The vulva is simply what everyone refers to when they use the term 'vagina'.
Read the 8 basic vulva facts that everyone should know below.
L’Origine du monde, 1866, by Gustave Courbet at the Musee d’Orsay
The vulva is the external part of the female genitalia. When people draw a 'vagina' or talk about a 'vagina', they actually are drawing and talking about the VULVA.
The vulva is home to the outer and inner ‘lips’ of the vulva. These are called the labia majora, and labia minora.
The quick anatomy: between the lips down the centre you will find the actual vagina, the tissue that surrounds the vagina opening called the vestibule, the urethra (a small orifice that sits above the vagina, not near the clitoris tip, a common misconception), and the tip of the clitoris at the top of the two lips below the pubis bone.
“We know that a lot of adult women don’t know the correct terminology or details about their genitalia,” says Dr. Beth Schwartz, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, Pennsylvania, US.
“I can’t think of anywhere else on the body where that is true. Imagine someone not knowing the difference between their eyebrow and eyeball. It’s kind of the same thing.”
“I think it’s because we don’t talk about female genitals or sex enough,” explains Dr. Schwartz.
“We learn that ‘boys have penises and girls have vaginas’ but don’t talk about it more. And yet boys know the difference between the penis, scrotum, and testicles from a young age. Why should girls be different? We should absolutely call things by the correct names because they are made of different tissues and have different functions and problems.”
The vulva is the centre for sexual response and should be where the focus lies when it comes to pleasuring.
The vagina, on the other hand, only has a limited number of nerve endings. To create pleasure here, target the g-spot which is located on the top vaginal wall, just a few inches inside. The clitoris bulb also extends down and straddles the vagina tunnel which means any motions that go round and round will be pressing into the clitoris bulb and creating pleasure.
The clitoral tip is the little pearl that sits at the top of the vulva and is larger than you think. Behind the labia and inside the body, the clitoris is shaped like an upside-down wishbone, with a clitoral body branching out to form a V shape.
Vulvas come in all different shapes and sizes. This is important to talk about and normalise as unlike the penis, vulvas are not always seen.
Wall of Vulvas by Jamie McCartney
Vulva's can be a pain point in self-confidence for many young females. The rise in plastic surgery on the labia has gone up 70%, encouraged by the unrealistic body pictures that pornography creates.