Between the Sheets – A majora misconception

By MaCayla Jablonski, assistant editor-in-chief. 

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, believed there were five levels of needs that humans must meet in order to grow fundamentally. Maslow established that sexual instincts were a level one basic human need—not a want.

Human beings are sexual by nature. Whether you’re a Maslow believer or not, it doesn’t take away from the fact that human beings are mammals and rely on sex to carry our species into future existence.

A study conducted by Indiana University in 2010 and reported by vice.com, found that 80 percent of men and 62 percent of women were unable to locate the vagina correctly. Due to misconceptions and wrongful terminology, human beings are losing the knowledge behind the female body and its’ functions.

Sexual education in America often avoids going into depth on anatomical parts involved in sexual pleasure. As an adult, it’s even more important to know yourself and all the parts that make you—you.

The parts: where they are, what they do and misconceptions:

The vulva, often wrongfully referred to as the “vagina,” is a blanket term for all external organs visible in the pelvic region, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris and external openings of both the urethra and vagina.

The vulva is typically unknown terminology because sexual education in schools, if taught more than the abstinence-only mentality, focuses on reproduction rather than sexual pleasure. Meaning students are taught that women have vaginas, men have penises, and if mashed together—a baby is conceived. They’re not taught the different parts and what they do, mostly because these parts result in sexual arousal.

The labia majora are the hair-covered, outer lips of the vulva. They are made up of fatty tissue to protect the more delicate areas of the vulva.

The labia minora, surrounded by the labia majora, are the inner lips of the vulva. The labia minora are hairless and very sensitive to touch. They are also there to protect the more delicate areas between them.

According to ourbodiesourselves.org, all labia vary in size, color, and shape among women, this is a common misconception made by both sexes. The size of the labia, whether you have the “butterfly” type or the “tucked in” type, has nothing to do with the amount of times you’ve had sex because it’s not a part of the vagina.

The most visible part of the clitoris, also called the glans, is located where the inner lips join to form a soft fold of skin, or hood, which covers the glans. This is known to be the most sensitive to sexual stimulation.

The clitoral shaft, is a hardish, almost rubbery feeling, movable rod under the skin that connects to the head of the clitoris and runs up the pubic bone. It can be sexually stimulating when touched.

A common misconception with the clitoris is that it is equally as sensitive as the penis. In fact, according to the Museum of Sex, the clitoris has 8,000 tiny sensory nerve fibers—doubling the amount of nerve fibers found in the head of the penis.

The urethral opening is a small slit or dot right below the underside of the clitoris. It is a thin tube leading to bladder.

A misconception about the vulval area is that there is only one hole, the vagina, and that women pee from this hole. This is untrue. The urethra is very small and is typically hard to see, but it’s there and it’s how women go to the bathroom.

The vagina, also known as the birth canal, can be seen from the outside as a hole that leads to the reproductive system inside. According to WedMD, the vagina is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft lining that provides sensation and lubrication. It connects the uterus to the outside world, serving as a “conduit for menstrual flow.”

The vagina is the subject of many misconceptions. One popular misconception being you need to douche to keep them clean. According to an article by Women’s Health, vaginas clean themselves by creating mucus that washes away blood, semen and vaginal discharge. Most doctors recommend washing the outside of the vagina, the labia, with warm water while showering.

Knowledge is power. These are more than vocabulary terms on an anatomy test—they’re a part of your body and a part of who you are.

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