Know Thyself: Vaginal Topography

Don’t know the difference between a vagina and a vulva? When you get down there for a little bit of fun with your vibrator, does it all just seem like a giant mess of whosits and whatsits? Here’s a quick guide on the layout of the vagina, including its most important bits and how to keep them happy in the bedroom, whether you’re exploring alone or with a partner.

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The Vulva

All that hair and skin? That’s not your vagina. That’s your vulva, and there’s been a recent resurgence from women everywhere trying to reclaim and properly label the word.

Let’s start with the hair. Within the past few decades, shaving your pubes off has become a pretty big trend. We see posts online all the time of young girls asking if it’s alright to go unshaven in front of their boyfriends for the first time. And it totally is!

While your man may have a preference, your ladyhairs actually serve an important purpose. Just like your nose hairs, your pubic hair is an added layer of protection to keep unwanted bacteria out of your vagina. The jury is out on how much it helps you keep a healthy flora down there, and for every woman, it’s going to be different anyway, so don’t be afraid to give yourself a trim.

The vulva can be stimulated sexually, or you can stimulate the clitoris through the vulva. One fun way to do this is to position your partner’s leg so that their knee is putting slight pressure on your vulva. You can rub or hump their knee, or have them gently grind their knee against your vulva. This can also be done with the hand or an adult toy.

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Labia Majora

If you’re looking at your vulva in the mirror, you’ll notice your lips. I mean, those lips. Down there. That’s called the labia, and the ones on the outside are called the labia majora.

Now, if you’ve ever watched porn, this is the time when you might not be feeling so confident about your downstairs. Porn labias are very, well, peachy. They all tend to kind of fit the same mold, and, in fat, many porn stars will get labiaplasty to ensure their genitals stay the status quo.

But if your labia looks a little different–maybe it’s darker, or bigger, or smaller, or whatever– don’t sweat it. They’re all different. In fact, this artist took plaster molds of vaginas from all over the world to prove that we’re all equally different and equally sexy.

Your labia majora has fewer nerve endings than your clitoris, but like the vulva it can still be rubbed or stimulated much like the vulva. Both labias can also change dramatically during sex– by swelling and/or becoming a darker color as blood rushes to your genitals.

Labia Minora

Parting the outer labia will show you the inner labia, or the labia minora. The minora doesn’t have hair like the majora. It’s also more sensitive and it has more nerve endings.

The inner labia is the home to a couple glands called Bartholin’s glands. Don’t go looking for them though– they’re microscopic. When you start to feel aroused, these glands are responsible for getting you slick for sex, although– and once again, the jury is still out on this–they are probably not the same glands responsible for squirting.

Like their majora counter parts, labia minoras can also look very different from person to person. Some ladies barely have them, while some have big ones. Sometimes, they’re so big that they peek out from underneath the major. There’s no ideal labia majora, apart from a healthy one, so don’t feel ashamed if yours looks a little different than the ones you’ve seen.

As I mentioned before, the minora is extremely sensitive when compared to the majora and the vulva. Stroking it gently will help you get excited– don’t beat it like it owes you money. Even using the tip of a vibrator against them, or teasing them with your fingers can get your clitoris excited before heavier petting starts.

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Clitoris

Personally speaking, the clitoris is the coolest organ in the body. Want to know why? It’s the only organ in the human body, male or female, that is explicitly for pleasure. So, to all those old, silly notions that say that only men can enjoy sex– beat it. Ladies, our bodies were made to enjoy sex.

The clitoris has over 8,000 nerve endings in it. That’s why it feels so awesome whenever you touch it– or for some women, whenever you even think about touching it.

Also, the clitoris is not just that little nub that you know and can feel. A recent study found that the clitoris actually wraps in and around your vaginal canal, and extends to various parts of your body. That may be why clitoral orgasms make you feel good all over. The science of the clitoris is one that’s not completely understood yet, but one thing anyone can understand is how awesome a clitoral orgasm is.

If you’re new to the wonderland that is the clitoral orgasm, here’s some quick tips on how to maximize your pleasure, or your partners. Start with just a finger and just rub that rub up and down in the way that feels best. Sometimes, inserting a toy into your vaginal canal can help encourage an orgasm to rear its beautiful head a little quicker. Cunnilingus is also a powerful tool for the clitoris. If you’re new to the world of eating pussy, make sure to be safe. Wear a dental dam.

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Hope you’ve got a Lixx under there, George.

In terms of both cunnilingus and fingering, clitoral orgasms are fickle creatures. What might be strong enough to send one lady gushing might barely feel like a gentle breeze to another. Sometimes, what one person might find pleasurable can be painful to another, so make sure to ask how things are going.

There are also plenty of toys out there for clitoral stimulation. Rabbit vibrators, like our Decadent Indulgence line, have a special, ‘ear,’ that’s used to stimulate the clit while still going into the vaginal canal.

Vagina

So, now that you know that that thing we like to call the vagina is actually a combination of the vulva, labia, and clitoris, what is the actual vagina? It ain’t the thing you pee out of– that’s your urethra, and it’s an entirely different hole that comes from your bladder. The vagina is canal that leads to your cervix and uterus. The vagina’s main purpose? To serve as a place for a man to deposit his sperm, and then bring the sperm up into the uterus and get it in contact with an egg.

Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Well, many women do report that they can have vaginal orgasms– although they are certainly more elusive than clitoral orgasms. If you can’t have one– there’s nothing wrong with you. It may just take time to figure out your downstairs geography.

One thing that might help you– I talked above about how the clitoris sort of wraps around the vaginal canal. A little clitoral stimulation can help get things moving.

My partner and I have had luck with one move in particular– which I like to call The Thing. As in, “Oh, oh, yes! You’re doing The Thing!”  While you are being penetrated, either with a penis or a toy, have your partner rub your clitoris with their thumb in a circular motion. You can do this yourself, but having a partner do it to you can help you focus better on riding out your orgasm. You can also try this with a clitoral vibrator, like our crazy popular AcuVibe.

There’s an old school of thought that seems to think that vaginal orgasms (or even just orgasms that happen when a penis is inside of a vagina) are superior and the only orgasms worth having. Any woman who has had a clitoral orgasm will tell you just how wrong you are. All orgasms are powerful and awesome in their own way. It’s just about finding what works best for you.

12 thoughts on “Know Thyself: Vaginal Topography

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