ACTIVITY: GETTING STARTED
Thirst, Sleep and Sex are the four primary or
basic instincts/drives in any human being. Sexuality
is an integral part of life. Sexuality in a larger
sense includes various ways in which a person
expresses his/her maleness or femaleness. Even
a child learns about sexuality from adults and
peers, and is influenced by cultural, religious
and environmental factors.Sexual intimacy is just
one way of sexual expression. Sex whether for
pleasure or procreation, is a source of personal
enrichment and satisfaction, if it is based on
informed choices and is consistent with personal
values (IPPF 1989). When you are having sex, the
possibility of pregnancy exists and a basic knowledge
of reproductive organs is helpful.
The basic construction of a female
body differs from males in the body contour, enhanced
breast development, and presence of the sex organs
inside the abdomen (Compared with males, section
female reproductive organs include the following:
or "womb" – pear shaped organ 3" X 2" X 1"
size whose function is to prepare its lining
every month for a pregnancy. If no pregnancy
occurs, the lining is shed in the form of
a period/menses i.e. monthly bleeding coming
out from the vagina
is the mouth of the womb, which juts into
is the muscular passage from the cervix to
the outside. It is a flattened space at rest,
and acts as the passage for discharge and
menstruation to the outside, as the birth
canal during delivery of a child, and as the
site for actual penetrative sexual intercourse.
When the woman is sexually aroused, there
is lubrication from vaginal walls.
tubes are two elongated tubular structures,
one on each side of the uterus. They are hollow
and act as the passage for the egg from the
ovary to the uterus and also the place where
the actual mating of ovum and sperm (fertilization)
are the white almond shaped organs (equivalent
to testes in males, section 2b) These are
located on either side of the womb, and produce
one egg each month.
female reproductive organs are what are seen outside,
between the thighs
pubis or "mound of Venus" is the V-shaped
area covered with hair
majora or "greater lips" are the part around
the vagina containing two glands (Bartholin’s
)which helps lubrication during intercourse.
minora or "lesser lips" are the thin hairless
ridges at the entrance of the vagina, which
joins behind and in front. In front they split
to enclose the clitoris
clitoris is a small pea-shaped structure (equivalent
to penis in males ) It plays an important
part in sexual excitement in females.
urethral orifice or external urinary opening
is below the clitoris on the upper wall of
the vagina and is the passage for urine
introitus or opening of the vagina is separate
from the urinary opening (unlike males) and
located below it.
hymen is a thin cresentic fold of tissue which
partially covers the opening of the vagina.
It was thought to be proof of virginity as
it is broken after the first sexual intercourse.
However it is stretchable, and may break due
to vigorous exercises, cycling, gymnastics
or tampon use.Therefore medically it is no
longer considered to be a 100% proof of female
The basic layout of female and male reproductive
systems is similar. However, presence of Y chromosome
in a male foetus leads to development of male
reproductive organs. Two major differences are
that the testes (male generative organs) are situated
outside the abdominal cavity in a bag of
skin called scrotum below the penis,s unlike ovaries.
The other difference is that, there is a common
final passage for urine and sperms as the urinary
and reproductive passages are more closely linked.
various parts are:
– one on each side in a sac of skin covered
with hair called the scrotum. They produce
– one attached to each testis. They store
sperms and allow them to mature.
deferens – a hollow tube, one on each side
stretching from the epididymis, going inside
the abdomen and joining with the seminal vesicle
of each side behind the prostate.
ducts-are formed on each side by – of seminal
vesicle and vas deferens.
vesicles- are 2 glands producing fluid which
also mixes with the sperms.
is a single gland producing fluid which mixes
with the sperms.
It is thus that even after a male undergoes vasectomy
(sterilization, see section 4e) that sex is not
interfered with. There is still going to be semen
ejaculated out, but without the sperms. The fluid
from these outer glands form more than 90% of
the semen volume.
reproductive system with urinary tract
urethra (urinary passage)- is joined by the
ejaculatory ducts and hence acts as the final
passage for the sperms and seminal fluid,
up to the tip of the penis.
is the cylindrical organ for sexual intercourse.
It is limp in the usual state. During sexual
arousal, it becomes stiff and erect due to
collection of blood in the spongy parts of
the penis.At male orgasm, the semen with sperms
is ejected out of the tip of the penis.
babies is thought to be one of the natural
processes and step in one's life that is often
taken for granted. Sexual intercourse without
protection (contraception, see section 4)
can lead to pregnancy. Pregnancy can be a
source of great joy and fulfillment if it
is wanted and comes at the right time. Hence
planning a baby is often recommended. The
basic biology involved in reproduction is
that when the male gamete (sperm) meets the
female gamete(ovum) at the right time (midcycle)
and right place (fallopian tube) a pregnancy
will result (see section 3 for details).
fusion of the sperm carrying genetic material
(either 23 X, or 23Y) and the ovum carrying
genetic material (23X) leads to formation
of the zygote.
on the type of sperm either a female child
(46XX)will result, or a male child (46XY)
It is important to note that it is the father,not
the mother who is responsible for the sex of
joining the ovum,resulting in either sex
fertilisation takes place, which occurs in the
fallopian tube there is, rapid division of cells
in the zygote. The developing embryo travels towards
the uterine cavity. The lining of the uterus is
prepared to receive it by the action of hormone
estrogen and progesterone. These hormones come
from the ovary. If conditions are favourable,
the developing embryo settles down and burrows
into the uterine lining and starts growing further.
This process is called ‘implantation’ and usually
occurs six days after fertilisation
walls of the growing embryo secrete a unique hormone
hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin), which enters
the mothers blood stream and is also excreted
in her urine. This molecule hCG is detected by
It is important to remember that human reproduction
is basically inefficient!
is because there are so many factors involved,
of intercourse around ovulation.
- A healthy
sperm reaching and fertilising the egg.
- The fertilised
egg travelling to the uterine cavity.
- The uterine
lining (endometrium) being properly prepared
to receive the embryo.
development of the embryo under influence of
This is only
the beginning of the long journey. Many steps
are involved from here to actual maternity i.e.
delivering a healthy baby. The remaining sections
are meant to help you to know all about this voyage!
should be a mutually satisfying experience for
both partners. Although it is a "basic instinct"
it is not always as easy or natural to "do it"
as they say in movies or in books . Some minor
hiccups can get magnified if not dealt with in
time. It is often difficult for a person to talk
about unsatisfactory sex, but it is better to
be frank about it and seek help from a qualified
person (gynaecologist, family doctor, counsellor
or other medical person) in time.
studies suggest that failure to consummate marriage
is not an uncommon cause of infertility. Every
mature adult has the ability to respond sexually,
unless some physical disease or medication is
interfering. It is important to know that you
are not alone. Many sexually active men and women
may be having problems. Opening up the subject
with your doctor will be the first step to solve
first time/ ‘Suhaag Raat’:
Did the bells ring
an inexperienced couple, starting a new sexual
relationship, there may be some starting trouble.An
important step forward is recognising negative
emotions and tensions, and dealing with it. Many
couples may not manage to ‘do it’ right the very
may find that by the time you figure out what
is happening, the erection or arousal may be lost.
The girl may be nervous about experiencing pain
or bleeding at the first intercourse, may be from
the things she heard from her friends. This causes
more inhibition and secondary anxiety develops.
Using a lubricating cream or a jelly (K-Y jelly
or lignocaine) may help to make things easier.
steps forward gradually towards a more intimate
relationship will make your sexual life easy.
bleeding from the hymen usually stops within a
day. Local ointments (soframycin, neosporin) may
Fact or Fantasy?
fulfillment of the sexual drive, achieving a level
of pleasure that completely satisfies both the
partners is the aim.
are at a biological advantage: orgasm occurs simultaneously
with the ejaculation (the discharge of the semen
women, however there is no such well-defined biological
end point.Novels or movies convey orgasm to be
an experience akin to ‘bell ringing’, the world
spinning around you or a sensation of extreme
bliss or pleasure. However, this is something
difficult to express in the words.Women may experience
an orgasm, but may not realise it. Conversely,
some women may have never achieved it, but neither
they nor their partner have done anything about
it. Listen to your partner, follow your instincts
and be relaxed.
are important steps on the pathway to fulfillment.
Clitoral stimulation, adding more or different
types of foreplay may help. Finally each couple
has to find their own equation for a balanced,
fulfilling sexual relationship.
- Lack of arousal/sexual
excitement can be due to inappropriate surroundings,
stress, medical problems or drugs/medication.
Failure to achieve erection needs to be assessed.
- Premature ejaculation
and inability to sustain erection till the partner
is satisfied is also a problem interfering with
mutually satisfying sex.
- Secondary anxiety
can result from prior unsatisfactory experiences
with sex and lead to further difficulties due
PROBLEMS IN WOMEN
- Low libido or
low sexual appetite can occur in either partner
and is affected by the couple's circumstances,
age and emotional factors(anger,
depression, tiredness). It is related to the
frequency of sexual intercourse
- Dysparunia or
pain during sex is often a complaint at the
first few attempts at intercourse. Lack of adequate
lubrication is often a factor. If it persists,
organic causes like pelvic infection should
be ruled out.
- Lack of arousal
is usually shown by dryness in the vagina and
lack of lubrication, Both partners need to participate
more in foreplay to take care of this problem.
- Anorgasmia or
"frigidity" women have the capacity to be multiorgasmic
during intercourse. However the female partner
may not achieve orgasm during sex due to various
reasons. Change of position, foreplay and sympathetic
partner may help.
- "Fluor seminis"
many women complain of discharge of semen out
from the vagina after sex. However, some amount
of discharge is inevitable as the semen liquifies
- Vaginismus, a
rare but problematic condition where the vaginal
and perineal muscles go into spasm when intercourse
- Problems with
hymen: some bleeding may occur after first intercourse
normally. However a tough or resistant hymen
may be an obstacle to fruitful intercourse.
section attempts to deal with basic requirements
and difficulties in sex.If you feel you are having
problems it is better to consult your doctor for