What name do you use for private parts? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a question that came up recently in discussion with friends. Lots of people seem to avoid the straightforward terms and go for something silly or cute like wee wee. I also learned that  "fanny" is offensive in the UK. It also seems that many people seem embarrassed to use terms like vagina and penis. So, my question is what do you use? 


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Old 07-06-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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We used terms like vulva, penis, vagina to name those parts when DD was learning the correct names for boys and girls parts. Now we typically use slang but she also knows the actual names.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:53 PM
 
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Similar to what one_girl said. I will use the correct terms educationally and if there's something specific that needs to be addressed, but otherwise I have been very general, as in "don't touch your bottom in public" or "wipe your bottom" where "bottom" could refer to any part of the privates.

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Old 07-06-2013, 04:29 PM
 
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Vulva, labia, penis and scrotum were fine for us. Yes, it leads to odd looks in the supermarket when your kid blurts out something but oh well, that's life with kids.


BTW, vagina is inaccurate in its use for raising children. One needs to talk about a vagina in terms of sex or childbearing... not in diapering or changing clothes. It upsets me when moms think they are teaching their kids "correct" terms when they in fact are teaching their kids incorrectly.
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Old 07-06-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

BTW, vagina is inaccurate in its use for raising children. One needs to talk about a vagina in terms of sex or childbearing... not in diapering or changing clothes. It upsets me when moms think they are teaching their kids "correct" terms when they in fact are teaching their kids incorrectly.

 

Very true. Vagina is commonly and inaccurately used as a general word referring to the female private parts.  nod.gif It doesn't upset me but I see your point. 


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Old 07-15-2013, 07:49 PM
 
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I totally agree with you about the misuse of "vagina", Philomom. It grates on my nerves and upsets me. I have a two year old so I'm still working on what I'll go with but it certainly won't be "vagina".
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:16 PM
 
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We use the correct names for genitals here, but DS seems mostly uninterested. The only one he uses is penis.


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Old 07-15-2013, 08:49 PM
 
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I use crotch, which I know isn't the most lovely word, but it's general and gender neutral, so I feel like it works well in most everyday situations (i.e. "Wipe your crotch!")  My DD (3) knows that boys and girls crotches are different, that she has a vulva and boys have a penis.  I think I've throws "urethra" out there at some point when she's asked where the pee comes out.  I'm sure she doesn't remember that one, though.  I haven't found a reason to mention "vagina" yet.  I mean, it just doesn't come up.  I'm guessing I should just call her attention to it and teach it to her at some point.  Sigh.  Private part names are so annoying to me. Why don't we have appropriate, correct common names for them instead of having to use Latin or whatever?  Personal rant over. 

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Old 07-15-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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Newmamalizzy I like crotch. It may well end up being my go to word. I wish there was a less abrasive synonym though too
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:56 PM
 
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I use "labia" for external female genitalia. Penis for boys, unless we're talking about some other part. I've used crotch as a general term.


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Old 07-17-2013, 08:51 PM
 
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Penis

Vagina

Vulva etc

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Old 07-17-2013, 09:41 PM
 
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I haven't taught my kids the proper words but it's because I dislike the terms listed, they're too technical to me. Out of all of them, I absolutely hate saying vulva. I think it's how the Vs feel coming out of my mouth. I'd much rather call it the mons. It's like having a child say abdominus recti instead of simply stomach or belly. So yeah crotch might be good for me.

ETA: sorry Newmamalizzy, just reread the thread and saw you already mentioned the whole Latin thing. What's that saying about great minds?
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:28 PM
 
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Penis, vulva.  My son, 5.5 years, also knows many of his other "parts", foreskin, glans, urethra, scrotum, testes, and anus.  My daughter, 3.5, knows vulva, urethra, vagina, and sometimes clitoris.


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Old 07-18-2013, 03:18 AM
 
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Penis and vulva here. She hasn't asked but, when she does we will use vagina, scrotum etc.

I also use bottom as a collective term for day to day things ie "wipe your bottom"

DH and I are both nurses though so she knows lots of body parts and calls the crook of her elbow her cubital fossa so we are a bit nerdy in this area.

ETA - this question gets asked about every 6 months on here and this time I'm going to try really hard not to get into an argument about vulva vs vagina.

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Old 07-18-2013, 03:28 AM
 
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I'm one of those annoying moms who just teaches her daughter "vagina" as a collective term. I feel this is good enough until she's older and more interested in the specific parts. This is how i was taught (i knew "vagina" and then around the time i reached puberty i became interested in the specific parts, labia majora and minora, urethra, etc). If i ever have a boy, we will teach him "penis" and "testicles" until he's older and more interested in his specific parts.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:24 AM
 
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"Vulva" here, unless I am being more specific.

 

Mainly the reason I posted is because I'm reading "Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing" by Melissa Mohr, and the first chapter is all about ancient Rome.  Apparently all the words being mentioned (and many, many more) were considered obscene at that time.  It took Latin dying and eventually being used by the educated (men, usually, especially in the case of words for genitalia) for these words to be resurrected as "proper" terms without any obscene connotations.  

 

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Old 07-21-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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Shamefully I'm a vagina user.  I know it's wrong, but it was a habit I could never break.  No worries though dd prefers "business" for all of it.  Front business and back business if she feels the need to be specific.  

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Old 07-21-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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I was raised to say "vulva" and "penis" and that is what I'm teaching my daughter. She just turned 2 and knows that she has a vulva and Mommy has a vulva but Daddy has a penis. She has reached a stage where she will volunteer obvious information about her own and other people's body parts ("Mommy have feet", "Baby have eyes", etc.) so I figure it's just a matter of time before she makes such a statement about genitals, but oh well. I'll probably use "private parts" once we get to the stage where she understands better that you can call the same thing by more than one term. It surprises me that some people refer to the genitals as "bottom". I never ran across that usage and really did not understand why the nurses at the hospital wanted to "check my bottom" postpartum. I think in a medical setting a more accurate term should be used. But that's kind of off-topic. 

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Old 07-21-2013, 03:39 PM
 
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Shamefully I'm a vagina user.  I know it's wrong, but it was a habit I could never break.  No worries though dd prefers "business" for all of it.  Front business and back business if she feels the need to be specific.  

It is not shameful to teach "vagina" as a collective term. Why everyone harps on that particular term, i dont know. There are lot of other terms out there that really do not help educate. Vagina is very benign when it communicate a girl's genitalia. No, it doesn't teach everything, but neither does "vulva" and i know of several mothers who only teach that term. Also, when they are very young, there is not as much of a need for them to know all of the medical terminology. Neither vulva nor vagina are everything when it comes to female genitalia and used together they still do not pinpoint all of the parts. Its like teaching someone that they have an arm and a hand, ignoring the fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, forearm and upper arm. So either one or both is not doing female genitalia justice. Also, kids will take an interest when they're ready. It truly is enough to teach them a basic collective term and then when they're older they will naturally take a stronger interest.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:19 PM
 
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It is not shameful to teach "vagina" as a collective term. Why everyone harps on that particular term, i dont know. There are lot of other terms out there that really do not help educate. Vagina is very benign when it communicate a girl's genitalia. No, it doesn't teach everything, but neither does "vulva" and i know of several mothers who only teach that term. Also, when they are very young, there is not as much of a need for them to know all of the medical terminology. Neither vulva nor vagina are everything when it comes to female genitalia and used together they still do not pinpoint all of the parts. Its like teaching someone that they have an arm and a hand, ignoring the fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, forearm and upper arm. So either one or both is not doing female genitalia justice. Also, kids will take an interest when they're ready. It truly is enough to teach them a basic collective term and then when they're older they will naturally take a stronger interest.


I don't think its benign to teach a word in its wrong usage. Vagina is the inside part... its like saying your squishy is turned inside out. No one touches or even sees your vagina except your lover, midwife or your molester. For casual use and the part you may see while changing or diapering ... vulva or labia is the correct term! Grrr!
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:24 PM
 
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I don't think its benign to teach a word in its wrong usage. Vagina is the inside part... its like saying your squishy is turned inside out. No one touches or even sees your vagina except your lover, midwife or your molester. For casual use and the part you may see while changing or diapering ... vulva or labia is the correct term! Grrr!

Yes, I understand that. Did you read everything i wrote?

To put more simply, "vulva" doesn't teach everything, either. Even using "vulva" and "vagina" together doesn't help educate that which encompasses female genitalia (see my arm and hand analogy). So if you're going to be nitpicky, you might as well go the full extent or not at all.

Also, i have not encountered as much hostility and judgment when it comes to naming body parts than with female genitalia. I think this has to do with the shame about the body parts themselves rather than the actual names. Its just easier to fixate on the labels rather than look at the underlying issues.

I just noticed you used the term "squishy". I hope you're joking. You just made a big deal about "vagina" and then you called it "your squishy being inside out".

I do not agree that only "your lover, midwife or your molester" are the only times when its touched or seen. You make it sound like this part belongs to other people, which is very disturbing. Self-exploration shouldn't be denied or glossed over. The vagina is a very important part of female genitalia because it is the part of us that is private, leads to our womb, allows menstrual blood to be flushed out every month, helps a baby come into the world, and is a huge source of pleasure, both with and without a partner. When i wipe myself and my daughter, i do not just wipe the vulva, i also wipe across the vaginal opening. Its important for girls to learn to wipe from front to back precisely because of the vaginal opening. Yeast infections happen inside the vagina and other infections can happen there, too. This shouldn't be ignored nor trivialized and especially not shamed.

The vagina is a great source of power and pride. Please do not belittle it or try to ignore it.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:42 PM
 
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Yes, I understand that. Did you read everything i wrote?

To put more simply, "vulva" doesn't teach everything, either. Even using "vulva" and "vagina" together doesn't help educate that which encompasses female genitalia (see my arm and hand analogy). So if you're going to be nitpicky, you might as well go the full extent or not at all.

Well, as your child grows you can add urethra, clitoris and all kinds of other words. My kids both male and female knew all their parts. Yes, everyone uses shorthand words sometimes but its no excuse for your parents not teaching you the right words to parts all humans have. Even if you as the parent are squeamish on the subject.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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Well, as your child grows you can add urethra, clitoris and all kinds of other words. My kids both male and female knew all their parts. Yes, everyone uses shorthand words sometimes but its no excuse for your parents not teaching you the right words to parts all humans have. Even if you as the parent are squeamish on the subject.

I just added more to my previous comment. I didn't see that you had already commented, so read what i wrote if you like.

Also, the majority of people who commented on this thread alone only use the term "vulva". You are doing the exact same thing you don't like.
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:36 PM
 
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Sigh, I never said your vagina belongs to other people. I'm just saying your vagina is not "out there" for casual touching, cleaning, changing that most of us do when parenting small children.

And I never said self-exploration or vaginas were shameful in any way, shape or form. I love mine but its never seen by anyone but my midwife or hubby. I've never had yeast infections or any troubles. That sounds terrible for you.

You really seem to have an ax to grind here but I guess I do, too. So its even.

I just want to encourage all new parents out there to use the real and correct terminology with their children! I think its very, very important!joy.gif
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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A vulva is the most obvious visible part and the first part that you interact with. As a girl grows she can be taught more terms, but I think not starting with vulva is a mistake. Thanks to the Vagina Monologues and probably other things as well, I think the word "vagina" is more out there than it used to be but a lot of people still seem to get squeamish about "vulva", which bugs me. 

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Old 07-21-2013, 08:07 PM
 
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Sigh, I never said your vagina belongs to other people. I'm just saying your vagina is not "out there" for casual touching, cleaning, changing that most of us do when parenting small children.

And I never said self-exploration or vaginas were shameful in any way, shape or form. I love mine but its never seen by anyone but my midwife or hubby. I've never had yeast infections or any troubles. That sounds terrible for you.

You really seem to have an ax to grind here but I guess I do, too. So its even.

I just want to encourage all new parents out there to use the real and correct terminology with their children! I think its very, very important!joy.gif

WTH? "That sounds terrible for me"? I was giving examples of why its important to not neglect the term and education of the vagina, and for some reason you made what i said about me personally. How odd.

You can sigh all you want to, but your statement is, in fact, indicative of saying that that body part doesn't have any purpose except in relation to others. You are inadvertently teaching any daughters you may have this because of your approach.

So these "small children" you speak of? Do they not have any interest in their vaginas? When do you decide that its okay to teach them about it? Just because the vagina is not "out there" for parents to touch doesn't mean the child is unaware of it. Its not about the parents, its about the child and their experience. If you really stopped and thought about it, you might realize that their experience is or will be much wider than going potty.

Yeah, lets jump for joy for correct terminology. This is why i apparently have "an axe to grind" because i am sick of threads like these popping up and it is filled with mostly a chorus of "vulva" with barely any mention of "vagina". On top of that people get all worked up about "vagina", especially if it is used alone, even though that's what they're doing with "vulva". It is hypocritical and obnoxious. But, hey, i guess "squishy" works, too, right?
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:23 PM
 
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A vulva is the most obvious visible part and the first part that you interact with. As a girl grows she can be taught more terms, but I think not starting with vulva is a mistake. Thanks to the Vagina Monologues and probably other things as well, I think the word "vagina" is more out there than it used to be but a lot of people still seem to get squeamish about "vulva", which bugs me. 

I actually see more people getting squeamish about "vagina". They act like its a dirty word. There is nothing remotely dirty about it. Which term to teach first is a debatable issue, just because something can be more easily seen doesn't give it precedence over something else. For example, the stomach and intestines cant be seen but a lot of people, including kids, have issues with them. Does that mean we shouldn't teach the terms because they can't see them? Some little girls enjoy playing with and sticking things in their vaginas and they don't pay much attention to their vulvas. So before you assume a one-size-fits-all for every girl, maybe you shouldn't make a big deal about individual choices.
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Old 07-21-2013, 09:40 PM
 
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The question was "what name for private parts?". I said "vulva" because it is the collective term we have taught our daughter. It doesn't mean it's the only term we've taught. As others have said, it is the most obvious part and, for her, the part she noticed first. As she has asked more and as things have come up we have added new words. The vocabulary evolves as she grows and explores.

I imagine my second daughter will have some of these terms earlier because she will hear her sister using them.

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Old 07-22-2013, 05:24 AM
 
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Bravo! I can't believe someone is getting upset about vagina but uses squishy. Also, "how terrible for you" is incredibly condescending and presumptuous. Mdc at its best!

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WTH? "That sounds terrible for me"? I was giving examples of why its important to not neglect the term and education of the vagina, and for some reason you made what i said about me personally. How odd.

You can sigh all you want to, but your statement is, in fact, indicative of saying that that body part doesn't have any purpose except in relation to others. You are inadvertently teaching any daughters you may have this because of your approach.

So these "small children" you speak of? Do they not have any interest in their vaginas? When do you decide that its okay to teach them about it? Just because the vagina is not "out there" for parents to touch doesn't mean the child is unaware of it. Its not about the parents, its about the child and their experience. If you really stopped and thought about it, you might realize that their experience is or will be much wider than going potty.

Yeah, lets jump for joy for correct terminology. This is why i apparently have "an axe to grind" because i am sick of threads like these popping up and it is filled with mostly a chorus of "vulva" with barely any mention of "vagina". On top of that people get all worked up about "vagina", especially if it is used alone, even though that's what they're doing with "vulva". It is hypocritical and obnoxious. But, hey, i guess "squishy" works, too, right?
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Old 07-22-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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