Female Reproductive System
The Female Body
Female genitalia is usually grouped into two types of organs: internal and external. External organs include the sensitive and erotic sex organs: mons pubis, vagina, labia and clitoris (also known collectively as the vulva) and the breasts. Internal organs include the uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries, which contain the female's sex cells: the ova, or eggs. It's interesting to note that, unlike the male, the female does not continue to produce sex cells throughout her life. Rather, each female is born with an individual quantity of unripened eggs already in place.
Each month, one of these eggs travels from one of the two ovaries, down the Fallopian tubes and into the uterus, where it clings to the uterine wall, waiting to be fertilized. If fertilization occurs, the egg develops a fetus, which is nurtured by the rich lining of the uterus for nine months, until it is ready to move down the vaginal canal and into the world. If the egg is not fertilized, it passes out of the uterus through the cervix, along with a portion of the no-longer-necessary uterine membrane the uterus had prepared for fertilization--this is a woman's menstrual period. Most women are also born with a hymen, a thin membrane that lies on the inside of the vagina.
Some blood may issue from the tearing of this membrane during first intercourse. Although different cultures may attach an importance to this as a sign of virginity, the hymen often is torn during the course of normal daily activities long before a woman may ever have intercourse.
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