While the sexual organs of the man are largely outside his body, those of the woman are all inside. Practically nothing may be seen externally except the hair over the Mons Veneris, and two lips, known as the labia majora, which are pushed open during sexual intercourse.
Just within these are a second set of smaller lips, known as the labia minora, which guard the entrance to the vagina, a tube about six inches long, leading to the uterus. The vagina is corrugated, or thrown into small folds, and, during sexual excitement, tiny glands within secrete a lubricant which oils the vagina, rendering the passage of the male organ easy. The labia majora are always slightly moist, so as to avoid friction when walking.
At the entrance of the vagina, a thin piece of membrane is stretched, known as the hymen, in the center of which there is a tiny hole. This remains in this condition as long as the girl is a virgin; but at the first sexual intercourse, it is tom, leaving the entrance to the vagina much larger. This tearing of the hymen, or maiden-head, is usually accompanied by a few drops of blood, which is normal and need be no cause for alarm.
The hymen is at times quite tough, and some difficulty is experienced in rupturing it, though this is usually accomplished without much pain or trouble. Some authorities recommend that it be cut by a surgeon, this avoiding any unpleasantness at the time of intercourse. It is because of this that the husband should exercise gentleness and care, during the first intercourse (if his wife is a virgin) and avoid all roughness. Any slight pain which might otherwise be felt will thus be avoided.
The vagina leads to the uterus or womb, which is pear-shaped, the entrance to the womb being known as the cervix. Both the vagina and the cervix are very sensitive; and because of this, pleasurable feelings are experienced by the woman dur-ing the act of intercourse.
These sensations are also heightened by the frictional stim-ulation of the clitoris, which is situated in the Mons Veneris, and is composed of erectile tissue, about one-and-a-half inches long. It corresponds, in a way, to the penis in the male, during sexual excitement, it enlarges and becomes erect. Friction of the clitoris will bring on a climax or orgasm in the female, even without the introduction of the penis, as in normal intercourse.
The uterus or womb is normally about as large as the fist of a twelve-year-old girl, but is capable of enlarging enormously, as it does during pregnancy. It then is about 12 to 16 inches in length, and proportionately broad, to accommodate the unborn child.
Connected to the top of the uterus are two tubes, called oviducts, or Fallopian tubes, as thick as a pencil, leading to the ovaries, which are about the size of a man’s testicles. The ovaries are said to contain approximately 40,000 eggs, or ova; one is discharged each month through the tube into the uterus, awaiting impregnation. If it is not fertilized, it passes off in the menstrual flow.
Each egg is about the size of a dust particle, and remains about a week in the tube, before reaching the womb. Fertilization of the egg takes place in the tube, but is then normally passed on into the uterus. If it remains in the tube, this calls for surgical help.
The eggs are tightly encased, and have to burst through their covering or shell when they are impregnated. Millions of sperm cells are discharged by the male at every ejaculation, but only one of these fertilizes the egg; the rest die a natural death.
The womb is held in place by strong ligaments, but if these become weak and flabby, as the result of lack of exercise and wrong methods of life, it tends to fall or descend; and if this is very marked, we have a case of prolapse of the uterus. When this occurs, you should consult your doctor, in order that measures may be taken for lifting the uterus to its correct position.
In man, as we saw, the urine passes through the urethra, along which the semen also passes. In woman, however, this is not the case, for the acid urine would have a destructive effect upon the sperm cells. There is, therefore, a separate opening in the woman’s body for urination, which is directly in front of the vagina. The anus, or opening from the bowel, is, on the contrary, a little distance behind it. The vagina lies between these two orifices.
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