Figure 43 side view of the female reproductive system

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Figure 4.3 Side view of the female reproductive system. The opening of the vagina, called the introitus , is located between the urinary opening and the anus. The hymen is a fold of tissue that, in most women, partially covers the introitus. The hymen is typically present at birth, although some females have no hymen at birth, and stays intact until penetration by the penis or some other object, or is torn in some other way. The hymen, like other sexual structures, varies
in shape and size among females, as you can see in Figure 4.4. The tissues of the vulva are generally thin and delicate prior to puberty, and many girls and teens tear or stretch the hymen while participating in sports like bicycling, horseback riding, or gymnastics, or while inserting tampons. Therefore, an intact hymen is not a good indicator of virginity. Because there may be little or no blood or pain involved when the hymen is torn, a girl may not even know about it. Remnants of the hymen usually remain until a woman delivers a baby vaginally. Occasionally, the tissue of the hymen is too thick to break easily during intercourse. In these cases, a medical practitioner might have to make a small incision to open it further. In the rare case of an imperforate hymen , the tissue of the hymen completely closes the vaginal opening causing menstrual fluid to accumulate. This condition, too, requires a small incision to open the hymen. For more information on the hymen, see “Healthy Sexuality: The Hymen and Virginity.” Figure 4.4 The hymen, like other sexual structures, varies in shape and size among females. Imperforate hymens are rare and can be corrected with minor surgery. A microperforate hymen has a very small opening, and a septate hymen is divided in two by a band of tissue. Microperforate and septate hymens also can be corrected with minor surgery. Page 102 The uterus is a muscular pear-shaped organ that connects to the fallopian tubes, one on each side. Three layers comprise the uterine walls: theperimetrium , which is the outermost part; the myometrium , or the muscular middle layer; and the endometrium , or the innermost layer, into which a fertilized ovum will implant. The fallopian tubes are approximately 7 to 14 cm (2.76 to 5.5 inches) long. Each one ends in a fringe of tissue called the fimbria (plural, fimbriae ), which sweeps over the ovaries during ovulation (the phase of a woman's menstrual cycle in which an egg is released), picks up the ovum, and, with the help of tail-like projections inside the walls of the fallopian tubes, guides the ovum down to the uterus. WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?
Q: It is really easy for me to have an orgasm when I masturbate or when my partner stimulates my clitoris, but I cannot orgasm during intercourse. My friends have said there is a difference between a clitoral orgasm and an orgasm produced during intercourse. Is there really a difference?

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