External Vulva Anatomy

Written by Jen Bell

  |  Reviewed by Staci Tanouye, M.D.

Did you know the term vagina is often mistakenly used in place of the proper term, vulva? Vulvas come in an endless diversity of shapes, sizes, and colors. Like snowflakes and flowers, no two are exactly the same. The vulva is the external genitalia. The main parts of the vulva consists of:

  • Mons pubis: the place where pubic hair grows which helps prevent bacteria from entering the body
  • Clitoris: a sensitive area for arousal and stimulation, located at the top of where the two labia minora meet that is covered by a clitoral hood (prepuce)
  • Labia Majora: the larger outer lips that protect the vulva
  • Labia Minora: the inner lips that protect the clitoris and vaginal opening
  • Urethral Opening: the small hole where pee comes out of
  • Vaginal Opening: the large middle hole where period blood exits, where period products are inserted, and also the birthing canal
  • Bartholin’s glands: these glands are located on either side of the vaginal opening and produce a fluid (mucus) secretion
  • Anus: the place where gas and bowel movements (poop) exit
Take the Know Thyself Tour

To get to know your body better, we encourage you to follow along and take the Know Thyself Tour. To do this, you will need: freshly washed hands, a mirror, a comfortable and private place to sit and relax, an open mind and open heart.

  1. Starting at the top, find your mons pubis (the place where pubic hair grows).
  2. Now work your way down to the top of where the two inner lips meet and identify the clitoris which is covered by a clitoral hood.  The clitoris is a sensitive area for arousal and stimulation.
  3. Next, identify the labia majora (outer lips) and labia minora (inner lips),
  4. Last, locate the 3 holes:
    • At the very top is the small hole, known as your urethra, the place you pee out of (urinate).
    • In the middle, is the large hole which is your vaginal opening – the place you bleed from, where you place period products, and your birthing canal.
    • Lastly, at the bottom is the anus – the hole at the very back where poop (have bowel movements) out of.