January 29, 2013

It is incredible to me that this culture does not have a good complete word to talk about our most intimate female parts.

As a culture we most often use the term vagina to refer to our lady parts. However, technically the vagina is just the internal structure, the muscular canal between the vulva and the uterus, ending at the cervix. It famously means “sheath” in latin. The problem with this term is the complete omission of the entire structure of the vulva. This means we are verbally omitting our clitoris when we speak of our genitals, making invisible where most women experience orgasmic pleasure completely.

Technically the vulva is exclusively the external genitalia,  primarily the two sets of labia and the structure of the clitoris. The labia’s also have ill-fitting names. There are two sets, the labia majora and the labia minora.  The labia majora translates as the “larger or outer lips” and the labia minora refers to the “smaller or inner lips”. There are such a huge range of vulva shapes and sizes, with many women having inner lips being larger than the outer lips and these names can set women up to feel like they have incorrect or wrong genitalia. It is not the labia that are incorrect or deviant but the words we use to describe them inadequate and incomplete.

As precious as the female body is you would think we could come up with one word to inclusively name and honor the whole genital area, as if it all matters, because it does.

We need a new term, a new word to describe the totality of the female genitals in all its pleasure-making, beautiful, diverse glory.

Any suggestions?

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