What Is Your Vulva? What Are The Parts Of A Vagina?

While most people use the word “vagina” as the dominant term for the whole genital area, it’s actually just part of the package. Learn everything you wanted to know about it and the vulva here!

Fact No. 1
Fact No. 2
Fact No. 3
Fact No. 4
The Quickie
4 minute read
read

Vagina? Vulva? They both start and end with the same letter, are in the same general region of the body, and are often confused—so what exactly is the difference between them?

While many people (mistakenly) use the words interchangeably, the vulva refers to the outside parts of the genital area that you can see. The vagina, on the other hand, is the canal-like structure on the inside of the body. While you can see the entrance of the vagina, the rest is hidden from view (unless you have the proper tools to peer inside!).

Parts Of The Vulva

For the sake of your and/or your partner’s pleasure (or general knowledge!), understanding the anatomy of the vulva is super important. So here’s the lowdown on what’s up down there:

Labia

First there are the outer labia or “lips,” where hair grows. Inside the outer labia is another set of labia called the inner labia. These labia feel and look different—they’re softer, wet, flexible, and hairless.

Labia come in a wide array of variations. Some people, for example, have prominent and plump outer labia, while others’ are much slimmer. And the outer labia may cover the inner labia completely, or the inner labia may be visible in-between. Inner labia may also extend beyond their outer labia, and this is totally normal.

While people often worry about the size, shape, and color of their inner labia, it’s important to know that they come in a wide array of variations and there’s no one “right” kind of labia.

While people often worry about the size, shape, and color of their inner labia, it’s important to know that there’s no one “correct” or “perfect” kind of labia.

Clitoris

The clitoris has a lot of nerve endings—8,000, to be precise—and is the main area of sexual sensation for people with vulvas. It can feel great to stimulate the clitoris with a finger, vibrator, or a partner’s tongue.

From the outside, the clitoris looks like an oval-shaped, pea-sized nub. This is the head or “glans” of the clitoris, and it is covered by a movable piece of protective skin called the clitoral hood. While the head of the clit is about the size of a pea, the whole clitoris is much bigger. Internally, the clit is about 3-4 inches long and stretches down either side of the vulva in a wishbone shape.

How Many Holes Are There?

There are three different holes in the genital area: the urethra, the vagina, and the anus. The urethra is the hole where urine comes out, and is located between the head of the clitoris and the vaginal opening. The vagina is located a little further back, between the urethra and the anus. The anus is the hole furthest to the back.

Vagina

The vagina is the canal-like structure nestled inside the labia. Not only does it create its own lubrication when it becomes sexually aroused, but it can expand to double its size during penetration.

Many people enjoy having their vaginas stimulated or penetrated with a finger, sex toy, or penis. The first third of the vagina is usually the most sensitive part, whereas deeper inside is less sensitive.

It, too, has a couple of notable parts:

  • G-Spot: The g-spot is a nexus of tissues that is sexually sensitive for some people. Located in the front wall of the vagina, the g-spot can feel like a spongy mound when touched. Many people enjoy a massage-like pressure on their g-spot from a finger, toy, or penis, although others find it just feels like they need to pee.
The clitoris has a lot of nerve endings and is the main area of sexual sensation for people with vulvas.
  • Cervix: At the very top of the vagina is the cervix, which feels like a rounded bump to the touch (kind of like the tip of your nose). The cervix is the end of the vagina and acts as a doorway to the uterus inside the body. For some people this is also a sexually enjoyable area, while for others it may not be pleasurable to touch.

Now that you’ve got all these different parts down, you’re a vulva pro!

Related Articles:

What Is A G-Spot?

How To Find The Clit

How To Use Lube

What Is The Clit?

What To Know About Having Sex For The First Time

How Do I Know When I’m Ready To Have Sex For The First Time?

References

Myths and facts

Setting the record straight.

No items found.

Perspectives

At O.school, we know that few things are one-size-fits-all. Read on for insights from Pleasure Professionals and other experts:

No items found.

Community voices

Check out what the O.school Community is buzzing about and send your questions and stories to submit@o.school.

Upcoming streams

Want more? Check out our live streams and on demand videos.

No related streams available.

View full calendar

Sex Ed Videos

Previously recorded streams we love.

Approaching Sex After Birth
Play
Video

Approaching Sex After Birth

Our bodies and sex lives change after childbirth. Pleasure Professional Lucia Pavone will break down the in's and out's of sex after birth and address anxieties about getting back into the sheets.

Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Pelvic Floor?
Play
Video

Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Pelvic Floor?

This video discusses issues regarding the pelvic floor, your sexual health and experience, and everything in between!

Are You CLITerate?
Play
Video

Are You CLITerate?

Did you know the clitoris has 4 “legs” and as much erectile tissue as the penis? Take a tour of the magical clit + toys to make it happy.

Video transcript

And then here, the gold and pink satiny bits represent the inner labia. So for some people, this can be an area of insecurity about the appearance of their vulva. When people express concerns about the appearance of their vulva, I most commonly hear those concerns related to the appearance of the inner labia. So there's quite a lot of, I guess, mainstream expectation or imagery that suggest that the inner labia should be quite petite and symmetrical, same color, relatively discreet. But actually, there's lots of variation. They could be like that or they could be quite prominent, extending beyond the outer labia. They could also be different sizes or different colors, slightly different shapes, all sorts of things. So there's lots of variation with this part of the body here, too.