrication," says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a research scientist at Indiana University and the author of Because It Feels Good. So allow us to scroll down there, if you will, for a better view. Oh, and when we're done, you might want to update your status.
To start, let's clear up one of the biggest misconceptions about the vagina. It's not the entire genital area. If you're standing naked in front of a full-length mirror, you're actually seeing your vulva, the exterior portion of your privates, which was covered in hair before your aesthetician went hog wild with the wax and muslin.
Think of your privates as an award-winning cast: You have your supporting actors (the vulva) and your marquee stars (the clitoris and G-spot). Every part is there to entertain your sexual needs, but to milk the best performance out of each one, you have to show them all a little love and attention. So lock the bedroom door, kick off your shoes, and grab a hand mirror.
Without even spreading your legs, you'll see your pubic mound and two folds of skin called the labia majora (the outer lips). Both contain layers of fatty tissue that protect your clitoris and vagina. While pleasure reception is typically weak in this area, manual play can help increase the signal. "Rubbing the pubic mound and outer lips readies the clitoris for stimulation," says Herbenick.
Now, if you gently push apart the outer lips, you'll reveal a thinner set of lips called the labia minora. These hairless babies are loaded with blood vessels, nerve endings, and secreting glands. "To the naked eye, the glands may look like tiny bumps," says Diana Hoppe, M.D., author of Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You. "They release secretions that actually help to separate your lips for easier penetration."
But they're not the only things lubing up your nether regions. When you spread the labia minora apart, you'll encounter Bartholin's glands (which are microscopic, so you can't actually see them with the naked eye) on each side of your vaginal opening. As you become aroused, these glands lubricate the outer portion of the vaginal canal. They typically release only a small amount of moisture, which is why so many women need plenty of foreplay to stay wet.