Image Caption : Female Genitalia Cross Section Showing Erect Clitoris: 3D visualization of a cross-section of the female genitalia reconstructed from scanned human data. Revealed are structures such as the mons pubis, the fatty eminence anterior to the pubic symphysis formed by the blending of the labia majora anteriorly. Enclosed within the labia majora are the labia minora which are thin skin folds which contain sebaceous glands. Superior to the labia majora is the clitoris, the main erectile organ in the female. The pea sized clitoris has one purpose only -- excitation - the product of extraordinary bioelectrics. It contains 8,000 nerve endings, twice as many as the penis and the most of any external structure in the body including fingers, lips and tongue. As in the penis, blood flows to the corpora cavernosa of the clitoris during an erection. However, unlike the penis, it contains no venous plexus to suspend the blood within, allowing it to distend and relax with ease to allow for multiple orgasms.
An erectile structure homologous with the penis, situated beneath the anterior labial commissure, partially hidden between the anterior ends of the labia minora.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
The external genitalia are the accessory structures of the female reproductive system that are external to the vagina. They are also referred to as the vulva or pudendum. The external genitalia include the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, and glands within the vestibule.
The clitoris is an erectile organ, similar to the male penis, that responds to sexual stimulation. Posterior to the clitoris, the urethra, vagina, paraurethral glands and greater vestibular glands open into the vestibule.
External Female Genitals
The external female reproductive structures are referred to collectively as the vulva (Figure). The mons pubis is a pad of fat that is located at the anterior, over the pubic bone. After puberty, it becomes covered in pubic hair. The labia majora (labia = "lips"; majora = "larger") are folds of hair-covered skin that begin just posterior to the mons pubis. The thinner and more pigmented labia minora(labia = "lips"; minora = "smaller") extend medial to the labia majora. Although they naturally vary in shape and size from woman to woman, the labia minora serve to protect the female urethra and the entrance to the female reproductive tract.
The superior, anterior portions of the labia minora come together to encircle the clitoris (or glans clitoris), an organ that originates from the same cells as the glans penis and has abundant nerves that make it important in sexual sensation and orgasm. The hymen is a thin membrane that sometimes partially covers the entrance to the vagina. An intact hymen cannot be used as an indication of "virginity"; even at birth, this is only a partial membrane, as menstrual fluid and other secretions must be able to exit the body, regardless of penile-vaginal intercourse. The vaginal opening is located between the opening of the urethra and the anus. It is flanked by outlets to the Bartholin's glands (or greater vestibular glands).
The external female genitalia are referred to collectively as the vulva.
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