I rarely think of my vulva without my vagina, but I can consider it solo and I have an emotional reaction to it that is separate from my vagina. My vulva is more than the sum of its parts (its parts being my mons, two pairs of labia, clitoris, urethra, vaginal opening or "introitus," and the various floor space in and around these parts). Taken all together, my vulva can be gripped in a satisfying way, and it presents more of the qualities of foldedness, softness, complexity and activity than any of the parts do alone.
I think of my vulva as an active body part, which may or may not be a common conception in the public (talking puppets vs. passive foyers to passive orifices?). For one thing, my vulva is sensitive and through it I am aware of many things, even when dressed. A few of the things I can gauge with my vulva are what it is up to, whether there is a draft, the state of my pubic hair, where my clothes are bunching up, something about my hormone levels, what turns me on, and how that feels.
The clitoris gets the most attention as an active component of the vulva, busy getting erections and providing motivations. The other players seem active to me, too: lips inflate, protect, and sense things; even the very opening of my vagina can trap things or spit them out; my urethra is all about peeing on or in things. My vulva gives me the impression of a system. It's up to something.
Fundamentally, I feel like my vulva can do a lot of things. Or I can do a lot of things with my vulva. Inside its deceptively cushy covering, parts of it can get erect, excrete substances, lubricate, trigger orgasms, squeeze, push, and surround. Adding my vagina into the equation multiplies most of those verbs significantly. Powerhouse genitals!
Feeling this way about my vulva doesn't consciously guide my daily actions, or have much impact on my life except in the general sense that it is something I am happy about and don't worry about. But, I am glad that when I spend time with my vulva my overall sense is happiness.
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