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What Is Female Anatomy?

By Tara Barnett
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Female anatomy is a term used to refer to the parts of the human body that belong solely to females rather than to both males and females. The female reproductive organs, for example, are considered female anatomy, but the heart and lungs are usually not. Sometimes this term is used euphemistically to refer only to parts of the body related to procreation and sexual attraction, but other times it is used more broadly to talk about the bodies of women in general, including those aspects held by men. As such, the precise meaning of this term depends on context.

Most of the time, female anatomy refers to those parts of the human body that belong to women but not men. Even some shared features, such as shoulders and hips, are considered part of the female body when talking about how those features relate specifically to women. While there are differences between the sexes of other species, it is almost always assumed that the species in question is human when talking about the anatomy of females unless otherwise specified.

The features most commonly identified as part of the female anatomy are reproductive organs and superficial anatomy. Breasts and all components of the female genitals are commonly identified as part of the female body. Internal reproductive organs, such as ovaries and developed mammary glands, are also considered part of the anatomy of females.

While sexual features are the most obvious, there are other features of anatomy that belong primarily to women as well, although these are not usually definitive in terms of differentiating between males and females. Females tend to have a different physical build than males, including different proportions and measurements. These anatomical features, however, differ much more between individuals and are not universal. For example, while many women exhibit more slender shoulders and wider thighs than men, some women have wide shoulders and thin thighs.

There are some concerns that the features used to differentiate male and female bodies are somewhat arbitrary and contextual. For example, it is possible for a female to have ambiguous superficial genitalia, possibly even with the appearance of a micropenis, but still be perfectly healthy in a medical sense. The idea that there is an ideal female anatomy, particularly with regard to sexual organs, often leads to confusion and poor decision making on the part of parents, sometimes even leading to unwarranted surgery on children who are healthy but for the appearance of abnormal genitals. As such, it is very important to think about which features truly constitute female anatomy and which are merely social constructions.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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