The simple version: The vulva is external, the vagina is internal.
But let’s dive into them both a little more...
You can SEE the vulva - sometimes it takes some maneuvering, a mirror, a bit of awkward poses, but it’s seeable.
You usually can’t see much of the vagina without a speculum and a light.
The VULVA includes things like LABIA! These are the lips, the flaps, what protects your vagina. There are two sets: labia majora (the outer set) and the labia minora (inner set). The Labia majora grows hair. The labia minora may be hidden by the labia majora, or stick out, both are totes mcgotes normal.
At the top of the vulva, the labia minora come together to form the clitoral hood, so named because it covers the...bum bum bum….CLITORIS. The part of the clitoris that we can see is called the glans, and the rest of the clitoris extends further into the body and around the vagina.
Inside the labia minora, and under the clitoris, begins the VULVAR VESTIBULE, which is sensitive, moist tissue. It contains the URETHRAL OPENING, where the urine comes out. It is a tiny hole between the vagina and the clitoris.
The INTROITUS is the entrance to the vagina.
Vulva care do’s and don’ts
DO wash with warm water and your hand
DO check to make sure folds are free of smegma (the creamy white stuff that may get stuck in the folds of the labia or under the clitoral hood) - just a discharge build-up. No worries.
DON’T use scented soaps, bath gels
DON’T wash with washcloths or loofahs - they’re too hard for that gentle area!
The VAGINA is a tube o’ muscle. It has pleats. For real.
It accordions in multiple directions to accommodate things like a penis, a toy, fingers, and giant baby. Most vaginas are about 3-4 inches long, but it widens and lengthens (called tenting) when aroused.