Anyone else felt like they were fumbling around in the dark – quite literally – when it came to their sexual awakening?
As a nation we're pretty awkward around talking about sex, which arguably wasn't helped by the excruciating sex ed or PSHE classes we had in school – if we had them at all.
Personally, I don't remember learning about anatomy, or consent. I just remember the boys at the back erupting into nervous laughter when the word "vagina" was mentioned.
Our mortified English teacher rattled through STIs and condoms while staring at the floor and that was about it.
It's not surprising then that 75% of women who did receive sex ed feel that it did not prepare them to understand their own pleasure, according to a study from sex tech brand, Smile Makers.
Another study by YouGov found that six in ten men are unable to correctly identify the vagina on a diagram of female genitalia and – before you laugh – almost half of women (45%) can't either. Awks.
When asked, 43% of men thought women peed out of the same hole that they bleed out of, believing women need to remove their tampon to urinate.
And half of women don't know the difference between their vulva and vagina, according to a study by The Eve Appeal.
None of this spells good news for sexual satisfaction. So, we asked Cecile Gasnault, brand director at Smile Makers, to expand on the areas of the vulva that we should get more familiar with for some seriously OMG orgasms.
"The vulva is the external part of the genitalia, and is often mistakenly called the vagina," says Cecile.
The vagina itself (more on that below) is just one part of the vulva's anatomy.
The vulva also includes the lips surrounding the vagina (the labia minora and labia majora), the clitoris and the urethra (or pee hole).
"The vagina is actually the internal part between the vulva and the cervix. It is an elastic organ that stretches. The sensitivity of the vagina varies.
The entrance is very sensitive whereas the upper part is less so, which is why you can have a cup or a tampon inserted and not feel it," says Cecile.
"The lower vagina contains 90% of the vagina's nerve endings and is worth our attention. It can be stimulated by wriggling around the entrance."
"The clitoris (found at the top of the vulva) is an erectile organ with an internal structure that wraps around the vagina.
It gets engorged with blood upon sexual arousal and becomes erect (if that sounds familiar, it's because the penis comes from the same embryo cells and develops slightly differently under the effect of hormones)," explains Cecile.
"The glans of the clitoris, which is the visible nub on the vulva, is the most sensitive part since many of the clitoris’ 8,000 nerve endings are actually located there. This why it plays a key role in clitoral stimulation."
"The anatomy of the clitoris varies just like the penis' does. The glans can be more or less exposed depending on how the shaft covers it.
Some clitorises are more tucked under the hood. Others are more exposed.
This results in variations in sensitivity. People with tucked-in clitorises might find it harder to get stimulated and wonder if something is wrong with them.
Nothing is wrong with them; their clitoris’ glans just needs a bit of help to get access to," says Cecile. "You can expose the clitoral glans by pulling up the labia so that the shaft also get pulled up.
The glans will then be exposed or partially exposed and can then be stimulated manually, through oral sex or with a toy.
For tucked-in clitorises, vibrators are actually a very good option as intensity can be modulated up until it manages to stimulate the clitoris."
For sexual stimulation, "try a bullet vibrator. Apply the clitoral vibrator on the vulva and explore different positions and angles on and around the clitoris.
With a suction toy like The Poet, use a hand to move up the hood to expose the glans and seal the suction toy’s mouth around it. Adjust the intensity to match your sensitivity," Cecile recommends.
"Exposed clitorises are more likely to react easily through direct touch or rubbing. Even a more diffused stimulation like the whole palm of the hand or humping a pillow can feel satisfying. They can also be stimulated with vibrators," says Cecile.
"Try applying a clitoral vibrator directly on the clitoris. You can also explore using a vulva vibrator that delivers a more diffused type of stimulation including on the labia.
With an air pulsation stimulator like the Poet, place the mouth opening around the glans of the clitoris and bring the toy down on the vulva to create a seal on the labia.
Exposed clitorises tend to be more sensitive, so start with the lowest intensity and adjust it if you need to."
"The erogenous area, often called the G-spot is where the front wall of the vagina comes in contact with the internal structure of the clitoris.
The bulbs can be stimulated through the front wall of the vagina through the G-spot, or the G-area to be more accurate.
That stimulation can be done with fingers inside the vagina doing a come-hither movement and can be enhanced by massaging the glans at the same time.
A G-spot vibrator with a round head or a dual stimulation vibrator can also be used for that kind of stimulation," says Cecile.
"It's also where the urethral sponge that contains the Skene glands can be found. The glands are a bit like the prostate and when stimulated, they can ejaculate a viscous and white secretion the composition of which has similarities to male ejaculate.
Additionally, the stimulation of the G-area can lead to squirting, which is different from male ejaculation and is a clear liquid, mostly made of water."
This originally appeared on Glamour UK| Author: Elle Turner