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  • Writer's pictureKaren Bigman

Delores? Mulva?

If you’re reading this article, you remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry can’t remember his girlfriend’s name, only that it rhymes with a female body part. As long as I can remember, men have been referring to their genitalia with nicknames: Johnson, Dick, Rod, pistol, junk, prick…the list goes on. You see, to men, the penis is the most important organ of their body so they give it lots of love ❤️.

Women on the other hand, have been taught to hide their genitalia. The word “pudendum”, (the external genitals) is derived from a Latin word that means “to be ashamed.” The thinking behind this “shame” was that women’s genitalia are internal vs. men’s that are external. Therefore, it is meant to be hidden. In fact, the reason our reproductive organs are internal, is so that we can house a fetus.

Why the shame around women’s bodies? What makes it so difficult for us to have conversations about our sexual organs? Why do women shy away from about sex and men brag about theirs?

The problem begins with how sex is taught-if it’s taught at all! Until I became a Menopause Coach and started doing research, I didn’t know that the external genitals on a woman are called the “vulva.”

The area between a woman’s legs is typically referred to as the vagina. I always used that language. In reality, the vagina is well, the vagina. The opening of the vagina is in the vulva. The vagina is the area between your vulva and cervix which leads to the uterus, ovaries and ovarian tubes.

Meet your Vulva

(Diagram courtesy of Planned Parenthood)

As you can see from the diagram above, the “vulva” is much more than a vagina. It includes your Mons pubis (the hairy or not so hairy part below your belly button), the clitoral hood (just the tip of the iceberg), the urethral (where pee comes out) and vaginal openings (where babies come out), the labia majora – outer lips and the labia minora – inner lips which begin at your clitoris and end under the opening of your vagina and, sometimes included in the vulva definition, the Anus.

There’s a lot more going on down there than just a vagina!

Female bonus: The Clitoris – let’s get under the hood

Contrary to popular belief, the “clitoris” is not just that little tip sticking out at the top of your vulva. In fact, the clitoris extends around the entire vagina internally, like a wish bone. The part that sticks out is called the “clitoral hood.” The little tip of clitoris has somewhere around 10,000 nerves! The sole purpose of the clitoris is for female pleasure. It plays no other role in the reproductive system.

Some people refer to it as the “female penis” since it’s made up of the same tissue as the penis. I like to refer to the penis as the male clitoris.

When a woman becomes aroused, her clitoris swells and gets hard, just like a penis. A little known (which should be a very well known) fact: over 80% (some argue even more) of women need clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm - vaginal penetration is not enough for most women.

Now that you know a little bit more about your anatomy, it’s time to spread the word. A little nomenclature goes a long way.

Have questions about sex or menopause?

Email me: SUBJECT: Tell me the truth!

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