If you are a female and are reading this article, we have something in common. We may look different, sound different, and have different backgrounds, but we are the same in at least one way: we have a vagina. That’s right. Vagina. There, I’ve said it and written it for everyone to see.
If this makes you uncomfortable, then this post is for you.
You would be amazed (or maybe not if you spend time around small children) at all the different names people come up with to describe this piece of anatomy simply to avoid saying the word vagina. Cookie, pocketbook, front butt, flower, Queen Victoria, Vajayjay, the V, and the list goes on and on with some truly nasty and derogatory names thrown in. Why anyone would feel comfortable calling their vagina a cookie is beyond me. Then again, wearing leggings without a shirt to cover your bottom is beyond me too.
Now that it’s 2018, can we finally drop all that preschool nonsense and use the proper names for our own bodies? No more of this pearl clutching when someone says vagina or penis or even…*gasp* clitoris. I mean, chances are, if you are an adult, then you’ve put these parts to good use, so let’s just get rid of the taboo surrounding our bodies.
If you have children like I do, then using the correct terminology is incredibly important.
- When we use names other than vagina, testicles, penis, vulva, etc., we’re saying in some form that those are parts we can’t talk about. We are sending a message that those parts are somehow taboo and shameful. We all want our children to be comfortable and confident in their own skin. A large part of building that foundation is giving them the correct information about their own anatomy. We don’t want our kids to squirm and be embarrassed when they hear (or use) the proper names for their body parts.
- There is much factual research out there to support the fact that when kids know and use the proper anatomical names for their genitals, it can discourage sexual predators. (Notice I said discourage, not eliminate.) Predators look for ways to blur the lines of sexual boundaries by reducing the important of a child’s genitals. When we teach proper names of body parts, we lend them the importance and respect they deserve. We are equipping our children with ownership of their body and that’s never a bad thing. God forbid if the unthinkable should happen, using the correct language to describe what happened can aid law enforcement in catching the predator.
- When our children feel comfortable with their body it can lead to more open and direct conversations. I can already see this with my own four-year old — there have been many conversations about questions she has and it hasn’t been awkward. It’s normal. Imagine your teenager being able to have a frank discussion with you about questions of a sexual nature. Would you rather they come to you and get the information or go to their friends or the internet? Who knows what their friends will tell them or what they’ll find on the internet? Establishing ease when speaking about body parts can keep the lines of communication open.
There are so many other incredibly important reasons for using proper terminology when it comes to genitals I could write a novel listing them. Let me ask you this: did this post make you uncomfortable? Did you cringe a little reading all those technical terms? Do you get ‘weirded out’ talking to your child about their elbow, knee, or their stomach? No? Then ask yourself why you feel uncomfortable talking to your child about their genitals. They are simply body parts that perform a function. They are only ‘weird’ or uncomfortable if you give them that meaning.
This article has been using ‘vagina’ as a catch all term of the female anatomy, but actually the vulva is the term for the external female genitalia (includes the clitoris, labia, and urethral openings). I have met grown women who don’t know the individual parts of their own genitalia. Talk about embarrassing. Don’t do that to your children. Save them the embarrassment of someone else knowing more about their own body than they do.