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The mons pubis is the rounded fleshy covering over the pubic symphysis, the joint of cartilage that unites the right and left pubic bones. Its appearance varies, generally in relation to the overall proportion of body fat, and is more pronounced in women than in men. Also referred to as mons, mons veneris, and the pubic mound, it cushions and protects the pubic bone, especially during intercourse. The term is derived from the Latin for "pubic mound," and is not gender-specific; by contrast, mons veneris translates from the Latin as "mound of Venus" or "mound of love," which is a far more feminine and evocative term. A colloquial term for this part of the female anatomy is "fanny hill," a punning allusion to "fanny" — a British word for the female genitals — and a reference to the well-known 18th-century British pornographic novel Fanny Hill, written by John Cleland.
All of the external organs of the female reproductive system are located between the mons pubis and the perineum. When girls reach puberty, the body's estrogen production causes the area to thicken and become covered in pubic hair. Generally, its appearance varies according to a woman's age, race, heredity, and the number of children she has had. The outer labia — known as the labia majora — extends from the lower reaches of the mons pubis. The triangular formation of hair on the mons and the labia majora is called the escutcheon.
In a pubescent male, the mons and the scrotal sac undergo these changes as well. While scientists are not certain of the purpose of pubic hair, it is thought that its function is to capture the oil secretions of the sebaceous glands located in the area. These glandular secretions contain pheromones, which are highly specific aromas that subtly communicate sexual availability and are powerful enough to prompt changes in the physiology or behavior of another member of the species.
This area of the body has not escaped the attention of cosmetic surgeons. One procedure, called the pubic lift, is known as a mons pubis rejuvenation. This lifting of a sagging mons is often done in conjunction with an abdominoplasty, commonly referred to as a tummy tuck. Aside from improving the appearance of the genitalia, the procedure sometimes has the added benefit of exposing the clitoris, which can lead to enhanced sexual satisfaction. Plastic surgeons will also perform liposuction on the are for patients dissatisfied with the size, shape, or appearance of this part of the genitals.
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