The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (plural vulvae or vulvas).
The main portions of the vulva consist of two sets of fleshy "lips", known as labia. The labia majora are on the outside, and provide protection to the internal genital structures in the form of padding. The inner lips are the labia minora, and function as both a covering for the actual vagina, or "birth canal", and to assist in the lubrication of the penis during sexual intercourse.
In common speech, the term vagina is often used to refer to the vulva or female genitals generally, although, strictly speaking, the vagina is a specific internal structure, whereas the vulva is the exterior genitalia.
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