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May 20, 2019 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

An Overdue Lesson in Anatomy

I don’t know about you, but my sex education was garbage. In my backwards, patriarchal education, I didn’t learn about basic health and safety measures. And I definitely didn’t learn about female anatomy.


A UK study from February of this year found that 52% of people couldn’t locate the vagina. Of the women in the study, only 49% knew where to find it. People are wildly confused about which hole does what.


A kōrero with a few of my friends revealed that this lack of education extends to NZ.


One of my friends went to a Catholic school. Many others had one or two lessons on sex education as part of PE or health courses. No one seemed confident in their secondary school sex education.


We had to take it upon ourselves to learn about our fannies and fiddles. One friend said he learned about female anatomy via the band Parenthetical Girls. Another friend learned from Tumblr. A lot of people learned from various avenues of the internet.


This seemed all too easy for cisgender males—after all, dicks were drawn all over the school… but who in the gods’ names knew how to draw a vulva? Porn was made for men, and the society we grew up in expected and encouraged male masturbation, while leaving female wanking in a lock-box labelled “taboo”. How was this stigma supposed to make women, both young and old, see and feel about their bodies?

I, for one, felt ashamed, embarrassed, and actively deterred. I didn’t want to talk or think about my tara.


And that is a tragedy, my friend.These bits are just as precious as the feet we walk on—each one unique. Bearers of life, for many, but also channels for pleasure. We’re mostly taught about the former. We’re taught to value functionality over fun, when the two attributes should go hand-in-hand.


The goal of this feature is to create a space for insightful vulva glory. Put it on your wall. Create a vulva shrine. Leave it in some poorly misinformed student’s letterbox—the important thing is that you do what you want with this piece, like you should with your own body. Now, your destiny calls. However you define (or don’t define) your gender, be the educated vulva-rine you were meant to be.


Vulva- Commonly confused for the vagina, the vulva is the outer part of your genitals. It consists of the clitoris, the labia, the vagina, and the opening to your urethra.


Mons pubis- An inverted triangular area of fatty tissue, lying on top of the pubic bone. She protect. She bear pubic hair. For some reason, the song “Let It Grow” from ^The Lorax^ comes to mind. You can judge me for it—just don’t judge women about the choices they make regarding their pubes.


Clitoral hood- Right below the mons pubis, connecting the inner labia, the clitoral hood serves to protect the some 8000 nerve endings in the clit (twice as many as the penis!!).


Clit- The greek word for “key” for obvious reasons (maybe because it opens that aforementioned locked box). The gods created the clitoris for pleasure and pleasure alone. Only a quarter of the clitoris shows—the rest extends back into the body making a wishbone shape. The majority of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm.


Labia majora– The outer lips, and also a protective layer. No labia is the same. They’re like snowflakes in that way—varying in colour, length, and texture. Quite often, the labia majora is the same size, if not smaller, than the labia minora.


Labia minora-  The thin folds of skin within the labia majora, a.k.a. the inner lips. The clit gets a lot of attention, and labia minora are hanging around the bend, like, “Heyyyy, I’ve got something to offer” (Similar to a woman in a male-dominated conversation).


Vaginal opening- Most of the vagina’s nerve endings are ⅓ of an inch from the opening. Length isn’t necessary for success, though the vagina will grow twice in length when aroused.


Perineum- Or, the dam. This bridge between the vulva and the anus is also full of nerve  endings.


Urethra– Located right under the clit, the urethra is the tube connected to the bladder. A.k.a. where pee comes from. The urethra is between the vagina and the clit. Say it with me: “The urethra is in between the vagina and the clit.” Very good.


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