|But when is older, and who is there to teach her other than you?
You know, I grew up in a conservative small town, but the pamphlet produced by Kotex that was handed out in 6th grade in public school included a diagram of the female genitals with the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vagina, hymen, and vulva accurately labeled. Any girl interested enough to read that pamphlet thus learned this information. It was also presented in puberty/sex-ed classes I attended through church and Girl Scouts. My local public library had several anatomy texts with diagrams. I didn't take college biology, but my friends who did learned all the internal as well as external female structures. Parents are not the only possible source of this information, unless they home-school and keep their children away from these other sources.
I think it is fine for girls not to know the names of all their specific parts until they are preparing for puberty, unless they show curiosity before that.
|The vulva is the part of the female genitalia with all the nerve endings. It's the part where girls experience both good (and bad, but mostly good) sensations. We feel through our vulvas, often intensely. The vagina doesn't have nerve endings. Unless we're giving birth, we tend not to think about how they feel at all.
Speak for yourself, please. There may not be nerve endings (I haven't gone over the anatomical technicalities in a while) but that doesn't mean the entire vagina is numb. I at least have a lot of sensation in the outer half-inch and at the G-spot, and while that may technically be produced by nerve endings in other organs being rubbed through the vaginal wall, I certainly perceive it as sensation in the vagina. When my period starts, I can feel trickles into the lower vagina and get to the bathroom before any flow comes out. Oh, and there's the aching I used to feel by the third day of my period when I used tampons, which I can only describe as "aching vagina". So don't count me in the "we" who never think about how our vaginas feel.
|And I think little girls need to know what their vulvas are and what they're for not just so they can accurately describe abuse if need be, but so they can figure out what feels good to them and what they like as they grow and later when they're sexually active adults. So they can be confident and comfortable with their own bodies and all the complexities of their bodies. It's hard to give your child that gift if you mask the entire complex, feeling genital area with a single word.
What, you mean a single word like "vulva"?
Seems to me you don't need to know words to experience sensations. Judy Blume has written about how she was not taught any words for her genitals until she was a teenager yet figured out for herself years earlier that she had a "special place" and found that when she discussed it with her friends, they all had special places too.
Information is good. I just can't agree that a girl who doesn't know the scientific terms for each of her genital structures can't figure out what feels good and must be afraid of and uncomfortable with her body. She'll have a little trouble discussing it in words, but that won't impair her fingers or her lover's.
And I KNOW from my personal experience that a girl who thinks of her whole genital area as her "vagina" has no trouble exploring and enjoying it!
|Maybaby is a woman who has given birth to her own child not knowing what the word labia meant. And you'll note that, just like me, it is her aim to teach her child so that she won't feel the same shame about those body parts that she was raised with. For both her and me, the decision of our parents to leave our body parts unnamed or mis-named has indeed caused distress and confusion.
I agree that letting a daughter get all the way to adulthood without making sure she gets this information is problematic. Teaching shame about the body parts is a bit different from just not talking about them because it doesn't happen to come up, but the two issues definitely play off each other: If you don't make a point of naming those parts, your daughter may think it's because they're shameful; if you project the attitude that those parts are shameful, your daughter is less likely to dare to ask what they're called.
Maybaby, I have to ask: Did you have no books about puberty, biology, women's health, or childbirth that had diagrams of female genitals? I've seen so many of them that it seems like it would be hard to get to adulthood without ever seeing one. Were you just not as curious as me?