Anatomy of the Vulva and the Female Sexual Response

Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2016 Mar;43(1):27-44. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2015.10.011.


The female vulva is an intricate structure comprising several components. Each structure has been described separately, but the interplay among them and physiologic significance remain controversial. The structures extend inferiorly from the pubic arch and include the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, vestibule, and clitoris. The clitoris is widely accepted as the most critical anatomic structure to female sexual arousal and orgasm. The female sexual response cycle is also very complex, requiring emotional and mental stimulation in addition to end organ stimulation.

Keywords: Anatomy; Arousal; Clitoris; Female sexual pleasure; G-Spot; Orgasm; Vulva.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clitoris / anatomy & histology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Orgasm / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Vulva / anatomy & histology*
  • Vulva / physiology*