The vulva is everything you see on the outside. This includes: the pubic hair, outer labia, inner labia, clitoris, clitoral hood, and vaginal opening. Colloquially, this part is known as the vagina but it’s proper name is the vulva (vuhl-vah).
In the diagram shown above, the girl is laying down with her legs and vaginal lips spread apart. When your legs are together, your vaginal opening is hidden between your outer and inner labia.
Let’s start our tour, starting at the top and working our way towards the vaginal opening.
This is a close up view of the vulva. I know it looks like there are a lot of parts but I promise it’s not as confusing as it looks! Let’s go through each part in detail starting with the outer labia.
Do you see how your outer labia opens to reveal your vulva and closes to hide everything when you put your legs together? That’s the purpose of the outer labia, to conceal and protect the vaginal opening.
Inner labia come in a huge variation of sizes, shape, asymmetry, and colour. Just think of how many different looking sets of eyes we see from person to person. There are as many different looking inner labia as there are different looking eyes.
Some inner labia are long and flappy, some stick out, and some are hidden inside the outer labia. Some are longer and some are shorter. They are all completely normal so don’t worry if yours doesn’t look like the diagram. (That’s like saying your face doesn’t look like this :-) smiley face!)
Your vaginal opening may not look like an open hole like it is in this diagram. That’s because the vaginal opening isn’t just an open hole you can see. Think of your vaginal canal as a flattened muscular tube that can stretch to open up.
When you look at your vaginal opening, it probably looks like there is something blocking the opening. Your vaginal opening leads to the vaginal canal and what you see blocking your opening is just your vaginal canal in its relaxed state.
If you’re having trouble finding your vaginal opening, follow our tutorial: How to find your vaginal opening.
The hymen can be torn by intercourse, exercise, self-exploration, and tampon insertion. But because the hymen is also capable of stretching so it can even remain in tact after the first instance of intercourse.
In many cultures, an intact or unbroken hymen is considered evidence of virginity. Since there are many activities that can tear your hymen, a torn hymen doesn’t mean you’ve lost your virginity. The only way to lose your virginity is to have sex.
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