Jun 142010

I’ve got some pretty major pet peeves when it comes to the written word, particularly when talking about sex. I wrote about all the sex slang words I hate, but the incorrect use of “vagina” when what is actually meant to be “vulva” is really friggin irritating. And I don’t just hear men saying it, I see it from a lot of women.

And I boggle to try and figure out why they word it that way.

You cannot, really and truly cannot, literally shave your vagina. You are shaving your vulva, your mons, your pubic region but most assuredly NOT your vagina.

While gathering photos and links from Wikipedia, I came across this article from 2003 which was written in part because of language used in The Vagina Monologues. I’ve never seen/read/heard this play, so I’ll have to take her word for it, but the point remains the same. Vulva and vagina are not interchangeable.

Let’s have a little anatomy lesson, shall we?

From the Wikipedia page on “Vagina“:

The word vagina is quite often incorrectly used to refer to the vulva or female genitals generally; strictly speaking, the vagina is a specific internal structure.

From the Wikipedia page on “Vulva“:

The vulva has many major and minor anatomical structures, including the labia majora, mons pubis, labia minora, clitoris, bulb of the vestibule, vestibule of the vagina, greater and lesser vestibular glands, and vaginal orifice. Its development occurs during several phases, chiefly the fetal and pubertal periods. As the outer portal of the human uterus or womb, it protects its opening by a “double door”: the labia majora (large lips) and the labia minora (small lips). The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, sustaining healthy microbial flora that flow from the inside out; the vulva needs only simple washing to assure good vulvovaginal health, without recourse to any internal cleansing or douching.

I’m not going to post the photos from the Wikipedia pages on here, you can see them for yourself there. I wanted to particularly point out one that I found to be fascinating (ok, and a bit arousing if I’m honest, I am a full-fledged perv after all): Comparison photo of the same vulva in an aroused and unaroused state. Why am I fascinated? In part it’s in the same way that watching close-up video of a woman orgasming is fascinating/erotic to me. But I can’t say that I’ve ever taken such a comparison photo or noticed such a difference on my own body from unaroused to aroused.