There, we made you say it, 3 times. It’s not that hard is it? Or did you cringe when you read it? Are you retreating away from the rest of this piece because the word makes you want to bring up a little bit of vom in your mouth? Well don’t. Keep reading. It’s very short, won’t take you long but hopefully will change your whole approach.
The word is a word. It's also a part of the female body, which is beautiful. And we are also causing huge damage to a future generation by misinforming them about vulvas and making them think it’s a shameful word. It’s not. It’s a word.
(Can you tell we feel strongly about this topic?)
Say it again. Vulva vulva vulva.
Why is it that it’s fine to say vagina and not vulva? It blows our sexually fired up minds that so many people believe that vulva is just colloquialism that we use the word vagina for everything.
They are different body parts!
Does it really matter which word you use? Yes!
In short, the vulva is external including your clitoris, urethra and labia and the vagina. Your wee comes out of this. So even before attaching a sexual conotation to it, it’s a fairly important body part. It's somewhat incredible that a word that really is just a word describing body parts has encountered so much censorship.
Errr so what is my vagina then? Good question. It’s the muscular canal that connects the uterus to the vulva. Babies fly out (hopefully smoothly) through it, as does your period.
There’s a good argument to be made for using the correct terminology when it comes to sexual health and a woman’s personal authority over her body. If we’re not using the correct words can we really make sense of what we feel and know?
Surely kids should be able to label their body parts correctly too? All this ‘foo foo’ and ‘tinkle’ chat is all well and good but it’s damaging. There really are no ‘kiddie’ words for vulva so we go one step further, fluff over it and wrap it into whatever phrase we’ve decided to use to stem our own blushes. Even if you consider yourself bold and you’re using the word ‘vagina’ you’re misleading them.
The female body has a vulva. It contains a clitoris, labia, urethra and the vagina. It’s the whole shebang.
“That’s called your vulva.”
We dare you. Say it. Keep saying it. The bit where you want to scrub out your mouth with soap will eventually pass and it’ll roll off the tongue.
If you can say Volvo you can say vulva.
And we’ll leave you with this tweet from a fellow vulva fan.
“Telling your daughter her vulva is her vagina is like telling your son he has testicles and no penis and then just calling his penis his testicles cos you think saying penis as well is too much. It’s just a word. Vulva. Hard for me to say too, but that’s cos of history. Say it”.