Thu, 28 September 2006
Female anatomy for pleasure! This episoide is my lecture on female genital anatomy -- not for reproduction, as in every other treatment of the topic, but instead *purely* for sexual pleasure. Learn more (and plenty of oral techniques) in my book Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus, and enjoy this textcast by reading the transcript below, or on your iPod by clicking the center trackwheel three times.
See anatomical drawings and read erotica about cunnilingus on my site at:
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Female Anatomy for Pleasure
We all know about reproduction -- the what and how babies are made and birthed in relation to our genitals. Even if we're fuzzy on a few details, most adult women have a pretty good idea about how our pussies work for baby-making, or at least know our way around some kind of birth control. And pretty much the majority of us have self-preserving knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and staying safe (or managing a virus, or curing an infection). The problem is, even if this information came in bits and pieces, the easy (and happy) way or through difficult learning lessons, none of this tells us how to have fun with our clits, vaginas, g-spots or even our asses. Even though the fact that playing with all of these wonderful pleasure zones might be what got us informed about troubleshooting our systems in the first place.
The thing is, even if we get any type of formal education about female genitals, none of it has anything to do with pleasure -- how to make them feel oh-so-good. Chances are good that if we got any info about our pussies in school, it was in the form of illustrated internal anatomical drawings and estimates on how much we bleed a month and for how long -- then how pregnancy occurs. That's a great bit of info -- but it's missing the critical fact that this stuff feels good (which I think should come first, to explain why we'd stimulate our genitals in the first place).
Erotic videos and "gentlemen's magazines" can sometimes be vaguely instructional, but viewers should be cautioned that a great deal goes into making the actresses’ and models' genitals look uniform -- including labiaplasty (plastic surgery on the labia), and liposuction of the outer lips. They routinely get a dusting of makeup and occasionally "pussy glue," a tacky gel that holds the inner labia open to the unflinching eye of the camera. Not to mention airbrushing. And as for critical life skills as smart girls, learning how to be sexually self-reliant and understand how our pleasure systems work should be at the top of the survival list.
This lecture is certainly focused on our pussies, but refreshingly it has nothing to do with reproduction. Welcome to the world of pleasure-based female genital anatomy.
Look down, and the first tihng you see is the pubic mound (or mons veneris, or mound of Venus). This is the area over the pubic bone, usually covered with hair, and it tapers down and between her thighs, where the inner thighs meet the torso and splits neatly around the vaginal opening.
Because nature delights in deviation, women's genitals differ greatly in appearance -- their size, shape, and color are as unique to each woman as her fingerprint. Each woman's vulva has the same basic elements, but how they look always differs to varying degrees. The range of differences is so great that there actually is no “normal? when it comes to appearance. And size, shape, and color have little (if anything at all) to do with sensation or response to stimulation -- or libido, or "femmeismo," for that matter. After all, has anyone ever overheard women in a gym locker room bragging about their big clits?
Between her legs you'll see the outer lips, or outer labia, of her vagina; these are fleshy and the skin is soft and sensitive, though somewhat similar to the skin on the rest of her body (the delicate parts, at least). Unlike the smooth, hairless inner lips to be found just inside, the outer labia reside on the outside of the body and are often covered with a continuation of her pubic mound's hair. The outer lips are can be compared to the male scrotum, and both are formed from the same tissue in utero -- the outer lips and scrotum are similar enough in structure and evolutionary origin to form comparisons, but not in function. The outer labia's appearance ranges from fleshy (puffy, covering the clitoris and vaginal opening) to thin (flat, revealing the clitoral hood).
Just inside the outer lips you'll see a hairless second set of lips that surround the vaginal opening. The inner labia are definitely more lip-like in color, texture, and shape than the outer set, and like every other body part, no two are alike. The inner labia come in countless colors; beige-orange hues, pinks and even purples, wine shades, or deep brown. The color may deepen after a woman has a child, and they can even be different colors from one another. Her inner lips might be petite and flat, curled inward, fluted, or flared, or they may protrude past the pubic hair.
And though they come in pairs, no two are exactly alike; it is quite common for the lips on one woman to look different from each other. The inner lips are richly endowed with nerve endings, and the clitoral hood is analogous to the foreskin of the penis. Some women report enjoying stimulation of the inner lips more than clitoral stimulation. Textures range from smooth to glassy, translucent to deeply crinkled.
The outer edges of each inner lip meet toward the anus at the perineum (the wall separating the vaginal canal and anus), and also up top, toward the pubic bone, where they join to create the clitoral hood -- the flesh covering her clitoris. It's interesting to note that some women report enjoying stimulation of the inner lips more than clitoral stimulation. Her inner labia are chock full of sensitive nerve endings, and the clitoral hood is analogous to the foreskin of the penis -- though it is far more sensitive than that.
The top corner of the inner lips come to an "A" shape underneath a skintight jacket of flesh covering the protruding tip of the clitoris, or glans. Though this word sounds like gland, the slightly bulbous, spade-shaped head of the clitoral shaft isn’t a gland at all. Glans means "a small, round mass or body" and "tissue that can swell or harden". And it certainly does when aroused.
The shaft of the clitoris is the portion that runs from the bottom of the inner labia's A-frame housing to the tip of the glans (the bottom edges of the A being the lower boundary of the visible portion of the clitoris). The entire covering, the clitoris's whole house, is called the hood. This protective covering encompasses the shaft in its A shape, and hoods can range in appearance from fleshy and fat to pulled tight and flat. Sometimes all it takes to expose the tip of her glans is pulling back the hood; or it may not become visible until she's aroused. The glans is nestled in the hood and comes in many sizes, from the size of a pen tip to larger than a fingertip.
Her clitoris has eight thousand nerve endings, all concentrated in that one little spot. It contains more nerve endings than any other part of the human body, male or female, more than the fingertips, tongue, anus -- and twice as many as the entire penis.
Her clitoris has but one job: her pleasure. Its function is hotly contested by evolutionary theorists (those who *dare* to speak its name), and ignored altogether by most medical and religious institutions who can't seem to find a use for it. That's okay -- we can figure out what to do with it. Its impracticality is ludicrous, laughable, luscious. For most women, stimulation of the clitoris is essential to orgasm. The clitoris is often referred to as the "powerhouse of orgasm," and though it delivers pleasure pure of purpose, touching it directly in an unaroused state can feel painful -- sometimes even if she're aroused it's just too much sensation to bear. Luckily, the clitoris is shrouded by the clitoral hood, a little nub analogous to the foreskin on a man. It both protects the clitoris and diffuses the sensations of touching it; even so, some women find that having their clitoral hood touched is too intense and prefer indirect clitoral stimulation, or stimulation by way of the vulva.
The area of the clitoris is far larger than described in conventional anatomy texts and most sex guides. The external tip, or glans, is really the tip of the iceberg -- and if you know icebergs, they're like upside-down pyramids and this is a perfect analogy. The glans begins at the tip of the shaft and continues under the surface to where the other end connects to the suspensory ligament at the pubic mound. You can feel this connection between her clit and the pubic bone by rolling her finger across the area; it feels somewhat like a soda straw (and feels firmer when she're aroused). The shaft, like the glans, is very sensitive and responds pleasurably to stimulation. At the shaft's connection to her pubic bone, the clitoris runs underneath both sides of her vulva alongside the vaginal opening in a wishbone shape, forming two legs, or crura, and extends all the way to her perineum.
The internal area occupied by the clitoris and crura is actually a complex clitoral system, wrapped in erectile tissue -- just like the stuff that fills with blood during arousal to make a penis hard. The connecting nerves, tissues, muscles, and ligaments all react and engage with one another during her arousal cycle. And guess what? If the clitoris has the queen's throne outside, the g-spot has the princess seat right in the middle of all this. The clitoral area underneath the inner and outer lips, the ring around the urethra (where urine leaves the body; g-spot), and the wall of the perineum all contain erectile tissues that fill with blood and swell upon arousal -- sometimes noticeably, sometimes not. Several layers of muscles line the pelvic floor, connecting the clitoris to these erectile tissues. An oval-shaped muscle of erectile tissue surrounds the inner lips and clitoris, where the vagina and g-spot pass through it, and connects to another oval that surrounds the anal sphincter muscle, encircling the anus.
Let's talk about the g-spot for a minute. Both women and men have an identical ring of spongy erectile tissue surrounding the urethra (where urine leaves the body). It is an essential part of the clitoral system and her entire orgasmic network, and even when she simply jack off through clitoral stimulation, her g-spot participates in the orgasm. Located inside the vagina, the urethra is a tube that's roughly two inches long, running from the bladder to the urethral opening on her vaginal wall. This ring of urethral tissue is the outer area that shows you where her g-spot is.
The urethral sponge is located on the front wall of the vagina, toward the belly button; if she're lying on her back, it's the "top" of the vaginal wall. From the vaginal opening, it's roughly one or two inches inside. The outer area is the marker to let you know where the g-spot actually begins, because there's a lot more of it beneath the surface. In addition to the two inch long urethral canal leading to the bladder, there is a whole lot more surrounding the urethral opening (and sponge) that makes up the entirety of the g-spot, and it all responds to g-spot stimulation; to enjoy her spot and come, she'll be touching not just the urethral opening but the area surrounding it as well.
The spongy tissues that surround her urethra and comprise her g-spot are a complex bundle of -- joy! Along with the erectile tissue, she's also got the nerve-rich urethra itself and about 40 super-tiny glands and ducts (called paraurethral glands, or Skene's Glands) that respond to arousal and pleasure. Sometimes, and in some women, stimulation of the g-spot to orgasm can result in an expulsion of fluid form the urethral sponge -- this is female ejaculation, and the paraurethral glands and ducts have the starring role in that particular wet, wonderful show. The purpose of the urethra is certainly to have a river run through it, but everything else prefers to play by the same rules as her clitoris: just for fun, thanks.
The Sexual Response Cycle
When a woman becomes sexually aroused, her senses and her genitals would shift from the everyday to the superreal. Pleasure becomes a priority, and her entire body begins to respond physically to the chemicals and hormones flooding from brain to bloodstream. Her body begins moving in an unconscious symphony to the directions of an invisible conductor; blood rushes to the pelvis, filling the erectile tissues, and nerve cells in the genitals become excited. Her breasts increase slightly in size, and stimulation of the nipples may become desirable, because it causes production of the hormone oxytocin, which is produced during sexual stimulation and causes tingling sensations in the genitals. The skin on various parts of her body become hypersensitive, and her genitals flush and deepen in color.
Because the erectile tissue in a woman's genitals is analogous to the erectile tissue in the penis, it also swells when aroused. However, unlike in a penis, there are no muscles that compress the blood flow to retain stiffness, and perhaps that is where we women get our capacity for multiple orgasms.
During arousal, erection pushes the glans forward, and it may poke out from under the hood. The legs stiffen, elongate, and swell, expanding both inner and outer labia. In some women, this swelling is very visible, while in others it may not be visible at all or may be felt only with a sensitive fingertip.
Inside the inner lips there are two tiny ducts connected to two tiny glands called the vulviovaginal glands, which produce a few drops of thick fluid during arousal. This contributes to, but does not compose entirely, vaginal lubrication during the sexual response cycle. Pressure from dilated clitoral blood vessels inside the vagina during arousal forces clear fluid through the walls of the vagina, which is where the majority of vaginal lubrication comes from. However, lubrication is not a reliable means by which to measure arousal. A woman can be lubricated yet unaroused and can just as easily be chomping at the bit for sex and have a dry vulva. Lubrication varies depending on mood, stress, where a woman is in her menstrual cycle, whether she’s experienced menopause, medications and antihistamines she is taking, and any number of other factors.
If you're stimulating her during all this, her feedback is essential to you -- how else will you know what’s working and what’s not? It's not enough to simply ask her, "Are you okay?" You'll most likely just get an "Uh-huh." And "How are you?" will usually get she a "Fine." Then what are you going to do? You've got to ask specific questions to get useful answers. Try some of these:
Do you want me to go faster? Slower?
Will you show me where?
From top to bottom?
Side to side?
Do you want long strokes?
How about here (outer/inner labia, perineum)?
Do you want me to hold still for a minute? Tell me when to start again.
Would you like to try suction?
Do you want me to keep going just like this?
As arousal heightens, all the muscles and ligaments begin to contract, creating a delightful tension. The suspensory ligament shortens and pulls the glans inward, toward the pubic bone, and it remains beneath the hood until orgasm. The end of the round ligament tugs on the inner lips at one end and the uterus on the other, creating more pleasure and involving the uterus in the orgasmic process.
At this point, muscle tension is building: the clitoral tissues and perineum are hypersensitive, as is the skin on the face, neck, abdomen, buttocks, hands, and feet. Blood pressure and heart rate are increased. Her entire body is awash in sexual chemicals, and this potent cocktail is making blues bluer and lights brighter, all while sending messages of "more, more!" At the peak, muscular tension explodes in a series of short, rhythmic contractions. The walls of the vagina, and all the muscles on the pelvic floor, contract strongly and rhythmically, causing intense pleasure. This is orgasm, the standing ovation of the clitoral system, and with collaboration between brain and body, a woman can have several, or even several different kinds.
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My podcast once got a standing ovation from Libsyn.com