You may be here wondering what Sex Positive even means. Well, my friend, let me tell you. Sex Positivity is the exact opposite of the culture that we are currently experiencing in the United States. Sex Positivity is about acceptance of all people’s decisions regarding their bodies, even if you do not agree with them. It’s about understanding that sex is a part of life, and everyone has the right to partake in a sex life that is enjoyable and SAFE. Sex Positivity is about encouraging safe, informed, and consensual sex. If you want to have sex, then please! By all means. Have sex. The sex positive movement is here to encourage you to make good decisions by educating you on STI’s and birth control. We’re here to educate you on what consent looks like. We’re here to inform you, so that you can make the best possible choices for yourself and your partner. Sex Positivity is about liberating your sexuality, and allowing you to embrace it, so that you can express it in ways that are best fit for you.
So, today, I’m wanting to give a basic talk/read/whatever this is, about the way the female reproductive system works. You may have a flashback to the eighth grade. You’ll be okay. I promise. So, here we go.
The Female Reproductive System! What a marvelous thing. There are 5 major components to the female reproductive system. I’ll even add a little diagram.
- Ovaries – The ovaries are where a woman’s eggs nest. Get it, nest? I’m hilarious. Anyway, eggs are released from a woman’s ovaries when a young woman hits puberty. The release of an egg is the first signal to your body that it will either have a menstrual cycle, or become pregnant. The egg, also called the ovum, is released from your ovaries and travels down the Fallopian tubes. Don’t ever worry about running out of these little guys and gals, because there are seriously millions of them. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there can be 6-7 MILLION of them just hangin’ around in your ovaries. That’s a ton of eggs, ya’ll. When an egg is unfertilized, a woman’s menstrual cycle will occur.
- Fallopian Tubes – Your Fallopian tubes are the tubes that your egg will travel down in hopes of becoming fertilized. Usually, fertilization (the meeting of sperm with an egg) occurs in these tubes before or during the time that a woman will ovulate. Women will usually ovulate about 12-14 days after their last period has occurred, but it varies from woman to woman! Ovulation and menstruation is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. If you’re having sex, be careful about the times you have unprotected intercourse. You’re most likely to get pregnant in the first week or so before ovulation and during ovulation, since sperm can live inside the body for 5-7 days. It’s unlikely to become pregnant after ovulation has occurred.
- Uterus – The uterus is where a fertilized egg will implant into the uterine wall, resulting in a pregnancy. For implantation to occur, the uterine lining must be thick enough for the egg to attach. The uterine walls build up in thickness throughout a menstrual cycle, so that a fertilized egg will be better able to attach. For some women, heavy periods can be a result of a really thick uterine lining. If an egg is fertilized and attached, the pregnancy will develop and continue in the uterus. In rare cases, a tubal pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy can occur. A tubal pregnancy is a serious health risk, where the pregnancy develops in a woman’s Fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are also a serious health risk, and occurs when a pregnancy develops anywhere outside of the uterus. Both of these are extremely rare. These are not health concerns that need to be the first thing a woman jumps to when experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
- Cervix – The cervix is a portion of the female reproductive system that doesn’t get much credit for anything. The cervix is the part of a woman’s body that allows for sperm to come through, as well as where menstrual blood is expelled from. Women with IUD’s (Intrauterine Devices) are familiar with finding their cervix. If you want to look for yours, it can usually be found by stretching a finger up about one to two inches into the vagina. It feels like the tip of your nose! Depending on where a woman is at in her menstrual cycle, it can be very low or very high, and the opening may be larger or smaller. The cervix has a layer of mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to fertilize an egg. On birth control, this mucus is thickened, making it even harder for the sperm to find an egg!
- Vaginal Canal – The vaginal canal is where sexual intercourse occurs, and (often times) where ejaculation occurs. When a man ejaculates (orgasms and releases semen which contains sperm) into a woman’s vagina, the sperm sets forth on its journey to find the egg. If the sperm can make it through all the natural barriers of a woman’s reproductive system, a pregnancy can occur.
If you are currently having sex and not using protection, you are putting yourself at risk for contracting an STI or becoming pregnant. There are many ways to protect yourself, including condoms, birth control pills, female condoms, IUDs, and many more methods of birth control that we will cover very soon! At the very least, if you do not want to get pregnant or contract an STI, consider using a condom. The failure rate for condoms with perfect use is 2 out of every 100 women, and typical use is 18 in 100. If you do not know how to put on a condom, grab a banana, some condoms, and practice! Practice makes perfect, and the better you’re able to protect yourself, the less likely you’ll be to become pregnant or contract an STI. Of course, abstinence is the only way to make sure, with 100% accuracy, that you do not become pregnant or contract an STI. However, using protection greatly decreases those chances when used correctly! So, men and women alike, grab your condoms and your new information in regards to the female reproductive system, and get it on.