2 questions about "private parts" - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-03-2003, 03:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
momileigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I can't find it, so here goes:

Question 1:

What did you grow up calling private parts? We had all girls in our family, so we never had occasion to use "penis" regularly, and had no goofy name for it. On the other hand, we referred to the female "private" as a "goose." As in, "Don't touch your goose" or "My goose itches," etc. This really warped me, and to this day I cannot say "goose" without blushing. I usually have to word a sentence in plural to talk about an actual goose, as in, "One of the geese."

Question 2:

What is the best word to use for a child? I don't like "vagina" because 1, it isn't entirely accurate (we would actually be referring to the vulva in most cases, right?) and 2, it sounds so technical. I don't really like vulva either, it just sounds weird. I have no trouble with the word penis, so that won't be an issue. Any ideas or thoughts here? Should I just get over it and use vagina?

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
momileigh is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-03-2003, 04:16 AM
 
BonaDea's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Sunny So Cal
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Growing up it was penis and vagina.I couldn't willingly say vagina until after reading Vagina Monologes and haveing a book club irl discussion on the book. So needless to say I never had a word that I would call that part of my body until after I came up with one that I was comfortable having my children use.

Now it is penis and vulva. A more accurate name for that part of the body, from what I've read. It also sounds better imo.

My vote is get over it and use vulva.
BonaDea is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 04:20 AM
 
khrisday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: High Desert of California
Posts: 3,913
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think we had any names for them growing up- it just wasn't said in my house- wierd.
We use a sanskrit term for the vagina- yonni. It has a much nicer ring to it IMHO, but we do use the traditional penis.
khrisday is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 04:28 AM
 
Sofiamomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Putting boobs in babies' mouths!
Posts: 809
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had a Jewish friend who used the Yiddish word pubby (like cookie with a p and a b). I really liked it, so that's what we use around here. My almost 4 month old just found hers! heh heh
I don't use the technical terms, although I do agree in spirit about why the correct terms should be used, because there are just too many parts to try to explain to a small child and vagina alone is not accurate. My six year old still says pubby, but she has begun to learn the accurate terms for the various components. :

SMC to Sophia, age 15, and Eleanor, age 9, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!

Sofiamomma is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 09:41 AM
Liz
 
Liz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I posted about this a while ago, almost word for word! Don't know why I have a problem with vagina and vulva but not with penis. It'll come out in therapy some day. But I have successfully gotten over it for my son's sake. He says penis and vagina. I know vulva is more accurate but I was taught to say vagina so it comes a little bit more naturally to me.

OFF TOPIC: my son is at a home daycare with one other little girl the same age. This little girls mother doesn't want her daughter to see my son's private parts (don't know what word she used) or for him to see her daughter's private parts. They are THREE YEARS OLD and have been together since they were 18 months old! At least I'm not that screwed up.
Liz is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 01:08 PM
 
manitoba_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Canada eh!
Posts: 611
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Growing up my mother called it my "snicker" this led to a terribly embarrasing incident when a friend asked me if I had ever had a Snicker (refering to the bar)....

Anyhow, we try to use the word vagina or vulva but I admit "between your legs" does get used on occasion. Since we have three girls and no boys the penis question has never come up.

MM
manitoba_mommy is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 01:30 PM
 
Arduinna's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 31,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
parents used vagina and penis, I prefer vulva (more accurate) and penis. I remember dd when she was little running around saying I have a vulva and daddy has a penis, lolol.
Arduinna is offline  
Old 07-03-2003, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
momileigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hmm, so far I'm liking yonni and pubby! They don't have the same problem "goose" does at any rate. I have a while to think about it, dd is only 4 months old!

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
momileigh is offline  
Old 07-04-2003, 04:49 AM
 
Charles Baudelaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,882
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We tried to find a term we could live with hearing over and over again and inappropriately too, given what we knew of kids.

Like some other posters, we found "vagina" and "vulva" rather sterile (well, I guess it depends on the individual vagina... and technical-sounding. Inspired by Ina Mae Gaskin, I liked the softness of "puss," but my dh thought it sounded vulgar. "Crotch" sounded also too vulgar and rather insulting, and naturally, "cunt" was not an option. We never thought of "yoni," but if we had, we wouldn't have gone for that -- just not our style, no offense intended.

That being said, we went for "privates" as a general all-purpose term for her vulva, and "butt" for her butt and rectum. When she's seen babies born on video or in books, we've called the vagina the vagina or the "birth canal," but "privates" works pretty well. It doesn't offend, it isn't cutesie, and it is a term that will work well into adulthood.

Hope this helps!
Charles Baudelaire is offline  
Old 07-04-2003, 11:00 PM
 
rosebuds's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 284
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 3 y/o calls them vagina and penis.

Just today she said that her and I have a vagina and Uncle Jamie and grandpa have penises. Hee hee. My dh cringed at the words because it is his father she was referring to and he just didn't want to have to think about it, kwim.

I dont think we had names for them growing up, maybe just like your post we called them 'private parts'. It was a little awkward for me at first when Delaney started using the words vagina and penis but hey, I would rather teach them to her now when there is no pubescent angst regarding the whole matter. No need to teach a word twice!
rosebuds is offline  
Old 07-07-2003, 01:19 PM
 
LunaMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: orbiting the earth
Posts: 2,380
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I grew up calling it a vagina, not much trouble with that. Although my mother once jokingly referred to it as "possible," as in "Did you wash possible?" That's from a story about a woman who says that, in the shower, she stretches up and washes as far down as possible, then stretches up and washes as far up as possible, and then (yep, you guessed it) she washes possible. Tee hee.

I try to use "vulva" because it is more accurate, but my dh has a harder time with that. I'll admit I don't love saying it either, but I feel it's important.
LunaMom is offline  
Old 07-07-2003, 06:10 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,802
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think coming up with silly names or code words transmits the message that certain parts of the body are shameful. I don't make up goofy names for dd's nose or knees. We use the right word depending on which part of the body we are talking about.

But, I find the "goose" thing too funny. I have an immediate mental image of the backsides of the two geese in the Aristocats waddling away.
EFmom is offline  
Old 07-08-2003, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
momileigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, EFMom, here's what I think about what you said. Feel free to disagree!

First off, I don't think "shameful" is the appropriate word. The fact is, private parts, whether male or female, are not noses or knees. There is a difference, in the way we treat these body parts (ie keeping them covered in most situations, refraining from touching them in public, not allowing others to look at or touch them without a good reason) and in the way society treats these body parts. I think dealing with them in a different way (whether or not that includes "code" words) transmits the message that they are different. Not bad, but a special part that is treated in a special way.

Secondly, if the nose or the knee was encumbered with a medical-sounding name, you might well use an alternative word! I still say belly button, not because I think it is a shameful body part, but because navel has always sounded too technical and kind of ugly. ("I want to get my navel pierced." Ugh.) If the only official word we had to describe fingers was "phalanges," I'm sure there would be a kid-friendly term in use for them as well. I'll wager you use "funny bone" instead of "ulnar nerve" yourself!

I could go on and on. Not exactly a body part, but when potty training, do you say, "Can you urinate in the potty?" "Do you need to defecate?" "Say bye-bye to the fecal matter!" Maybe you do. I don't think that's for me; I prefer the cutesy words!

Lastly, if I feel goofy saying "vulva," I'm sure dd will pick up on that. Wouldn't it be better to find a term I can say without feeling weird about it? Of course when we are discussing a serious subject like sexual contact or reproduction, the official words would be used.

SO, what do you think? I'm glad someone from the "correct-names only" crowd finally posted b/c I'd like to hash some of these ideas out and make sure I feel comfortable with the decision I do make.

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
momileigh is offline  
Old 07-08-2003, 11:55 AM
 
sagewinna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 2,002
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Growing up, my brother had a "tinkle" and I had... well it didn't have any kind of name. I think I was in my early teens before I stumbled across the word vagina!

We use vulva, vagina, penis, testicles and bottom.

DS: 18 DD: 15 DD: 8  angel1.gif 11/10  angel1.gif 4/11
  adoptionheart-1.gifDD: 3  angel1.gif 8/11

sagewinna is offline  
Old 07-08-2003, 01:26 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,802
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
dubylyu, I do disagree, but isn't that what makes life interesting? To me, making up phony names for these parts conveys that there is something wrong with them and that's not the message that I want to pass on to my kids.

I understand your point about keeping these parts covered in normal circumstances, but so what? Women who cover for religious reasons don't generally show off their arms and thighs in public, but they don't (as far as I know) make up silly terms so as to avoid using the word "arm."

I grew up in a house where my parents used euphemisms, too, but as a kid I thought it was dumb, and it made it harder to use the right words later. I will freely admit that initially I felt awkward saying the correct terms out loud to my kids, but after a few times it wasn't a problem, especially since I started when they were just learning their body parts.

I guess in general we do try to use the right word for things--my 5 yo daughter knows where to find her uvula, her patella and her tibia. We use navel most of the time, but will use belly button interchangeably since that's what her day care person calls it.

But use whatever terms you want. I don't think your kids will be permanently warped from it.
EFmom is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 03:19 AM
 
Cloverlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Madison
Posts: 1,330
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We use yoni and penis here. I also say privates, as in "we touch our privates in private."

I really don't like using vagina. It means "sheath" in latin (like for a man's sword) and I prefer defining my own anatomy. I also think yoni just sounds nicer.

Cloverlove is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 03:24 AM
 
indiegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: The land of Nod
Posts: 2,952
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yonni and penis here.

When telling friends this (when they ask what we say), most laugh at yonni cause they think of Yoni--the "singer"

Still, I like yonni a lot. I don't, however, care for yoni.
indiegirl is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 03:40 AM
 
Colorful~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Phoenix, Az
Posts: 2,064
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
growing up we had tushies and vaginas. boys had penises.

my girls , now almost 14 and almost 3 - neither could say vagina when they were young. my older girl called it her giney (pronounced jiy nee. long i, long e) so both say "giney" now

so we have a hiney (or tushie) and a giney.

penis is penis tho. not hard to say. my 3 year old says it very well. tells every boy she meets that they have a penis just like her daddy has a penis and her baby brother will have a penis too when he comes out of mamas belly.

lol
Colorful~Mama is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 02:54 PM
 
Cloverlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Madison
Posts: 1,330
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
indigirl~

What is the difference in pronunciation?

We stay "yoni" as in yo-knee. How do you say yonni? yon-knee?
Cloverlove is offline  
Old 07-11-2003, 09:54 PM
 
sparklemom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 674
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm with EFMom on this one.

We use the actual body part names for all body parts.

I also agree that using nicknames for selective body parts sends a slight message of shame with regards to that area. Seems somehow unhealthy.

Having grown up with nicknames for "private parts" it at first felt weird to me using words like vulva, vagina, penis, labia... but the strangeness quickly passed and now the idea of not using the actual body part words seems strange.

I'm glad my dds can refer to all parts of their body with the "real" words without blushing or feelings embarassed.
sparklemom is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 03:45 AM
 
MaWhit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,963
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Growing up we called our girl parts "wee-wee" and we had no brothers and no names for boy parts. So we had "wee-wees" and bottoms.

I'm teaching my kids a variety of terms. For the specific parts, they learn vagina and vulva, penis and testicles... When referring to the genitalia in general we say "wee-wee" or "privates". this avoids saying, "Okay, w it's time to wash your ____, ___, and ___" and we can just wrap it up in one term. Oh, and "butt" refers to the buttocks/rear end while "bottom" refers to the rectum.

I think it's fine to use cutesy terms for the parts as long as you still teach them the correct terms.

Interesting thread.
MaWhit is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 03:07 PM
 
mama_kass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 2,555
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Growing up me and my sister had to call ours a cat As an adult I now understand where that term comes from. Boys had a p.d. Don't get that yet. My mother said that to hear the word penis or vagina come out of a little boy or girls mouth is "dirty". But saying cat is just fine: I don't get it.

I was taught that the vagina is very dirty, ugly, and stinky. If you touch yourself you will go to hell. Once, my mother caught my sister masterbating and made her smell her fingers and then wash her hands for a long time.

My ds says vagina, actually he shortened it to gina and penis. I never thought about vagina technically not being the correct term.

I am not demented like my parents thank goodness. Children need to know the correct terms even if they don't use them. They also need to know that it is a private part but not a part to be ashamed of.
mama_kass is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 05:01 PM
 
simonee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Where the sun don't shine
Posts: 4,867
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We use yoni because it includes both the vagina and the clitoris ~ my dd (4 yo) is very aware of the latter, but her vagina isn't too much on her radar (mine is, 'cause I'm supposed to give birth next week). She knows she has a vagina (and a clitoris), and the word yoni establishes the connection between the two. Yoni is Sanskrit for Lotus flower, which I find a beautiful, pleasure-oriented metaphor that matches her experience of her privates better than the medical-based terminology. And I hope she'll keep viewing her private parts as beautiful and nice, not merely as something functional meant mostly to be entered and exited by others.

We use penis for the penis. I imagine that after ds's birth, we'll find out which is more popular: testicles or balls
simonee is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 05:21 PM
 
BAU3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Adirondacks
Posts: 961
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've always used genitals when speaking generally.. and penis and testicles for my sons.. when speaking of mommys genitals.. so far its just vagina. I don't think I need to get too detailed about female genitalia at this point.. since my ds's are 5 and 2 and 1/2..
both boys do call their penises pee-pees occasionally..which is fine with me, as long as they know what they are really called and that there are different parts.
BAU3 is offline  
Old 07-12-2003, 05:53 PM
 
Mothernature's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: in the zone
Posts: 1,555
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We're in the Yoni and Penis camp here. Yoni is not a cutsie term. It is the Sanskrit word for the female genetalia and refers to the sacredness of a woman's sexual self. The word Vagina literally means "sheath" which describes the relationship of female genetalia to the male genetalia instead of allowing us to stand alone. I thought yoni sounded much more beautiful after I read that. I don't have a problem with the term Vulva or Clitoris or Vagina, but Yoni encompases the entire package instead of just the birth canal. That is my best argument for that particular terminology. I realize that at some point I will have to teach the more specific terms, but my dd is 2.5 and likely to say it anywhere and I'm pleased to have a word that is a little less conspicuous.

edited to add: the correct pronunciation of yoni in Sanskrit rhymes with pony not Bonnie. Also, I didn't realize until I read back over the thread that someone else had already made the same point I did. Oh, well.
Mothernature is offline  
Old 07-13-2003, 02:50 AM
 
Sofiamomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Putting boobs in babies' mouths!
Posts: 809
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Having alternative names for body parts' technical names does not necessarily convey shame. (Belly button for navel, case in point.) It's all in how you approach it, I think. I didn't come up with a "cutesy" name because I am ashamed of my body parts. I also don't think that calling an elbow an elbow is the same as calling a vagina a vagina. And certainly other people's reactions are going to shape how my children feel about these words when they shout them out at the A&P. (Think of TreeLove's thread!) I liked the Yiddish term pubby when I heard my friend using it with her dd and it felt right to me. It is soft and gentle, sounds similar to the word pubic, and can be used to refer to the genitals in general. My dd is 6 now and has figured out that she has many parts to her pubby and is pointing and quizzing me about their names. She knows what a vulva, vagina, mons pubis, clitoris, labia, perineum, buttocks, anus, and rectum are. She also still uses the terms pubby and tushie or bum, when she wants to speak in general terms. We are very open here and it is all matter of fact to her. She knows what to keep private and I haven't got the faintest inkling she feels ashamed about anything. She did go thru a period though when she was worried about germs, but this included her feet as well! Oh, and she also knows there are two different ways to get pregnant! :LOL And to get the baby out as well.

SMC to Sophia, age 15, and Eleanor, age 9, and mother hen to too many nursing students to count!

Sofiamomma is offline  
Old 07-15-2003, 01:03 PM
 
shanleysmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 590
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Indiegirl is talking about Yanni - he's the guy that was dating Linda Evans for awhile - maybe still is - and makes instrumental music, I think it's very pretty, and I have some of his CD's.

I grew up not being given any words to call private parts, they weren't even called private parts, they were just ignored. I worked with a girl whose mom taught them to call their privates a "peachie"??

I have a 4 yo DD and a 2yo DS, and we use vagina and penis. Even though vagina isn't all-encompassing, it's enough for now. I wouldn't feel comfortable using a sanskrit word, when that's not the main language here, we don't speak sanskrit, if DD went to the doctor it wouldn't be called a yoni, and it wouldn't be called a yoni in any books we would read, etc. It might be something I would introduce later on, but not for the initial "what is this?", as I think it would still cause confusion, like if I told my kids female privates are called a peachie.

Maybe we could petition for a name change to yoni, cuz it is nicer sounding and has a much better meaning!

Melanie
shanleysmama is offline  
Old 07-15-2003, 10:51 PM
 
Sustainer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: upstate NY
Posts: 10,340
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like yoni, because I consider vagina = sheath sexist.

There's a difference between using a non-technical name and using a euphemism. Belly-button is simple and descriptive. "Private parts," on the other hand, conveys the impression of something shameful or not to be talked about. And using a word that means something else, like goose, is not something you would do with most body parts.

My two and a half year old daughter just discovered her clitoris. She said she had a "tongue in her bottom." I told her she only had one tongue, and it's in her mouth. She said, "No, two tongues."

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

Sustainer is offline  
Old 07-15-2003, 11:38 PM
 
tarasam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 129
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Our son calls his penis a peepee. I really can't remember where that name came from. He calls his scrotum area his testicles (hey, he asked "what are the little balls inside called?" and it stuck) and his rear end is either butt or dupa. (Dupa is polish slang for butt and is pronounced DOO-pah.) I'm using the word penis more often hoping that he will slowly start to use that term as well.

Tara
tarasam is offline  
Old 07-16-2003, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
momileigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,921
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I am amazed that so many people use yoni! I had never heard of that term until I saw it in a perineal massage article, and I thought it was some kind of new-age goddess type thingy (which I'm not into). But now that I know a lot of people are using it and what it means, where it comes from... seems like a great word! I think we'll use that. Does anyone know who promulgated this term for use in English?

I really have enjoyed all this input and hearing other people's experiences!

"If you only knew how many things I want to say and don't, you'd give me some credit."
momileigh is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off