Female Sexuality Facts
Facts, Theories, And Information on Female
[ External Sexual Anatomy Of Women ]
The Internal Sexual Organs
Women's internal genitals are described as follows: the hymen, the thin piece of tissue that partly blocks the entrance to the vagina; Bartholin's glands, on each side of the labia minora, which secrete fluid when a woman is sexually aroused; the urethra, the urine passageway; the vagina, the passage that leads from the vulva to the cervix, otherwise known as the neck of the womb; then there is the womb or uterus, in which a fertilized egg can grow into a fully developed baby prior to birth; if an egg is not fertilized, the lining of the womb will be shed in the process called menstruation.
If the uterus should become diseased it may have to be removed in the operation known as hysterectomy. At the upper end of the uterus are the two Fallopian tubes, along which the woman's eggs pass and where they meet a man's sperm; the eggs are stored in the ovaries, of which there are two.
Just inside the opening to the vagina is the hymen or maidenhead, a thin piece of tissue which partly covers the opening to the vagina in women who have not yet had sex or in whom it has not been broken in some other way (e.g. during masturbation or during the insertion of tampons). Traditionally, the hymen would be broken during first intercourse.
It has been regarded as yet another way in which men have assumed ownership of a woman's sexuality - the wedding night being the time when the hymen was traditionally broken, and the woman lost her virginity, regardless of how many times a man had had sex before marriage.
It varies in size and shape from woman to woman.
The hymen does not cover the entire vaginal opening, since there must be a hole to allow the menstrual flow, or period, to leave the body.
The hymen can be separated when the body is stretched strenuously, as in exercise or sports; it can be separated during intercourse or by inserting a tampon during menstruation, and sometimes it is separated for no apparent reason. A separated hymen is not an indication of having had intercourse, nor can it prove a loss of virginity.
As a matter of fact, some women have to have the hymen removed surgically (in a hymenectomy) because it is so flexible, or tough, or small that it remains intact during attempted intercourse.
When the hymen is separated, whether during first sexual intercourse or at some other time, there may be some slight bleeding and a little pain. Both the bleeding and the pain are quite normal and both will stop after a short time. For some women this can occur with no discomfort at all.
Sometimes a woman may be nervous about intercourse, especially the first time, and this tension can produce more discomfort than the separation of the hymen.
Also, men who are clumsy or rough while having intercourse, or who try to penetrate the vagina before it is lubricated and ready for the penis, can cause pain too. Usually, however, the excitement of building up to intercourse takes care of the problem, and the woman feels minimal discomfort during first intercourse even if her hymen has not previously been separated.
It is important to remember that a woman can become pregnant even if her hymen is intact and no penis has entered the vagina. If sperm comes in contact with the labia or the general vaginal area, it can move through the opening in the hymen, pass into the vagina and possibly lead to a pregnancy.
Sometimes a woman wants to use her fingers to stretch (dilate) the hymen so it will present less difficulty during sexual intercourse. This kind of advice is very valuable and can result in more pleasant, painless first intercourse.
A woman learns about her hymen in many ways but rarely from parents, physicians or informed adults in a supportive and sensitive manner.
Breaking of the tissue is also seen in hiatal hernia of the stomach / esophageal junction. This is a hiatal hernia, and treatment can be tricky, though many home remedies are available.
Rather, women learn about the hymen in ways that promote anxiety and uncertainty about their own bodies and their behavior.
The principal message women generally get about the hymen is that it really serves no known medical purpose, but while it remains intact it indicates that they are still virgins.
If the hymen is separated before marriage they are taught to believe it will be taken as evidence of sexual activity.
This is not only unfair, but sometimes damaging too.
A woman whose hymen has separated through work, athletics, or for no apparent reason at all can become intensely anxious about having sex intercourse for the first time.
She can become deeply disturbed at the thought that the man will think she is not telling the truth when she says that she has never had sex before.
Should she tell him first? Will he believe her if she does? Is it better to hope he won't notice? Will he accuse her of sleeping around and so ruin what may be a very important act of giving on her part?
Another common distortion of the facts that is also damaging is that separation of the hymen (if in fact it is there) by a penis is going to cause a lot of pain and some bleeding too.
A woman may want very much to have intercourse with a man yet be afraid to do so. When she does have intercourse for the first time, she is tense and awkward, not free to respond fully.
Few women suffer much pain or inconvenience when they first have sex; and if that fact were generally known, far fewer women would be apprehensive and far more would be able to express themselves freely.
The old notion that the hymen existed so that a woman should suffer when she first had intercourse follows from the idea that sexual intercourse itself is wrong, evil or sinful. But it is a scientific fact that the hymen is often separated for reasons quite unconnected with sexual intercourse.
No association of an intact hymen and virginity has any factual basis, nor can there be any evidence that a separated hymen means a loss of virginity. Only when these facts are accepted will many women be freed from the seriously negative effects of popular mythology.
In many cultures throughout the world there has been, and continues to be, a great importance placed upon virginity: that is, not having sexual intercourse until marriage.
A way of proving that a girl was a virgin until her marriage was to show the marriage guests or family members the blood-stained bed sheets the couple used on their first night together.
If her hymen had been in place, it would have been penetrated by her new husband and she would have bled. That, at least, was the theory.
Obviously, if the woman did not have her hymen in place, either because of prior intercourse or for other reasons, this tradition could present problems.
The bed sheets still had to be stained with a little blood - usually a hen's blood - to keep everyone happy. This custom has never been widespread in North America, but retaining virginity until marriage is still quite important to many people (mostly men).
Some men look for virginity in women with whom they desire to establish a relationship, while at the same time they continue to have sex with other women where a relationship is unimportant. This is commonly known as the double standard of behavior.
On each side of the labia minora (inner lips) are Bartholin's glands. These glands have outlets very close to the vaginal opening and produce a drop or two of fluid when a woman is sexually aroused.
This small amount of fluid was thought to be important for lubricating the vagina, but the research of Masters and Johnson proved that vaginal lubrication comes from further up the vagina, so Bartholin's glands are not about sexual lubrication.
The urethra is the short tube connected at one end to the bladder and opening at the other in the vestibule. It is the passageway for the elimination of urine from the bladder. Its opening is between the clitoris and the vaginal opening.
Many women find that they must urinate immediately after having intercourse with my husband. Sometimes they even feel they are going to urinate during intercourse.
This can be dealt with by urinating before intercourse so the bladder will be empty, then the indirect pressure of the penis on the bladder will not trigger the need to urinate during intercourse.
A lot of people - men as well as women - find they want to urinate right after intercourse; this is because intercourse can irritate the urethra and the bladder very slightly.
The reality of sex for many couples is that intercourse is spoiled by rapid ejaculation. The easiest way to deal with this is for the man to take a course in how to prevent premature ejaculation.
Cystitis is the general name given to irritation, inflammation or infection of the bladder. The chief signs are painful, burning and frequent urination. Cystitis is not an STI. Cystitis is caused by bacteria that invade the bladder and may get into the urethra during intercourse, especially if the amount of sexual activity increases sharply, as it might on a honeymoon.
You don't, however, have to have sex to get cystitis, but intercourse often aggravates it. Cystitis may disappear on its own, or it may require a specific antibiotic treatment. Urinating after sex and drinking large amounts of fluid (especially citric juices) to cause a heavy urine flow are also helpful in avoiding the disease.
If a woman contracts cystitis, soaking in a hot tub has also been found to help, as can avoiding alcohol, soda and coffee, since they irritate the bladder. Medical evaluation and treatment is the best way to deal with the onset of cystitis.
Many women get cystitis at some point in their lives and some have it more than once. It is painful and it must be treated, but usually the cure is simple and speedy. If the problem is a yeast infection, a cure is also needed as this may be passed back and forth between sexual partners.
Home remedies for yeast infection are a good solution as they avoid the side effects of prescription meds. According to Huffington Post: "Sex can also cause micro-trauma -- even when it feels great. A normal, enjoyable bout of sex can still result in small scrapes or tears to the internal tissue... ...Unfortunately for us, thatís why women are so much more likely than straight men to get STIs." And that includes yeast infections.
As a woman ages and passes through menopause, it is common for her to feel more irritation to the bladder and urethral area during and after intercourse.
The reduction of estrogen that comes with the menopause causes the tissue to thin out in and around the vagina, resulting in less cushioning during intercourse. This may lead to an urge to urinate during or after intercourse.
The situation is a common one and is not serious. Urinating before intercourse helps, and so does lubricating the vagina.
There has been, and continues to be, a controversy over an alleged difference between orgasm produced by stimulation of the clitoris alone and orgasm produced with a penis in the vagina. Freud believed, and many of his followers continue to believe, that it is appropriate for a young girl to fondle her clitoris and so achieve sexual pleasure and orgasm.
But, they said, in order for her to mature as a woman she should come to accept and prefer orgasm induced by a penis in the vagina - "vaginal orgasm." If she fails to make this transfer, her psychosexual development is arrested.
Freud and his followers therefore placed a strong positive value on "vaginal" orgasm, and a negative one (except for adolescents) on "clitoral" orgasm. Jason Julius has explained the difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasm very clearly in recent years.
The vagina begins on the outside at the vaginal opening and ends inside at the cervix or neck of the womb. The vagina varies in size from woman to woman, but is usually three to five inches long. It is shaped like a flattened tube, the walls of which touch each other. The walls of the vagina are not smooth - they contain folds or wrinkles throughout.
You can see pictures of the vagina here. The vagina has enormous powers of expansion and contraction. For example, it widens during the birth process, and during sexual intercourse - it can adjust to any size of penis.
During sexual excitement the vagina responds almost immediately to pleasurable stimulation. In a matter of a few seconds droplets of fluid appear along its walls.
As sexual excitement continues, these beads or droplets join together and cover the sides of the vagina completely. When a woman is sexually excited blood vessels in the walls of the vagina quickly become swollen with blood.
This engorgement continues, and as it does so the blood vessels press against the tissue in that area, forcing natural lubrication fluid through the walls of the vagina.
The fluid is not only a sign of sexual arousal but serves as the best of all lubricants for sex, for it is natural, delightful to the man, and confirmation for the woman of her sexual power. Without such lube she would find penetration painful.
The vagina is a self-cleansing part of the body, and does not require special attention to be kept clean. The internal walls of the vagina itself around the G spot have a great supply of nerves and are sensitive.
The innermost two-thirds of the vagina are more responsive to pressure than to touch, whereas the outer one-third, especially around the vaginal opening, has many more nerves and is much more sensitive to touch. This is the location of the G spot.
Q: "The amount of lubrication I produce varies so much. Why is this?"
A: "The natural result of sexual excitement is the formation of fluid on the walls of the vagina. If you decide to go on and have intercourse you need this fluid to allow your partner's penis to enter and thrust easily.
The amount of fluid produced by the vagina and the area surrounding it varies according to your feelings about what is happening at the time, whether you are alone or with someone else and how that makes you feel, and, of course, your general physical health and well being.
Usually, your vagina will produce enough fluid to meet your needs and expectations, with some normal variations occurring from time to time. Having a little more or a little less vaginal fluid need not be seen as problem, nor should it interfere with your sexual activity.
If occasionally you get hardly any wetness, and that is painful and embarrassing, the cause may be physical, emotional, or some combination of the two.
Physically, for example, you may have a hormonal problem, or an infection or cyst in the vagina that will cause pain during intercourse.
Get qualified medical treatment. It is unlikely to be a difficult matter to cure. Sometimes a woman who is using a birth control pill that is high in progesterone can find she has less vaginal lubrication, but this can be taken care of easily by her doctor. Then there are emotional causes.
Sometimes, too little uterus vaginal lubrication can be caused by your emotional problems or your anxieties about your relationship with your partner. In these cases, your feelings block the natural physical responses and your body gives you a message about how you are feeling about yourself and your situation.
Many people suffer this kind of emotional block on their physical response at some time or other. It mirrors a man failing to get an erection from time to time even though he apparently wants intercourse. in fact his body may be telling him what he really feels about the situation!
You may be able to deal with the situation on your own, but both women and men often benefit from talking with a qualified person who can help them understand their feelings and so ease the block.
If you can ease it by talking with your partner, so much the better. Remember that lubrication gradually decreases as you get older, but that is a natural physical condition which doesn't indicate any physical or psychological problem."
Q: "My husband says my vagina has gotten bigger. Can that happen, and what can we do about it?"
A: "Sometimes after childbirth, and particularly after the birth of several children over a short period, the vagina may lose some of its muscle tone, loosen a bit, and feel larger. You can feel it too, as well as your husband. Therefore, during intercourse he may not contact the walls of the vagina and he may feel that he is slipping out.
Also, you may not feel pleasure from the penis making contact with the walls of the vagina. In this situation try varying the best sex positions for intercourse to those which lead to more penis-vagina contact.
Also, there are specific exercises you can do to strengthen and tighten up the muscles around the vagina and improve tone and feeling. These exercises, called Kegel Exercises after the physician who first prescribed them, require the woman to contract the muscles necessary to stop the urine flow.
You hold the contraction for three to five seconds and do that ten times in a series. The series is usually repeated several times a day. You can also do these exercises during intercourse, contracting the vaginal muscles around the penis. Both of you can then feel the progress being made.
Plastic surgery to tighten the vagina is the last resort, to be used only when all else has failed. Several opinions from qualified medical and sexuality professionals should be obtained before going ahead with the operation."
Q: "I was told that my vagina has a strong odor. I don't want sex to be a turn-off. What can I do?"
A: "Most people have a personal odor on all parts of their body, especially on their genitals, since those areas are not usually exposed to fresh air. Some women have a strong genital odor natural to them and which is not a sign of poor cleanliness. And if there is a scent, it may be an enjoyable turn-on as well.
owever, a strong genital odor resulting from poor personal cleanliness can be taken care of by washing the vulva daily with soap and water.
Feminine hygiene sprays are not, on the whole, helpful; they are, in fact, quite likely to cause allergic irritation. Sometimes strong vaginal odors are caused by irritations and infections that produce a smelly vaginal discharge. Usually these conditions do not go away by themselves, and medical treatment is required to clear them up. Once cared for, the discharge and the odor will disappear.
Remember, also, that strong genital odors may not repel, and can be attractive to some people during lovemaking and oral sex positions."
Q "What is a douche and why is it used?"
A: "Douching is flushing out the vagina with water or a special solution. The douche itself is a rubber pouch with a tube coming out one end. You fill the pouch with fluid, put the tube in the vagina and squeeze the pouch to make the fluid squirt out of the tube into the vagina. Why is it used?
The vagina is a self-cleaning part of the body. Therefore, unless medically prescribed, douching is not necessary. As a matter of fact, the regular use of douches, especially those advertised as containing special cosmetic ingredients and flavors, can rob the vagina of its natural protection and balance and may lead to irritation and infection.
There was a time when the douche was used to clean out the uterus after sex, so as to remove the man's ejaculation from the vaginal canal, but this is not considered necessary as the vagina has a natural self-cleaning action."