This article discusses a mature topic. Our 17-year-old and younger readers are encouraged to read this with an adult.
I recently binge-watched the new season of Orange is the New Black, and I think I loved it even more than the first season. Of course, the new characters, love triangles and drama are all amazing, but what I really love is the show’s take on the topics of sexual health and relationships. In this month’s Ask Elizabeth column, I’ll be addressing some of the sexual health and relationship questions inspired by the new season of OITNB.
And remember, if you have a question that you’d like to see answered in this column, send them to me at AskElizabeth@pp-la.org.
Q: But really, how many holes do women have down there?
As we saw in the OITNB episode, “A Whole Other Hole,” many adults still have confusion about the female anatomy. (Or really, reproductive anatomy in general.) In this episode, Taystee is confused about how many holes are found in the female genitals. Fortunately, Sophia has the answers and ends up leading a workshop, with anatomy posters and all, for her fellow inmates.
To recap: Women have three openings in the genital area: the anus, the vaginal opening, and the urethral opening. The vulva, which is the external part of the female sex organs, includes the vaginal opening and the urethral opening. The vagina is where menstrual blood and daily discharge leave the body. The urethra is right above the opening to the vagina and is where urine from the bladder leaves the body. The anus is below the vaginal opening and is where feces leaves the body. These three openings are not connected to each other.
As Sophia discusses in the episode, it is really important for everyone to be familiar with their bodies. It’s okay if you don’t know the exact names of certain parts or the specifics of how they work, but everyone should at least be familiar with how their bodies usually look, smell and feel. That way, you’ll know when to go to a health care provider if something is different or unusual.
Q: What happens during an orgasm for females? What does it feel like?
We see a lot of sex on OITNB, and a lot of women experiencing pleasure, which we don’t often see in the media. In the fourth episode of season 2, Boo and Nicky have a competition to see who can make the most women orgasm.
Sexual pleasure is the feeling we have when we’re aroused. It can be an important part of our overall emotional and physical well-being. Orgasm is the peak of sexual pleasure. It usually happens when sexual tension builds up until it hits a peak and is released through a rapid series of pleasing muscular spasms. The body also releases endorphins during orgasm that produce good feelings. The heart rate also beats faster and the skin tends to get flushed.
Pleasure and orgasm are really different for everyone, and what makes one person feel amazing might not be right for the next person. It’s important for each person to know what feels good to them, whether by themselves or with a partner. Some females may prefer stimulation of the clitoris, the vagina, the anus, the G spot, or they may like all of them to be stimulated. It’s important for everyone to be able to ask their partners for whatever they find most enjoyable. Communication and comfort play just as important of a role in pleasure as physical sensation.
And remember, what we see in the media about what females are supposed to enjoy doesn’t always work for everyone. It’s healthy and normal to experience pleasure in different ways, and it’s up to each person to figure out what’s right for them.
Featured image courtesy of Netflix