Do you know what a vagina is? It’s a Latin word meaning ‘sheath’ or ‘place to rest your sword’.
Therefore, often when people say vagina they will have ‘NO! VULVA!’ shouted at them online.
But actually the vulva is only the female external genitalia; the lips and clit and stuff – it does not include the vagina. So really, both are inadequate. Who even cares? Well, many object to the use of to vagina to refer to the whole Department, because it is seen as mancentric, because that’s the bit men can put their dick in. However, I disagree, because this implies that the vagina is only useful for men, which it’s not. It leads to your cervix, it can give you orgasms, you can hide drugs in it… (not recommending that). Vaginas are special, we can celebrate them regardless.
I had a phase of correcting everyone EVERYDAMNTIME they said vagina, whilst wearing a gold necklace that said ‘Cunt’ which I would point to and shove in their faces. But really, when you correct someone what you’re saying is ‘oh look how much more educated and liberal I am than you; you don’t even the know the etymology of vagina, you must be having awfully disappointing sex daaaahling.’
Maybe neither word is entirely adequate.
Cunt. Fanny. Pussy. They are.
As Jordan Stephens points out “using the term pussy to describe someone cowardly is like using the name Amazon to describe someone who pays taxes”. Pussies are strong. “I want to be a pussy” he adds.
I took this idea a bit further a few years ago and vowed not to use any words that related to genitalia or sex or masturbation as insults; because at a micro level it still serves to reinforce shame. So wanker, dick, prick, all these satisfying words were off the menu.
I reasoned that ‘fuck’ was fine, because its quite an aggressive word for sex, as was dickhead, because most people wouldn’t want their dick on their head no matter how proud they were of it, and I still called people arseholes, because although they can be greatly appreciated in a sexual way, theres no denying that they’re often full of shit (shit was still on the menu too).
Having a word we can loudly and proudly use to describe what’s below our bush is essential. We can talk about it without being awkward, embarrassed or apologetic, and we can confidently ask for what we want done with it.
Here are some suggestions
You say vagina I say:
Quivering Mound of Love Pudding (mentioned this to a friend and he thought I’d said ‘quivering mound of blood pudding’)
You say penis I say:
Sausage and Chips
You say masturbating I say:
Brewing My Own Tea
Dialling ‘O’ on The Pink Telephone
Language is powerful and the reason why we may not know the right word to use, or use the right word as an insult, is because we’re not entirely comfortable with all our bits and pieces.
Women try too hard to make theirs tiny and cute and soft, whereas men feel like theirs aren’t allowed to be tiny and cute and soft. When in fact, we should all just acknowledge that YES our bits are pretty freaking mad to behold, but they are also lovely.
Google is being hassled with questions about penis enlargement, labiaplasty is the world’s largest growing plastic surgery and anal bleaching is casually becoming a trend. We need to chill. Maybe your clit is huge and your dick is small – so what?! Can you still give and receive pleasure? Of course you can, so there is no problem. Anyone who says otherwise can go home and brew their own tea, and think about what issues they are projecting unto others.
Choose your favourite words and come to terms with how stuff looks down there, although this isn’t necessarily easy I’ll grant you. Maybe you have some OCD you need to work on. Maybe you need to cast off some shame. If so, write down a list of bad things you subconsciously believe about sex or genitals or wanking, so you can see how unhelpful or ridiculous they are, and then make a new list of positive statements. Cringe, perhaps, but no one has to know you’re doing it.
The most powerful things in life are both terrifying and beautiful.
So stop being a fuckhead, go jazz your juicer, and toss someone’s family jewels in your vitals.