Your Box Box

Vulva vs Vagina: the great term debate.

OK, before we get started I need to admit something.

I have a 13-year-old daughter and she refers to her nether regions as vagina.

And, quite frankly, until a few years ago I was pretty damn proud of this fact.  

I’m a mother who employs proper terminology.  

As a result we referred to her vagina as such.

Nary a ‘wee wee’ or ‘hoo hoo’ (or whatever the cutesy pet name du jour) was uttered when she was little.

And, again, I was pretty damn proud of that fact.

I mean, had you asked I was entirely clear the area we were referring to as vagina was vulva,  but for some reason I thought it didn’t matter.

Spoiler alert: it matters.

It’s taken this woman a little extra time to realize terminology is important when it comes to women’s bodies.

Spoiler alert: I'm late to the proverbial soiree.

The thing is, however, (and there’s always a ‘thing’ around here) I completely see why 2012 Carla would disagre.

I grasp why she’d contend even only when it comes to children is there not something to be said for the colloquial use of the term vagina?

I made the decision to arm my child with proper terminology, yet didn’t bring her all the way there.

I didn’t bother explaining vulva is the external ‘everything she sees’ while vagina refers only to the canal babies/menstrual flow travels and which connects the cervix to the uterus.

Does it really matter?

Let’s take a moment and consider the guy who attempted to mansplain the difference between a vagina and vulva (to a woman. to a DOCTOR.)

In that instance I saw it mattered tremendously. 

Terms Id, in a sense, used interchangeably with my daughter were clearly not that at all. 

For me it's about empowering and educating (I know, hear that around here much? :-) but it's TRUE!) when it comes to her.

If I armed her with the kindasortabutnotexactly wrong word am I doing her a disservice?

Is it a disservice if her peers use that same blanket term (thank you other non-cutesy word mamas!)?

As of the other night I'm officially going with the answer of yes.

I want her to intimately know and own all of her....right down to her vulva.

I'm not going to hit up Eve and rally for changing it to The Vulva Monologues as one of my heros did--but Im going to start where I live.

VULVA.

It’s terminology changing time around here.  

And you?

I want to know.

All of us here at YBB HQ wanna know.

What do YOU think?

Does it matter how we refer to our nether regions? 

If we refer to the whole shebang as vagina are we diminishing the pleasure power of the vulva-region?

Is it too much to expect our children to learn both terms?  

And is it enough to simply slash & burn the cutesy terminology?

What say YOU?

2 comments

Mar 06, 2019 • Posted by Michele O'Callaghan

I can’t stand the real names….oh we know them. I was a birth doula the whole time my kids were growing up. We talked about all kinds of things while eating supper. BUT we never use real term. Not me, not my daughter, nor my granddaughter. Our husbands and the men in the family avoid all discussion of anything below boobs, while referring to the penis and scrotums as a weiner, dong, junk or nut sacks. There again…they know the words, but recoil at the term. So its vajayjays, phouffers, front bums, kitties, box, and whatever other terms happen to pop out when discussing anything below the boobies. Oddly enough we are all pretty well adjusted people.

Feb 26, 2019 • Posted by Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

My daughter’s 31 and I don’t even remember what we called it. I know we never called it a vulva. Maybe because I drove a Volvo.

Leave a comment: