Genitals (or genitalia) are the sex organs in the pelvic region of both men and women. Male and female genitals are divided into external genitals (those visible outside the body) and internal genitals (those that are inside the body).

The male's external genitals include the penis and the scrotum. The internal genitals include the testicles, or testes, epididymis and vas deferens (housed in the scrotum), the seminal vesicles, the prostate gland, the ejaculatory ducts, the Cowper's gland, and the urethra. In terms of sexual play and sexual intercourse, the single most important part of a man's genitals is undoubtedly his penis.

As with males, the female genitals are partly external and partly internal. The external sex organs of a woman are collectively called the vulva, and include the clitoris, two pairs of skin folds called the labia, the mons pubis, and the opening of the vagina and urine passageway located in the vestibule. The external parts of a woman's genitals and the area immediately surrounding them are highly sensitive to physical stimulation and play a large role in lovemaking.

External genitals are sensitive to touch and when they are stimulated or when a man or woman becomes sexually aroused, the genitals undergo changes that make sexual pleasure, and at certain times, reproduction possible.

The complex female internal genitals include the hymen, Bartholin's glands, the urethra, the vagina, the cervix, the uterus, two Fallopian tubes, and two ovaries. It is the vagina that is primarily involved in sexual activity, whereas the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and to a lesser extent the cervix are the essential organs in reproduction. The role of the Bartholin's glands is still not clearly understood.

Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute