Also known as “bodies with internal genitalia”. What are the ins and outs of this system?
The “reproductive system” – the parts of the body that allow people to make babies and have sexual pleasure – is maybe the most amazing AND the most complicated.
In this section, we want to give you a chance to learn about the reproductive system – including its different parts and how they work together. Getting to know and understand your body will allow you to take control of your body and get the healthcare you need. In other sections, we’ll talk about sex and relationships, sexual pleasure, body image, learning what makes our bodies feel good, and more!
What is a reproductive system?
It’s a collection of body parts and organs on the inside and outside of the body that plays a role in a variety of bodily processes, like menstruation, sex, and pregnancy. In these sections you’ll learn the names of different body structures, (you might already know this as anatomy) as well as what these structures do (which is physiology).
The language WINK uses when talking about these systems
The reproductive systems that WINK talks about are commonly described as “female” and “male” systems. On this website, we have moved away from these terms, to acknowledge that there is more variation and complexity in how reproductive systems look and function. Instead of “female reproductive system,” you will see the phrases “bodies with a vulva and ovaries” or “bodies with internal genitalia”. Instead of “male reproductive system,” we will be using "bodies with a penis and testicles” or bodies with external genitalia”. Head to Gender Spectrum to learn more about gender-inclusive language related to bodies and puberty and for more resources about gender and identity.
The ‘Sex Anatomy Spectrum’ describes how there are far more than two types of bodies, which can help us understand our uniqueness. Everyone’s bodies are going to look and behave differently from one another and these differences are totally expected. They’re a part of human diversity!
Gender identity and anatomy
A person’s gender identity is separate from the anatomy they have. For instance, a person having a vagina and ovaries doesn’t mean that they identify as a woman. We've provided more information about gender, sexuality, and identity that you can explore. Bodies that are assigned female at birth (AFAB), often have a common set of organs and functions that make up their reproductive system, while bodies assigned male at birth (AMAB), typically have another set. While these systems are common, they do not capture the experiences of many people whose bodies look and function differently. People who do not fall comfortably within the two systems presented on this site often identify as intersex. Click here to learn more about the term intersex and how the Sex Anatomy Spectrum can be helpful when thinking about these topics.
Now, let’s take a look at the different external (visible) and internal parts of these reproductive systems.